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Myo-inositol phosphates are a part of a biological signal transduction process that begins with the parent lipid phosphatidyl-inositol-4,5-biphosphate and that controls a variety of cellular functions such as proliferation, metabolism and secretion.

Enzymatic hydrolysis of the parent phospholipid produces myo-inositol triphosphate (IP3), which is released into the cytoplasm and functions as a second messenger for the mobilisation of calcium from intracellular stores.

IP3 also appears to be a second messenger in phototransduction, mediating changes in ion permeability and sodium ion currents in Limulus photoreceptors that are similar to those induced by light.

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