|Publication date||Aug 2010|
In many cell types, oscillations in the concentration of free intracellular calcium ions are used to control a variety of cellular functions. It has been suggested that the mechanisms underlying the generation and control of such oscillations can be determined by means of a simple experiment, whereby a single exogenous pulse of inositol trisphosphate (IP3) is applied to the cell. However, more detailed mathematical investigations have shown that this is not necessarily always true, and that the experimental data are more difficult to interpret than first thought. Here, we use geometric singular perturbation techniques to study the dynamics of Class I, Class II and Hybrid models of calcium oscillations. In particular, we show how recently developed canard theory for singularly perturbed systems systems with three or more slow variables applies to these calcium models and how the presence of a curve of folded singularities and corresponding canards can result in anomalous delays in the response of these models to a pulse of IP3.