Calcium Signalling in the regulation of the T cell response/calcium imaging unit
Calcium controls almost every biological process such as movement, heart beating and storage of information in the brain. Immune cell function is controlled by calcium as well. Ca2+ ions acts as an intracellular messenger, regulating cellular activity and cell death. The variations of Ca2+ concentrations at specific cellular locations, the duration and the amplitude of such variations are all crucial determinants of calcium signalling. Therefore, the measuring of all these parameters during a given biological process contributes to the definition of the mechanistic aspects of the process. At the cellular level, Ca2+ is derived from two sources - external and internal. It can enter from outside the cell by passing through channels located in the cellular membrane. Or it can be released from internal Ca2+ stores, through channels in the endoplasmic or sarcoplasmic reticulum, membranous networks that are also the site of protein synthesis and transport. Improvements in imaging technology allow now seeing how the Ca2+ signals are generated. The calcium imaging unit obtained with this grant allow us to analyse Ca2+ signalling at the single cell level in T lymphocyte during the immune response to pathogens. This equipment allow us to acquire time series images of live cells preparations, to calculate intensities, ratios and Ca2+ concentrations over time in selected regions, to export data to movies and images, thus contributing fundamental cues to define the cellular and molecular basis of immune cell function.