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Calcium release microdomains and mitochondria

Michael Kohlhaas, Christoph Maack
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvt032 259-268 First published online: 14 February 2013


The processes of excitation–contraction (EC) coupling consume large amounts of energy that need to be replenished by oxidative phosphorylation in the mitochondria. Since Ca2+ activates key enzymes of the Krebs cycle in the mitochondrial matrix, it is important to understand the mechanisms and kinetics of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake to delineate how in cardiac myocytes, energy supply is efficiently matched to demand. In recent years, the identification of various proteins involved in mitochondrial Ca2+ signalling and the tethering of mitochondria to the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) has considerably advanced the field and supported the concept of a mitochondrial Ca2+ microdomain, in which Ca2+ concentrations are high enough to overcome the low Ca2+ affinity of the principal mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake mechanism, the Ca2+ uniporter. Furthermore, defects in EC coupling that occur in heart failure disrupt SR-mitochondrial Ca2+ crosstalk and may cause energetic deficit and oxidative stress, both factors that are thought to be causally involved in the initiation and progression of the disease.

  • Calcium
  • Mitochondria
  • Microdomain
  • Redox
  • Heart failure
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