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Electromagnetic Fields Act Similarly in Plants as in Animals: Probable Activation of Calcium Channels via Their Voltage Sensor

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It has been shown that low intensity microwave/lower frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) act in animals via activation of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) in the plasma membrane, producing excessive intracellular calcium [Ca2+]i, with excessive [Ca2+]i leading to both pathophysiological and also in some cases therapeutic effects. The pathophysiological effects are produced largely through excessive [Ca2+]i signaling including excessive nitric oxide (NO), superoxide, peroxynitrite, free radical formation and consequent oxidative stress. The activation of the VGCCs is thought to be produced via EMF impact on the VGCC voltage sensor, with the physical properties of that voltage sensor predicting that it is extraordinarily sensitive to these EMFs. It is shown here that the action of EMFs in terrestrial, multicellular (embryophyte) plants is probably similar to the action in animals in most but not all respects, with calcium channel activation in the plasma membrane leading to excessive [Ca2+]i, leading in turn to most if not all of the biological effects. A number of studies in plants are briefly reviewed which are consistent with and supportive of such a mechanism. Plant channels most plausibly to be involved, are the so-called two pore channels (TPCs), which have a voltage sensor similar to those found in the animal VGCCs.
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Keywords: EMFs as an environmental stressor; Microwave frequency non-thermal effects; calcium signaling; carbonate and NO2 radicals; free radicals including hydroxyl; ion channel evolution

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 April 2016

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  • Current Chemical Biology aims to publish full-length and mini reviews on exciting new developments at the chemistry-biology interface, covering topics relating to Chemical Synthesis, Science at Chemistry-Biology Interface and Chemical Mechanisms of Biological Systems.

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    Science at Chemistry-Biology Interface (Chemical informatics; Macromolecular catalysts and receptors; Enzymatic synthesis; Biosynthetic engineering; Combinatorial biosynthesis; Plant cell based chemistry; Bacterial and viral cell based chemistry; Chemistry of cellular processes in plants/animals; Receptor chemistry; Cell signaling chemistry; Drug design through understanding of disease processes; Synthetic biology; New high throughput screening techniques; Small molecular array fabrication; Chemical genomics; Chemical and biological approaches to carbohydrates proteins and nucleic acids design; Chemical and biological regulation of biosynthetic pathways; and Unnatural biomolecular analogs).
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