A guide to sparkology: The taxonomy of elementary cellular Ca2+ signaling events

Ernst Niggli, Natalia Shirokova

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Since the discovery of the Ca2+ spark as an elementary event of cellular Ca2+ signaling almost 15 years ago, the family of newly described Ca2+ signal entities has been ever growing. While scientists working in Ca2+ signaling may have maintained an overview over the specifics of this nomenclature, those outside the field often make the complaint that they feel hopelessly lost. With the present review we collect and summarize systematic information on the many Ca2+ signaling events described in a variety of tissues and cells, and we emphasize why and how each of them has its own importance. Most of these signals are taking place in the cytosol of the respective cells, but several events have been recorded from intracellular organelles as well, where they may serve their own specific functions. Finally, we also try to convey an integrated view as to why cellular microdomain signaling is of fundamental biological importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-387
Number of pages9
JournalCell Calcium
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


  • Ca signaling
  • Ca sparks
  • Microdomain
  • Subcellular Ca signals


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