The universality of calcium as an intracellular messenger depends on its enormous versatility. Cells have a calcium signalling toolkit with many components that can be mixed and matched to create a wide range of spatial and temporal signals. This versatility is exploited to control processes as diverse as fertilization, proliferation, development, learning and memory, contraction and secretion, and must be accomplished within the context of calcium being highly toxic. Exceeding its normal spatial and temporal boundaries can result in cell death through both necrosis and apoptosis.
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