Regulation of mitochondrial ATP synthesis by calcium: Evidence for a long-term metabolic priming
Laurence S. Jouaville, Paolo Pinton, Carlo Bastianutto, Guy A. Rutter, and Rosario Rizzuto
In recent years, mitochondria have emerged as important targets of agonist-dependent increases in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration. Here, we analyzed the significance of Ca2+ signals for the modulation of organelle function by directly measuring mitochondrial and cytosolic ATP levels ([ATP]m and [ATP]c, respectively) with specifically targeted chimeras of the ATP-dependent photoprotein luciferase. In both HeLa cells and primary cultures of skeletal myotubes, stimulation with agonists evoking cytosolic and mitochondrial Ca2+ signals caused increases in [ATP]m and [ATP]c that depended on two parameters: (i) the amplitude of the Ca2+ rise in the mitochondrial matrix, and (ii) the availability of mitochondrial substrates. Moreover, the Ca2+ elevation induced a long-lasting priming that persisted long after agonist washout and caused a major increase in [ATP]m upon addition of oxidative substrates. These results demonstrate a direct role of mitochondrial Ca2+ in driving ATP production and unravel a form of cellular memory that allows a prolonged metabolic activation in stimulated cells.