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Modulational instability is exclusively addressed in a minimal model for calcium oscillations in cells. The cells are considered to be coupled through paracrine signaling. The endoplasmic recticulum and cytosolic Ca (2+) equations are reduced to a single differential-difference amplitude equation. The linear stability analysis of a plane wave is performed on the latter and the paracrine coupling parameter is shown to deeply influence the instability features. Our analytical expectations are confirmed by numerical simulations, as instability regions give rise to unstable Ca(2+)-wave patterns. We also discuss the possibility of perfect intercellular communication via the activation of modulational instability.
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