Learn how 'free' calcium works

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Learn How 'Free' Calcium Works

The mystery behind free-flowing calcium in our body and its role has been unlocked for the first time. Researchers have figured out a key step in how 'free' calcium - the kind not contained in bones - is managed in the body. The finding could aid in the development of new treatments for a variety of neurological disorders that include Parkinson's disease, says the study published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

"Electrical signals carried by free-floating calcium ions are wildly important to keep the second-by-second functions of the body going," said David Yue, professor of biomedical engineering and neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University.

Learn How 'Free'  Calcium Works

Electrical signals carried by free-floating calcium ions are wildly important to keep the second-by-second functions of the body going.

Embedded in cell membranes, these channels open and shut to regulate calcium flow into the cell.

"When calcium goes into cells, it sets off a cascade of vital activity, but just the right amount of calcium must enter - otherwise, problems arise," Yue added.

Calmodulin, one type of calcium channel-binding protein, stops calcium from flowing through, while other proteins, known as calcium-binding proteins, accelerate calcium entry, the study said.

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