The mitochondrial calcium uniporter is a Ca2+ channel that regulates intracellular Ca2+ signaling, oxidative phosphorylation, and apoptosis. It contains the pore-forming MCU protein, which possesses a DIME sequence thought to form a Ca2+ selectivity filter, and also regulatory EMRE, MICU1, and MICU2 subunits. To properly carry out physiological functions, the uniporter must stay closed in resting conditions, becoming open only when stimulated by intracellular Ca2+ signals. This Ca2+-dependent activation, known to be mediated by MICU subunits, is not well understood. Here, we demonstrate that the DIME-aspartate mediates a Ca2+-modulated electrostatic interaction with MICU1, forming an MICU1 contact interface with a nearby Ser residue at the cytoplasmic entrance of the MCU pore. A mutagenesis screen of MICU1 identifies two highly-conserved Arg residues that might contact the DIME-Asp. Perturbing MCU-MICU1 interactions elicits unregulated, constitutive Ca2+ flux into mitochondria. These results indicate that MICU1 confers Ca2+-dependent gating of the uniporter by blocking/unblocking MCU.
- Ming-Feng Tsai
- Chen-Wei Tsai
- Ming-Feng Tsai
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication. The funders pay for the authors' salary and other research expenses.
- Baron Chanda, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
© 2019, Phillips et al.
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