Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology vol:3 issue:6 pages:a004317 (30 pages)
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) as an intracellular Ca(2+) store not only sets up cytosolic Ca(2+) signals, but, among other functions, also assembles and folds newly synthesized proteins. Alterations in ER homeostasis, including severe Ca(2+) depletion, are an upstream event in the pathophysiology of many diseases. On the one hand, insufficient release of activator Ca(2+) may no longer sustain essential cell functions. On the other hand, loss of luminal Ca(2+) causes ER stress and activates an unfolded protein response, which, depending on the duration and severity of the stress, can reestablish normal ER function or lead to cell death. We will review these various diseases by mainly focusing on the mechanisms that cause ER Ca(2+) depletion.