Molecular and functional identification of a mitochondrial ryanodine receptor in neurons

Regina Jakob, Gisela Beutner, Virendra K. Sharma, Yuntao Duan, Robert A. Gross, Stephen Hurst, Bong Sook Jhun, Jin O-Uchi, Shey Shing Sheu

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40 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial Ca2+ controls numerous cell functions, such as energy metabolism, reactive oxygen species generation, spatiotemporal dynamics of Ca2+ signaling, cell growth and death in various cell types including neurons. Mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation is mainly mediated by the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU), but recent reports also indicate that mitochondrial Ca2+-influx mechanisms are regulated not only by MCU, but also by multiple channels/transporters. We previously reported that ryanodine receptor (RyR), which is a one of the main Ca2+-release channels at endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR/ER) in excitable cells, is expressed at the mitochondrial inner membrane (IMM) and serves as a part of the Ca2+ uptake mechanism in cardiomyocytes. Although RyR is also expressed in neuronal cells and works as a Ca2+-release channel at ER, it has not been well investigated whether neuronal mitochondria possess RyR and, if so, whether this mitochondrial RyR has physiological functions in neuronal cells. Here we show that neuronal mitochondria express RyR at IMM and accumulate Ca2+ through this channel in response to cytosolic Ca2+ elevation, which is similar to what we observed in another excitable cell-type, cardiomyocytes. In addition, the RyR blockers dantrolene or ryanodine significantly inhibits mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in permeabilized striatal neurons. Taken together, we identify RyR as an additional mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake mechanism in response to the elevation of [Ca2+]c in neurons, suggesting that this channel may play a critical role in mitochondrial Ca2+-mediated functions such as energy metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - Jul 11 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Mr. Mark Gallagher for culturing the striatal neurons. This work was supported by NIH grants ( RO1HL-033333 , RO1HL-093671 , NS37710 , and R21HL-110371 to S.-S.S. and 5T32AA007463-26 to S.H.) and AHA grants ( 0335425T to Y.D. and 14BGIA18830032 to J.O.-U.).


  • Calcium
  • Dantrolene
  • Mitochondria
  • Ryanodine receptor
  • Striatal neurons


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