Ca(2+) signals are core transducers and regulators in many adaptation and developmental processes of plants. Ca(2+) signals are represented by stimulus-specific signatures that result from the concerted action of channels, pumps, and carriers that shape temporally and spatially defined Ca(2+) elevations. Cellular Ca(2+) signals are decoded and transmitted by a toolkit of Ca(2+) binding proteins that relay this information into downstream responses. Major transduction routes of Ca(2+) signaling involve Ca(2+)-regulated kinases mediating phosphorylation events that orchestrate downstream responses or comprise regulation of gene expression via Ca(2+)-regulated transcription factors and Ca(2+)-responsive promoter elements. Here, we review some of the remarkable progress that has been made in recent years, especially in identifying critical components functioning in Ca(2+) signal transduction, both at the single-cell and multicellular level. Despite impressive progress in our understanding of the processing of Ca(2+) signals during the past years, the elucidation of the exact mechanistic principles that underlie the specific recognition and conversion of the cellular Ca(2+) currency into defined changes in protein-protein interaction, protein phosphorylation, and gene expression and thereby establish the specificity in stimulus response coupling remain to be explored.
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