Nature, Vol.582, No.7810, 129-+, 2020
Structure and mechanism of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter holocomplex
Mitochondria take up Ca2+ through the mitochondrial calcium uniporter complex to regulate energy production, cytosolic Ca2+ signalling and cell death(1,2). In mammals, the uniporter complex (uniplex) contains four core components: the pore-forming MCU protein, the gatekeepers MICU1 and MICU2, and an auxiliary subunit, EMRE, essential for Ca2+ transport(3-8). To prevent detrimental Ca2+ overload, the activity of MCU must be tightly regulated by MICUs, which sense changes in cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations to switch MCU on and off(9,10). Here we report cryo-electron microscopic structures of the human mitochondrial calcium uniporter holocomplex in inhibited and Ca2+-activated states. These structures define the architecture of this multicomponent Ca2+-uptake machinery and reveal the gating mechanism by which MICUs control uniporter activity. Our work provides a framework for understanding regulated Ca2+ uptake in mitochondria, and could suggest ways of modulating uniporter activity to treat diseases related to mitochondrial Ca2+ overload. Cryo-electron microscopy reveals the structures of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter holocomplex in low- and high-calcium conditions, showing the gating mechanism that underlies uniporter activation in response to intracellular calcium signals.