Calcium ion (Ca2+), the fifth most common chemical element in the earth's crust, represents the most abundant mineral in the human body. By binding to a myriad of proteins distributed in different cellular organelles, Ca2+ impacts nearly every aspect of cellular life. In prokaryotes, Ca2+ plays an important role in bacterial movement, chemotaxis, survival reactions and sporulation. In eukaryotes, Ca2+ has been chosen through evolution to function as a universal and versatile intracellular signal. Viruses, as obligate intracellular parasites, also develop smart strategies to manipulate the host Ca2+ signaling machinery to benefit their own life cycles. This review focuses on recent advances in applying both bioinformatic and experimental approaches to predict and validate Ca2+-binding proteins and their interactomes in biological systems on a genome-wide scale (termed “calciomics”). Calmodulin is used as an example of Ca2+-binding protein (CaBP) to demonstrate the role of CaBPs on the regulation of biological functions. This review is anticipated to rekindle interest in investigating Ca2+-binding proteins and Ca2+-modulated functions at the systems level in the post-genomic era.
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