Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate [Ins(1,4,5)P3] is a soluble second messenger responsible for the generation of highly organized Ca2+ signals in a variety of cell types. These Ca2+ signals control many cellular responses, including cell growth, fertilization, smooth muscle contraction and secretion. Ins(1,4,5)P3 is produced at the plasma membrane following receptor activation, but rapidly diffuses into the cytosol, where it binds to specific receptors through which it mobilizes intracellular Ca2+ stores. The actions of Ins(1,4,5)P3 within cells are tightly controlled: enzymes control the rapid generation and metabolism of Ins(1,4,5)P3 following receptor activation; multiple Ins(1,4,5)P3 receptor subtypes and splice variants exist, some of which are differentially expressed between cell types and at different stages of development; and Ins(1,4,5)P3 receptors are the targets for a number of allosteric regulators, including protein kinases, ATP and divalent cations. Understanding how cells control the Ca(2+)-mobilizing activity of Ins(1,4,5)P3 will be important if we are to unravel the mechanisms that underlie the complex arrangements of Ca2+ signals.

This content is only available via PDF.