Pancreatic $β$-cell Na+ channels control global Ca2+ signaling and oxidative metabolism by inducing Na+ and Ca2+ responses that are propagated into mitochondria Academic Article uri icon


  • Communication between the plasma membrane and mitochondria is essential for initiating the Ca(2+) and metabolic signals required for secretion in β cells. Although voltage-dependent Na(+) channels are abundantly expressed in β cells and activated by glucose, their role in communicating with mitochondria is unresolved. Here, we combined fluorescent Na(+), Ca(2+), and ATP imaging, electrophysiological analysis with tetrodotoxin (TTX)-dependent block of the Na(+) channel, and molecular manipulation of mitochondrial Ca(2+) transporters to study the communication between Na(+) channels and mitochondria. We show that TTX inhibits glucose-dependent depolarization and blocks cytosolic Na(+) and Ca(2+) responses and their propagation into mitochondria. TTX-sensitive mitochondrial Ca(2+) influx was largely blocked by knockdown of the mitochondrial Ca(2+) uniporter (MCU) expression. Knockdown of the mitochondrial Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger (NCLX) and Na(+) dose response analysis demonstrated that NCLX mediates the mitochondrial Na(+) influx and is tuned to sense the TTX-sensitive cytosolic Na(+) responses. Finally, TTX blocked glucose-dependent mitochondrial Ca(2+) rise, mitochondrial metabolic activity, and ATP production. Our results show that communication of the Na(+) channels with mitochondria shape both global Ca(2+) and metabolism signals linked to insulin secretion in β cells.- Nita, I. I., Hershfinkel, M., Kantor, C., Rutter, G. A., Lewis, E. C., Sekler, I. Pancreatic β-cell Na(+) channels control global Ca(2+) signaling and oxidative metabolism by inducing Na(+) and Ca(2+) responses that are propagated into mitochondria.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014