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      Bridging the gap: Membrane contact sites in signaling, metabolism, and organelle dynamics

      The Journal of Cell Biology

      The Rockefeller University Press

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          Abstract

          Regions of close apposition between two organelles, often referred to as membrane contact sites (MCSs), mostly form between the endoplasmic reticulum and a second organelle, although contacts between mitochondria and other organelles have also begun to be characterized. Although these contact sites have been noted since cells first began to be visualized with electron microscopy, the functions of most of these domains long remained unclear. The last few years have witnessed a dramatic increase in our understanding of MCSs, revealing the critical roles they play in intracellular signaling, metabolism, the trafficking of metabolites, and organelle inheritance, division, and transport.

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          Most cited references 113

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          Mitofusin 2 tethers endoplasmic reticulum to mitochondria.

          Juxtaposition between endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria is a common structural feature, providing the physical basis for intercommunication during Ca(2+) signalling; yet, the molecular mechanisms controlling this interaction are unknown. Here we show that mitofusin 2, a mitochondrial dynamin-related protein mutated in the inherited motor neuropathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth type IIa, is enriched at the ER-mitochondria interface. Ablation or silencing of mitofusin 2 in mouse embryonic fibroblasts and HeLa cells disrupts ER morphology and loosens ER-mitochondria interactions, thereby reducing the efficiency of mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake in response to stimuli that generate inositol-1,4,5-trisphosphate. An in vitro assay as well as genetic and biochemical evidences support a model in which mitofusin 2 on the ER bridges the two organelles by engaging in homotypic and heterotypic complexes with mitofusin 1 or 2 on the surface of mitochondria. Thus, mitofusin 2 tethers ER to mitochondria, a juxtaposition required for efficient mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake.
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            ER tubules mark sites of mitochondrial division.

            Mitochondrial structure and distribution are regulated by division and fusion events. Mitochondrial division is regulated by Dnm1/Drp1, a dynamin-related protein that forms helices around mitochondria to mediate fission. Little is known about what determines sites of mitochondrial fission within the mitochondrial network. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria exhibit tightly coupled dynamics and have extensive contacts. We tested whether ER plays a role in mitochondrial division. We found that mitochondrial division occurred at positions where ER tubules contacted mitochondria and mediated constriction before Drp1 recruitment. Thus, ER tubules may play an active role in defining the position of mitochondrial division sites.
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              Close contacts with the endoplasmic reticulum as determinants of mitochondrial Ca2+ responses.

              The spatial relation between mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in living HeLa cells was analyzed at high resolution in three dimensions with two differently colored, specifically targeted green fluorescent proteins. Numerous close contacts were observed between these organelles, and mitochondria in situ formed a largely interconnected, dynamic network. A Ca2+-sensitive photoprotein targeted to the outer face of the inner mitochondrial membrane showed that, upon opening of the inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3)-gated channels of the ER, the mitochondrial surface was exposed to a higher concentration of Ca2+ than was the bulk cytosol. These results emphasize the importance of cell architecture and the distribution of organelles in regulation of Ca2+ signaling.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Cell Biol
                J. Cell Biol
                jcb
                jcb
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                0021-9525
                1540-8140
                23 June 2014
                : 205
                : 6
                : 759-769
                Affiliations
                Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892
                Author notes
                Correspondence to William A. Prinz: prinzw@ 123456helix.nih.gov
                Article
                201401126
                10.1083/jcb.201401126
                4068136
                24958771

                This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/).

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