Transient cytosolic calcium ([Ca(2+)](cyt)) elevation is an ubiquitous denominator of the signaling network when plants are exposed to literally every known abiotic and biotic stress. These stress-induced [Ca(2+)](cyt) elevations vary in magnitude, frequency, and shape, depending on the severity of the stress as well the type of stress experienced. This creates a unique stress-specific calcium "signature" that is then decoded by signal transduction networks. While most published papers have been focused predominantly on the role of Ca(2+) influx mechanisms to shaping [Ca(2+)](cyt) signatures, restoration of the basal [Ca(2+)](cyt) levels is impossible without both cytosolic Ca(2+) buffering and efficient Ca(2+) efflux mechanisms removing excess Ca(2+) from cytosol, to reload Ca(2+) stores and to terminate Ca(2+) signaling. This is the topic of the current review. The molecular identity of two major types of Ca(2+) efflux systems, Ca(2+)-ATPase pumps and Ca(2+)/H(+) exchangers, is described, and their regulatory modes are analyzed in detail. The spatial and temporal organization of calcium signaling networks is described, and the importance of existence of intracellular calcium microdomains is discussed. Experimental evidence for the role of Ca(2+) efflux systems in plant responses to a range of abiotic and biotic factors is summarized. Contribution of Ca(2+)-ATPase pumps and Ca(2+)/H(+) exchangers in shaping [Ca(2+)](cyt) signatures is then modeled by using a four-component model (plasma- and endo-membrane-based Ca(2+)-permeable channels and efflux systems) taking into account the cytosolic Ca(2+) buffering. It is concluded that physiologically relevant variations in the activity of Ca(2+)-ATPase pumps and Ca(2+)/H(+) exchangers are sufficient to fully describe all the reported experimental evidence and determine the shape of [Ca(2+)](cyt) signatures in response to environmental stimuli, emphasizing the crucial role these active efflux systems play in plant adaptive responses to environment.
Keywords: Ca2+-ATPase; calcium exchanger; cytosolic calcium; oscillations; signatures.