Research ArticleCell Biology

The ER chaperone calnexin controls mitochondrial positioning and respiration

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Science Signaling  30 Jun 2020:
Vol. 13, Issue 638, eaax6660
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aax6660

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Calnexin as a metabolic nexus

Ca2+ flow from the ER to mitochondria promotes ATP production through oxidative phosphorylation. Gutiérrez et al. investigated the role of calnexin, an ER chaperone that interacts with SERCA, the ATPase that pumps Ca2+ into the ER, in mitochondrial bioenergetics. The authors found that calnexin maintained SERCA in a redox state that was optimal for activity. Mitochondria were closer to the ER in cells without calnexin than in cells with calnexin. This enabled calnexin knockout cells to partially rescue Ca2+ influx into mitochondria and to perform limited oxidative phosphorylation that was supplemented with increased glycolysis. These data suggest that calnexin positions mitochondria to regulate Ca2+ flow from the ER and respiration.

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