Introduction. Calcium signals and developmental patterning

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  2. Emeritus Professor Michael Whitaker
Author(s)Whitaker M, Smith J
Publication type Review
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
ISSN (print)0962-8436
ISSN (electronic)1471-2970
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Calcium ions generate ubiquitous cellular signals. Calcium signals play an important role in development. The most obvious example is fertilization, where calcium signals and calcium waves are triggered by the sperm and are responsible for activating the egg from dormancy and cell cycle arrest. Calcium signals also appear to contribute to cell cycle progression during the rapid cell cycles of early embryos. There is increasing evidence that calcium signals are an essential component of the signalling systems that specify developmental patterning and cell fate. This issue arises from a Discussion Meeting that brought together developmental biologists studying calcium signals with those looking at other patterning signals and events. This short introduction provides some background to the papers in this issue, setting out the emerging view that calcium signals are central to dorsoventral axis formation, gastrulation movements, neural specification and neuronal cell fate.
The Royal Society Publishing
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