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Cell Metab. 2013 Jun 4;17(6):965-75. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2013.05.003.

Mitochondrial Ca²⁺ uptake induces cyclic AMP generation in the matrix and modulates organelle ATP levels.

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Institute of Neuroscience, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Viale G. Colombo 3, 35121 Padova, Italy.


While the role of mitochondrial Ca²⁺ homeostasis in cell pathophysiology is widely accepted, the possibility that cAMP regulates mitochondrial functions has only recently received experimental support. The site of cAMP production, its targets, and its functions in the organelles remain uncertain. Using a variety of genetic/pharmacological tools, we here demonstrate that the mitochondrial inner membrane is impermeable to cytosolic cAMP, while an autonomous cAMP signaling toolkit is expressed in the matrix. We demonstrate that rises in matrix Ca²⁺ powerfully stimulate cAMP increases within mitochondria and that matrix cAMP levels regulate their ATP synthesizing efficiency. In cardiomyocyte cultures, mitochondrial cAMP can be increased by treatments that augment the frequency and amplitude of Ca²⁺ oscillations within the cytosol and organelles, revealing that mitochondria can integrate an oscillatory Ca²⁺ signal to increase cAMP in their matrix. The present data reveal the existence, within mitochondria, of a hitherto unknown crosstalk between Ca²⁺ and cAMP.

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