Plasma membrane Ca2+ pumps (PMCA pumps) are Ca2+-Mg2+ ATPases that expel Ca2+ from the cytosol to extracellular space and are pivotal to cell survival and function. PMCA pumps are encoded by the genes PMCA1, -2, -3, and -4. Alternative splicing results in a large number of isoforms that differ in their kinetics and activation by calmodulin and protein kinases A and C. Expression by 4 genes and a multifactorial regulation provide redundancy to allow for animal survival despite genetic defects. Heterozygous mice with ablation of any of the PMCA genes survive and only the homozygous mice with PMCA1 ablation are embryolethal. Some PMCA isoforms may also be involved in other cell functions. Biochemical and biophysical studies of PMCA pumps have been limited by their low levels of expression. Delineation of the exact physiological roles of PMCA pumps has been difficult since most cells also express sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ pumps and a Na+-Ca2+-exchanger, both of which can lower cytosolic Ca2+. A major limitation in the field has been the lack of specific inhibitors of PMCA pumps. More recently, a class of inhibitors named caloxins have emerged, and these may aid in delineating the roles of PMCA pumps.Key words: ATPases, hypertension, caloxin, protein kinase A, protein kinase C, calmodulin.