Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles extremely important for cell survival. Their structure resembles that of prokaryotic cells since they are composed with two membranes, the inner (IMM) and the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) delimitating the intermembrane space (IMS) and the matrix which contains mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). This structure is strictly related to mitochondrial function since they produce the most of the cellular ATP through the oxidative phosphorylation which generate the electrochemical gradient at the two sides of the inner mitochondrial membrane an essential requirement for mitochondrial function. Cells of highly metabolic demand like those composing muscle, liver and brain, are particularly dependent on mitochondria for their activities. Mitochondria undergo to continual changes in morphology since, they fuse and divide, branch and fragment, swell and extend. Importantly, they move throughout the cell to deliver ATP and other metabolites where they are mostly required. Along with the capability to control energy metabolism, mitochondria play a critical role in the regulation of many physiological processes such as programmed cell death, autophagy, redox signalling, and stem cells reprogramming. All these phenomena are regulated by Ca2+ ions within this organelle. This review will discuss the molecular mechanisms regulating mitochondrial calcium cycling in physiological and pathological conditions with particular regard to their impact on mitochondrial dynamics and function during ischemia. Particular emphasis will be devoted to the role played by NCX3 and AKAP121 as new molecular targets for mitochondrial function and dysfunction.
- Mitochondria calcium handling
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology