Document Type


Publication Title

Science China Life Sciences


Muscle uses Ca(2+) as a messenger to control contraction and relies on ATP to maintain the intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis. Mitochondria are the major sub-cellular organelle of ATP production. With a negative inner membrane potential, mitochondria take up Ca(2+) from their surroundings, a process called mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake. Under physiological conditions, Ca(2+) uptake into mitochondria promotes ATP production. Excessive uptake causes mitochondrial Ca(2+) overload, which activates downstream adverse responses leading to cell dysfunction. Moreover, mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake could shape spatio-temporal patterns of intracellular Ca(2+) signaling. Malfunction of mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake is implicated in muscle degeneration. Unlike non-excitable cells, mitochondria in muscle cells experience dramatic changes of intracellular Ca(2+) levels. Besides the sudden elevation of Ca(2+) level induced by action potentials, Ca(2+) transients in muscle cells can be as short as a few milliseconds during a single twitch or as long as minutes during tetanic contraction, which raises the question whether mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake is fast and big enough to shape intracellular Ca(2+) signaling during excitation-contraction coupling and creates technical challenges for quantification of the dynamic changes of Ca(2+) inside mitochondria. This review focuses on characterization of mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake in skeletal muscle and its role in muscle physiology and diseases.



Publication Date



Ca2+, mitochondria, skeletal muscle