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Calcium is an ubiquitous, crucial second messenger, that plays an essential and versatile role in cellular signaling. It has been shown to act as an intracellular regulator in many aspects of plant growth, development and stress responses. Many distinct signals induce spatial and temporal Ca2+ spikes as well as the frequency and amplitude of Ca2+ oscillations. Such stimulus-specific elevations in cytosolic Ca2+ ions concentration called 'Ca2+ signatures' are sensed, interpreted, and transduced to downstream elements by several types of Ca2+ sensor proteins such as calmodulins (CaMs), calcineurin B-like proteins (CBLs) or calcium - dependent protein kinases (CDPKs). All of them contain high-affinity Ca2+-binding sites, called the 'EF-hand' motif. The calmodulin family is a major class of calcium sensor proteins, which play a crucial role in cellular signaling cascades. It has no catalytic activity of its own but upon binding Ca2+ undergoes conformational changes and complex Ca2+/CaM activates or modulates numerous target prote- ins.CaM is one of the most conserved proteins in all eukaryotes and there are some similarities in Ca2+/ calmodulin-mediated signaling. However, several features of CaM and its downstream effector proteins are unique to plants. While yeats have only a single CaM gene, and animal genomes typically contain only a few CaM genes, plant ones have multiple CaM genes that encode identical CaMs or highly similar isoforms within a single plant species. A particular set of CaM isoforms and CaM-like proteins (CMLs) are present in plant cells. The family of CaM-related proteins (CMLs), exhibiting significant differences with the typical CaM, was identified as encoding proteins that contain CaM-like EF hand structures and share at least 15% homology with CaM in amino acid residues. Diverse CaM isoforms and CMLs interact with downstream targets containing CaM-binding domains. To date, more than 80 different types of CaM-binding proteins have been identified and their physiological functions are implicated in diverse aspects of cellular processes. This review summarizes recent views on the role of CaM and CML proteins in plant development and adaptation to environmental stimuli.

The Editorial Board
Andrzej Łukaszyk - przewodniczący, Zofia Bielańska-Osuchowska, Szczepan Biliński, Mieczysław Chorąży, Aleksander Koj, Włodzimierz Korochoda, Leszek Kuźnicki, Aleksandra Stojałowska, Lech Wojtczak

Editorial address:
Katedra i Zakład Histologii i Embriologii Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Poznaniu, ul. Święcickiego 6, 60-781 Poznań, tel. +48 61 8546453, fax. +48 61 8546440, email:

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