The molecular era of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter
Kimberli J. Kamer, and Vamsi K. Mootha
The mitochondrial calcium uniporter is an evolutionarily conserved calcium channel, and its biophysical properties and relevance to cell death, bioenergetics and signalling have been investigated for decades. However, the genes encoding this channel have only recently been discovered, opening up a new ‘molecular era’ in the study of its biology. We now know that the uniporter is not a single protein but rather a macromolecular complex consisting of pore-forming and regulatory subunits. We review recent studies that harnessed the power of molecular biology and genetics to characterize the mechanism of action of the uniporter, its evolution and its contribution to physiology and human disease.