Calcium signaling and cell cycle: Progression or death

Juliette Humeau, José Manuel Bravo-San Pedro, Ilio Vitale, Lucia Nuñez, Carlos Villalobos, Guido Kroemer, Laura Senovilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cytosolic Ca2+ concentration levels fluctuate in an ordered manner along the cell cycle, in line with the fact that Ca2+ is involved in the regulation of cell proliferation. Cell proliferation should be an error-free process, yet is endangered by mistakes. In fact, a complex network of proteins ensures that cell cycle does not progress until the previous phase has been successfully completed. Occasionally, errors occur during the cell cycle leading to cell cycle arrest. If the error is severe, and the cell cycle checkpoints work perfectly, this results into cellular demise by activation of apoptotic or non-apoptotic cell death programs. Cancer is characterized by deregulated proliferation and resistance against cell death. Ca2+ is a central key to these phenomena as it modulates signaling pathways that control oncogenesis and cancer progression. Here, we discuss how Ca2+ participates in the exogenous and endogenous signals controlling cell proliferation, as well as in the mechanisms by which cells die if irreparable cell cycle damage occurs. Moreover, we summarize how Ca2+ homeostasis remodeling observed in cancer cells contributes to deregulated cell proliferation and resistance to cell death. Finally, we discuss the possibility to target specific components of Ca2+ signal pathways to obtain cytostatic or cytotoxic effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-15
JournalCell Calcium
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Apoptosis
  • Calcium
  • Cancer
  • Cell cycle
  • Checkpoints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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