Plasma membrane calcium ATPases: From generic Ca<sup>2+</sup> sump pumps to versatile systems for fine-tuning cellular Ca<sup>2+</sup>

Emanuel E. Strehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


The plasma membrane calcium ATPases (PMCAs) are ATP-driven primary ion pumps found in all eukaryotic cells. They are the major high-affinity calcium extrusion system for expulsion of Ca<sup>2+</sup> ions from the cytosol and help restore the low resting levels of intracellular [Ca<sup>2+</sup>] following the temporary elevation of Ca<sup>2+</sup> generated during Ca<sup>2+</sup> signaling. Due to their essential role in the maintenance of cellular Ca<sup>2+</sup> homeostasis they were initially thought to be "sump pumps" for Ca<sup>2+</sup> removal needed by all cells to avoid eventual calcium overload. The discovery of multiple PMCA isoforms and alternatively spliced variants cast doubt on this simplistic assumption, and revealed instead that PMCAs are integral components of highly regulated multi-protein complexes fulfilling specific roles in calcium-dependent signaling originating at the plasma membrane. Biochemical, genetic, and physiological studies in gene-manipulated and mutant animals demonstrate the important role played by specific PMCAs in distinct diseases including those affecting the peripheral and central nervous system, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis. Human PMCA gene mutations and allelic variants associated with specific disorders continue to be discovered and underline the crucial role of different PMCAs in particular cells, tissues and organs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 19 2015



  • ATP2B ion pumps
  • Calcium microdomain
  • Calcium signaling
  • Plasma membrane calcium ATPase
  • PMCA disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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