Nuclear localization of NCX: Role in Ca2+ handling and pathophysiological implications

Agnese Secondo, Tiziana Petrozziello, Valentina Tedeschi, Francesca Boscia, Anna Pannaccione, Pasquale Molinaro, Lucio Annunziato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous lines of evidence indicate that nuclear calcium concentration ([Ca2+]n) may be controlled independently from cytosolic events by a local machinery. In particular, the perinuclear space between the inner nuclear membrane (INM) and the outer nuclear membrane (ONM) of the nuclear envelope (NE) likely serves as an intracellular store for Ca2+ ions. Since ONM is contiguous with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the perinuclear space is adjacent to the lumen of ER thus allowing a direct exchange of ions and factors between the two organelles. Moreover, INM and ONM are fused at the nuclear pore complex (NPC), which provides the only direct passageway between the nucleoplasm and cytoplasm. However, due to the presence of ion channels, exchangers and transporters, it has been generally accepted that nuclear ion fluxes may occur across ONM and INM. Within the INM, the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) isoform 1 seems to play an important role in handling Ca2+ through the different nuclear compartments. Particularly, nuclear NCX preferentially allows local Ca2+ flowing from nucleoplasm into NE lumen thanks to the Na+ gradient created by the juxtaposed Na+/K+-ATPase. Such transfer reduces abnormal elevation of [Ca2+]n within the nucleoplasm thus modulating specific transductional pathways and providing a protective mechanism against cell death. Despite very few studies on this issue, here we discuss those making major contribution to the field, also addressing the pathophysiological implication of nuclear NCX malfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102143
JournalCell Calcium
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Akt pathway
  • Neuronal differentiation
  • Nuclear Cahomeostasis
  • Nuclear Na/Ca exchanger

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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