Introduction Ca<sup>2+</sup> signaling and gene regulation: An introduction
© 2012 Springer-Verlag/Wien. All rights reserved. It is now universally appreciated that cytoplasmic Ca 2+ is a versatile messenger, capable of eliciting a wide range of cellular responses spread throughout the time domain (Clapham 2008). One of the more remarkable consequences of a Ca 2+ rise is its ability to influence events in the nucleus, long after the Ca 2+ signal has disappeared (Berridge et al. 2003). A pulse of Ca 2+ for a few seconds is often enough to promote translocation of cytoplasmic Ca 2+ -dependent transcription factors like CREB or NFAT into the nucleus, resulting in gene expression. Ca 2+ -dependent gene expression plays a very important role in numerous distinct organ systems including learning and memory in the brain, cardiac remodeling and development and function of the immune system.