[Frontiers in Bioscience 7, d1288-1297, May 1, 2002]
Ernst Niggli, Marcel Egger
Department of Physiology, University of Bern, Bühlplatz 5, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Elementary subcellular Ca2+ signals arising from the opening of single ion channels may offer the possibility to examine the stochastic behavior and the microscopic chemical reaction rates of these channel proteins in their natural environment. Such an analysis can yield detailed information about the molecular function that cannot be derived from recordings obtained from an ensemble of channels. In this review, we summarize experimental evidence suggesting that Ca2+ sparks, elementary Ca2+ signaling events of cardiac and skeletal muscle excitation contraction coupling, may be comprised of a number of smaller Ca2+ signaling events, the Ca2+ quarks.