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Nat Cell Biol. 2007 Apr;9(4):445-452. doi: 10.1038/ncb1556. Epub 2007 Mar 11.

Uncoupling proteins 2 and 3 are fundamental for mitochondrial Ca2+ uniport.

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Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Centre of Molecular Medicine, Medical University of Graz, Harrachgasse 21/III, 8010 Graz, Austria.
Contributed equally

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  • Nat Cell Biol. 2008 Nov;10(11):1371.


Mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake is crucial for the regulation of the rate of oxidative phosphorylation, the modulation of spatio-temporal cytosolic Ca(2+) signals and apoptosis. Although the phenomenon of mitochondrial Ca(2+) sequestration, its characteristics and physiological consequences have been convincingly reported, the actual protein(s) involved in this process are unknown. Here, we show that the uncoupling proteins 2 and 3 (UCP2 and UCP3) are essential for mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake. Using overexpression, knockdown (small interfering RNA) and mutagenesis experiments, we demonstrate that UCP2 and UCP3 are elementary for mitochondrial Ca(2+) sequestration in response to cell stimulation under physiological conditions - observations supported by isolated liver mitochondria of Ucp2(-/-) mice lacking ruthenium red-sensitive Ca(2+) uptake. Our results reveal a novel molecular function for UCP2 and UCP3, and may provide the molecular mechanism for their reported effects. Moreover, the identification of proteins fundemental for mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake expands our knowledge of the physiological role for mitochondrial Ca(2+) sequestration.

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