NCLX is an essential component of mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchange Academic Article uri icon


  • Mitochondrial Ca(2+) efflux is linked to numerous cellular activities and pathophysiological processes. Although it is established that an Na(+)-dependent mechanism mediates mitochondrial Ca(2+) efflux, the molecular identity of this transporter has remained elusive. Here we show that the Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger NCLX is enriched in mitochondria, where it is localized to the cristae. Employing Ca(2+) and Na(+) fluorescent imaging, we demonstrate that mitochondrial Na(+)-dependent Ca(2+) efflux is enhanced upon overexpression of NCLX, is reduced by silencing of NCLX expression by siRNA, and is fully rescued by the concomitant expression of heterologous NCLX. NCLX-mediated mitochondrial Ca(2+) transport was inhibited, moreover, by CGP-37157 and exhibited Li(+) dependence, both hallmarks of mitochondrial Na(+)-dependent Ca(2+) efflux. Finally, NCLX-mediated mitochondrial Ca(2+) exchange is blocked in cells expressing a catalytically inactive NCLX mutant. Taken together, our results converge to the conclusion that NCLX is the long-sought mitochondrial Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010