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The integration of mitochondrial calcium transport and storage

Nicholls, David and Chalmers, Susan (2004) The integration of mitochondrial calcium transport and storage. Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, 36 (4). pp. 277-281. ISSN 0145-479X

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Abstract

The extraordinary capacity of isolated mitochondria to accumulate Ca(2+) has been established for more than 40 years. The distinct kinetics of the independent uptake and efflux pathways accounts for the dual functionality of the transport process to either modulate matrix free Ca(2+) concentrations or to act as temporary stores of large amounts of Ca(2+) in the presence of phosphate. One puzzle has been the nature of the matrix calcium phosphate complex, since matrix free Ca(2+) seems to be buffered in the region of 1-5 microM in the presence of phosphate while millimolar Ca(2+) remains soluble in in vitro media. The key seems to be the elevated matrix pH and the third-power relationship of the PO(4)(3-) concentration with pH. Taking this into account we may now finally have a model that explains the major features of physiological mitochondrial Ca(2+) transport.