Calcium dynamics integrated into signalling pathways that influence vertebrate axial patterning

Christina M Freisinger, Igor Schneider, Trudi A Westfall, Diane C Slusarski


Many aspects of animal development including fertilization as well as organ formation and function are dependent upon the dynamic release of calcium (Ca2+) ions. Although the controlled release and/or accumulation of Ca2+ ions has been extensively studied, how the release dynamics produce a specific biological output in embryonic development is less clear. We will briefly summarize Ca2+ sources, highlight data on endogenous Ca2+ release in vertebrate embryos relevant to body plan formation and cell movement, and integrate pharmacological and molecular-genetic studies to lend insight into the signalling pathways involved. Finally, based on in vivo imaging in zebrafish genetic mutants, we will put forward the model that distinct Ca2+ release dynamics lead to antagonism of the developmentally important Wnt/β-catenin signalling pathway, while sustained Ca2+ release modulates cell polarization or directed migration.



  • One contribution of 11 to a Discussion Meeting Issue ‘Calcium signals and developmental patterning’.

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