Mitochondrial calcium transport: mechanisms and functions

Cell Calcium. 2000 Nov-Dec;28(5-6):285-96. doi: 10.1054/ceca.2000.0168.


Ca(2+)transport across the mitochondrial inner membrane is facilitated by transporters having four distinct sets of characteristics as well as through the Ca(2+)-induced mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP). There are two modes of inward transport, referred to as the Ca(2+)uniporter and the rapid mode or RaM. There are also two distinct mechanisms mediating outward transport, which are not associated with the PTP, referred to as the Na(+)-dependent and the Na(+)-independent Ca(2+)efflux mechanisms. Several important functions have been proposed for these mechanisms, including control of the metabolic rate for cellular energy (ATP) production, modulation of the amplitude and shape of cytosolic Ca(2+)transients, and induction of apoptosis through release of cytochrome c from the mitochondrial inter membrane space into the cytosolic space. The goals of this review are to survey the literature describing the characteristics of the mechanisms of mitochondrial Ca(2+)transport and their proposed physiological functions, emphasizing the more recent contributions, and to consider how the observed characteristics of the mitochondrial Ca(2+)transport mechanisms affect our understanding of their functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Biological Transport
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Channels
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Ion Channels*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pore
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • Sodium / metabolism


  • Calcium Channels
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pore
  • mitochondrial calcium uniporter
  • Sodium
  • Calcium