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FASEB J. 2014 Aug;28(8):3301-12. doi: 10.1096/fj.13-248161. Epub 2014 Apr 9.

Pancreatic β-cell Na+ channels control global Ca2+ signaling and oxidative metabolism by inducing Na+ and Ca2+ responses that are propagated into mitochondria.

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Department of Physiology and Cell Biology and.
Section of Cell Biology, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK.
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel; and.
Department of Physiology and Cell Biology and


Communication between the plasma membrane and mitochondria is essential for initiating the Ca(2+) and metabolic signals required for secretion in β cells. Although voltage-dependent Na(+) channels are abundantly expressed in β cells and activated by glucose, their role in communicating with mitochondria is unresolved. Here, we combined fluorescent Na(+), Ca(2+), and ATP imaging, electrophysiological analysis with tetrodotoxin (TTX)-dependent block of the Na(+) channel, and molecular manipulation of mitochondrial Ca(2+) transporters to study the communication between Na(+) channels and mitochondria. We show that TTX inhibits glucose-dependent depolarization and blocks cytosolic Na(+) and Ca(2+) responses and their propagation into mitochondria. TTX-sensitive mitochondrial Ca(2+) influx was largely blocked by knockdown of the mitochondrial Ca(2+) uniporter (MCU) expression. Knockdown of the mitochondrial Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger (NCLX) and Na(+) dose response analysis demonstrated that NCLX mediates the mitochondrial Na(+) influx and is tuned to sense the TTX-sensitive cytosolic Na(+) responses. Finally, TTX blocked glucose-dependent mitochondrial Ca(2+) rise, mitochondrial metabolic activity, and ATP production. Our results show that communication of the Na(+) channels with mitochondria shape both global Ca(2+) and metabolism signals linked to insulin secretion in β cells.- Nita, I. I., Hershfinkel, M., Kantor, C., Rutter, G. A., Lewis, E. C., Sekler, I. Pancreatic β-cell Na(+) channels control global Ca(2+) signaling and oxidative metabolism by inducing Na(+) and Ca(2+) responses that are propagated into mitochondria.



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