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J Physiol. 2014 Jan 15;592(Pt 2):305-12. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.259135. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

Ca2+ and cAMP cross-talk in mitochondria.

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  • 1CNR Institute of Neuroscience c.o. Department of Biomedical Sciences, Via G. Colombo 3, 35121, Padova, Italy.


While mitochondrial Ca(2+) homeostasis has been studied for several decades and many of the functional roles of Ca(2+) accumulation within the matrix have been at least partially clarified, the possibility of modulation of the organelle functions by cAMP remains largely unknown. In this contribution we briefly summarize the key aspects of Ca(2+) and cAMP signalling pathways in mitochondria. In particular, we focus on recent findings concerning the discovery of an autonomous cAMP toolkit within the mitochondrial matrix, its crossroad with mitochondrial Ca(2+) signalling and its role in controlling ATP synthesis. The discovery of a cAMP signalling, and the demonstration of a cross-talk between cAMP and Ca(2+) inside mitochondria, open the way to a re-evaluation of these organelles as integrators of multiple second messengers. A description of the main methods presently available to measure Ca(2+) and cAMP in mitochondria of living cells with genetically encoded probes is also presented.

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