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Mitochondria from guinea-pig cerebral cortex incubated in the presence of Pi or acetate are unable to regulate the extramitochondrial free Ca2+ at a steady-state which is independent of the Ca2+ accumulated in the matrix. This is due to the superimposition on kinetically regulated Ca2+ cycling of a membrane-potential-dependent reversal of the Ca2+ uniporter. The latter efflux is a consequence of a low membrane potential, which correlates with a loss of adenine nucleotide loss from the matrix, enable the mitochondria to maintain a high membrane potential and allow the mitochondria to buffer the extramitochondrial free Ca2+ precisely when up to 200 nmol of Ca2+/mg of protein is accumulated in the matrix. The steady-state extramitochondrial free Ca2+ is maintained as low as 0.3 microM. The Na+-activated efflux pathway is functional in the presence of ATP and oligomycin and accounts precisely for the change in steady-state free Ca2+ induced by Na+ addition. The need to distinguish carefully between kinetic and membrane-potential-dependent efflux pathways is emphasized and the competence of brain mitochondria to regulate cytosolic free Ca2+ concentrations in vivo is discussed.


D G Nicholls, I D Scott. The regulation of brain mitochondrial calcium-ion transport. The role of ATP in the discrimination between kinetic and membrane-potential-dependent calcium-ion efflux mechanisms. The Biochemical journal. 1980 Mar 15;186(3):833-9

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PMID: 7396840

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