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Cell Calcium. 2001 Apr;29(4):249-62.

Sorting of calcium signals at the junctions of endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia 19107, USA.


Calcium signal transmission between endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria is supported by a local [Ca(2+)] control that operates between IP(3)receptor Ca(2+)release channels (IP(3)R) and mitochondrial Ca(2+)uptake sites, and displays functional similarities to synaptic transmission. Activation of IP(3)R by IP(3)is known to evoke quantal Ca(2+)mobilization that is associated with incremental elevations of mitochondrial matrix [Ca(2+)] ([Ca(2+)](m)). Here we report that activation of IP(3)R by adenophostin-A (AP) yields non-quantal Ca(2+)mobilization in mast cells. We also show that the AP-induced continuous Ca(2+)release causes relatively small [Ca(2+)](m)responses, in particular, the sustained phase of Ca(2+)release is not sensed by the mitochondria. Inhibition of ER Ca(2+)pumps by thapsigargin slightly increases IP(3)-induced [Ca(2+)](m)responses, but augments AP-induced [Ca(2+)](m)responses in a large extent. In adherent permeabilized cells exposed to elevated [Ca(2+)], ER Ca(2+)uptake fails to affect global cytosolic [Ca(2+)], but attenuates [Ca(2+)](m)responses. Moreover, almost every mitochondrion exhibits a region very close to ER Ca(2+)pumps visualized by BODIPY-FL-thapsigargin or SERCA antibody. Thus, at the ER-mitochondrial junctions, localized ER Ca(2+)uptake provides a mechanism to attenuate the mitochondrial response during continuous Ca(2+)release through the IP(3)R or during gradual Ca(2+)influx to the junction between ER and mitochondria.

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