Models of IP3 and Ca2+ oscillations: Frequency encoding and identification of underlying feedbacks

Antonio Politi, Lawrence D. Gaspers, Andrew P. Thomas, Thomas Höfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Hormones that act through the calcium-releasing messenger, inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3), cause intracellular calcium oscillations, which have been ascribed to calcium feedbacks on the IP3 receptor. Recent studies have shown that IP3 levels oscillate together with the cytoplasmic calcium concentration. To investigate the functional significance of this phenomenon, we have developed mathematical models of the interaction of both second messengers. The models account for both positive and negative feedbacks of calcium on IP3 metabolism, mediated by calcium activation of phospholipase C and IP3 3-kinase, respectively. The coupled IP3 and calcium oscillations have a greatly expanded frequency range compared to calcium fluctuations obtained with clamped IP3. Therefore the feedbacks can be physiologically important in supporting the efficient frequency encoding of hormone concentration observed in many cell types. This action of the feedbacks depends on the turnover rate of IP3. To shape the oscillations, positive feedback requires fast IP3 turnover, whereas negative feedback requires slow IP3 turnover. The ectopic expression of an IP3 binding protein has been used to decrease the rate of IP3 turnover experimentally, resulting in a dose-dependent slowing and eventual quenching of the Ca2+ oscillations. These results are consistent with a model based on positive feedback of Ca2+ on IP3 production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3120-3133
Number of pages14
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics


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