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Cryo-EM structure of a mitochondrial calcium uniporter

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Science  03 Aug 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6401, pp. 506-511
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar4056

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A channel for calcium

Maintaining the correct balance of calcium concentrations between the cytosol and the mitochondria is essential for cellular physiology. A calcium-selective channel called the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) mediates calcium entry into mitochondria. Yoo et al. report the high-resolution structure of MCU from Neurospora crassa. The channel is formed by four MCU protomers with differing symmetry between the soluble and membrane domains. The structure, together with mutagenesis, suggests that two acidic rings inside the channel provide the selectivity for calcium.

Science, this issue p. 506

Abstract

Calcium transport plays an important role in regulating mitochondrial physiology and pathophysiology. The mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) is a calcium-selective ion channel that is the primary mediator for calcium uptake into the mitochondrial matrix. Here, we present the cryo–electron microscopy structure of the full-length MCU from Neurospora crassa to an overall resolution of ~3.7 angstroms. Our structure reveals a tetrameric architecture, with the soluble and transmembrane domains adopting different symmetric arrangements within the channel. The conserved W-D-Φ-Φ-E-P-V-T-Y sequence motif of MCU pore forms a selectivity filter comprising two acidic rings separated by one helical turn along the central axis of the channel pore. The structure combined with mutagenesis gives insight into the basis of calcium recognition.

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