Contact sites of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria locally convey calcium signals between the IP 3 receptors (IP3R) and the mitochondrial calcium uniporter, and are central to cell survival. It remains unclear whether IP3Rs also have a structural role in contact formation and whether the different IP3R isoforms have redundant functions. Using an IP3R-deficient cell model rescued with each of the three IP3R isoforms and an array of super-resolution and ultrastructural approaches we demonstrate that IP3Rs are required for maintaining ER-mitochondrial contacts. This role is independent of calcium fluxes. We also show that, while each isoform can support contacts, type 2 IP3R is the most effective in delivering calcium to the mitochondria. Thus, these studies reveal a non-canonical, structural role for the IP3Rs and direct attention towards the type 2 IP3R that was previously neglected in the context of ER-mitochondrial calcium signaling.
SUMMARY Mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake through the Ca2+ uniporter supports cell functions, including oxidative metabolism, while meeting tissue-specific calcium signaling patterns and energy needs. The molecular mechanisms underlying tissue-specific control of the uniporter are unknown. Here, we investigated a possible role for tissue-specific stoichiometry between the Ca2+-sensing regulators (MICUs) and pore unit (MCU) of the uniporter. Low MICU1:MCU protein ratio lowered the [Ca2+] threshold for Ca2+ uptake and activation of oxidative metabolism but decreased the cooperativity of uniporter activation in heart and skeletal muscle compared to liver. In MICU1-overexpressing cells, MICU1 was pulled down by MCU proportionally to MICU1 overexpression, suggesting that MICU1:MCU protein ratio directly reflected their association. Overexpressing MICU1 in the heart increased MICU1:MCU ratio, leading to liver-like mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake phenotype and cardiac contractile dysfunction. Thus, the proportion of MICU1-free and MICU1-associated MCU controls these tissue-specific uniporter phenotypes and downstream Ca2+ tuning of oxidative metabolism.
BackgroundUnderstanding the key elements of signaling of chondroprogenitor cells at the earliest steps of differentiation may substantially improve our opportunities for the application of mesenchymal stem cells in cartilage tissue engineering, which is a promising approach of regenerative therapy of joint diseases. Ion channels, membrane potential and Ca2+-signaling are important regulators of cell proliferation and differentiation. Our aim was to identify such plasma membrane ion channels involved in signaling during chondrogenesis, which may serve as specific molecular targets for influencing chondrogenic differentiation and ultimately cartilage formation.Methodology/Principal FindingsUsing patch-clamp, RT-PCR and Western-blot experiments, we found that chondrogenic cells in primary micromass cell cultures obtained from embryonic chicken limb buds expressed voltage-gated NaV1.4, KV1.1, KV1.3 and KV4.1 channels, although KV1.3 was not detectable in the plasma membrane. Tetrodotoxin (TTX), the inhibitor of NaV1.4 channels, had no effect on cartilage formation. In contrast, presence of 20 mM of the K+ channel blocker tetraethyl-ammonium (TEA) during the time-window of the final commitment of chondrogenic cells reduced KV currents (to 27±3% of control), cell proliferation (thymidine incorporation: to 39±4.4% of control), expression of cartilage-specific genes and consequently, cartilage formation (metachromasia: to 18.0±6.4% of control) and also depolarized the membrane potential (by 9.3±2.1 mV). High-frequency Ca2+-oscillations were also suppressed by 10 mM TEA (confocal microscopy: frequency to 8.5±2.6% of the control). Peak expression of TEA-sensitive KV1.1 in the plasma membrane overlapped with this period. Application of TEA to differentiated chondrocytes, mainly expressing the TEA-insensitive KV4.1 did not affect cartilage formation.Conclusions/SignificanceThese data demonstrate that the differentiation and proliferation of chondrogenic cells depend on rapid Ca2+-oscillations, which are modulated by KV-driven membrane potential changes. KV1.1 function seems especially critical during the final commitment period. We show the critical role of voltage-gated cation channels in the differentiation of non-excitable cells with potential therapeutic use.
Mitochondria-ER contacts (MERC) upregulation was suggested as an underlying mechanism in Alzheimer`s disease (AD). Dynamic analysis of live neurons modelling AD-like amyloid pathology showed loosened mitochondria-ER apposition providing a novel perturbation of MERC axis in AD.
The voltage-gated Kv1.3 K+ channel plays a key role in the activation of T lymphocytes. Kv1.3 blockers selectively suppress immune responses mediated by effector memory T cells, which indicates the great potential of selective Kv1.3 inhibitors in the therapy of certain autoimmune diseases. Anuroctoxin (AnTx), a 35-amino-acid scorpion toxin is a high affinity blocker of Kv1.3, but also blocks Kv1.2 with similar potency. We designed and produced three AnTx variants: ([F32T]-AnTx, [N17A]-AnTx, [N17A/F32T]-AnTx) using solid-phase synthesis with the goal of improving the selectivity of the toxin for Kv1.3 over Kv1.2 while keeping the high affinity for Kv1.3. We used the patch-clamp technique to determine the blocking potency of the synthetic toxins on hKv1.3, mKv1.1, hKv1.2 and hKCa3.1 channels. Of the three variants [N17A/F32T]-AnTx maintained the high affinity of the natural peptide for Kv1.3 but became more than 16000-fold selective over Kv1.2. NMR data and molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the more rigid structure with restricted conformational space of the double substituted toxin compared to the flexible wild-type one is an important determinant of toxin selectivity. Our results provide the foundation for the possibility of the production and future therapeutic application of additional, even more selective toxins targeting various ion channels.
Aims MICU1 encodes the gatekeeper of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter, MICU1 and biallelic loss‐of‐function mutations cause a complex, neuromuscular disorder in children. Although the role of the protein is well understood, the precise molecular pathophysiology leading to this neuropaediatric phenotype has not been fully elucidated. Here we aimed to obtain novel insights into MICU1 pathophysiology. Methods Molecular genetic studies along with proteomic profiling, electron‐, light‐ and Coherent anti‐Stokes Raman scattering microscopy and immuno‐based studies of protein abundances and Ca2+ transport studies were employed to examine the pathophysiology of MICU1 deficiency in humans. Results We describe two patients carrying MICU1 mutations, two nonsense (c.52C>T; p.(Arg18*) and c.553C>T; p.(Arg185*)) and an intragenic exon 2‐deletion presenting with ataxia, developmental delay and early onset myopathy, clinodactyly, attention deficits, insomnia and impaired cognitive pain perception. Muscle biopsies revealed signs of dystrophy and neurogenic atrophy, severe mitochondrial perturbations, altered Golgi structure, vacuoles and altered lipid homeostasis. Comparative mitochondrial Ca2+ transport and proteomic studies on lymphoblastoid cells revealed that the [Ca2+] threshold and the cooperative activation of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake were lost in MICU1‐deficient cells and that 39 proteins were altered in abundance. Several of those proteins are linked to mitochondrial dysfunction and/or perturbed Ca2+ homeostasis, also impacting on regular cytoskeleton (affecting Spectrin) and Golgi architecture, as well as cellular survival mechanisms. Conclusions Our findings (i) link dysregulation of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake with muscle pathology (including perturbed lipid homeostasis and ER–Golgi morphology), (ii) support the concept of a functional interplay of ER–Golgi and mitochondria in lipid homeostasis and (iii) reveal the vulnerability of the cellular proteome as part of the MICU1‐related pathophysiology.
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