MAM: more than just a housekeeper

Trends Cell Biol. 2009 Feb;19(2):81-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2008.12.002. Epub 2009 Jan 12.


The physical association between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria, which is known as the mitochondria-associated ER membrane (MAM), has important roles in various cellular 'housekeeping' functions including the non-vesicular transports of phospholipids. It has recently become clear that the MAM also enables highly efficient transmission of Ca(2+) from the ER to mitochondria to stimulate oxidative metabolism and, conversely, might enable the metabolically energized mitochondria to regulate the ER Ca(2+) homeostasis. Recent studies have shed light on molecular chaperones such as calnexin, calreticulin, ERp44, ERp57, grp75 and the sigma-1 receptor at the MAM, which regulate the association between the two organelles. The MAM thus integrates signal transduction with metabolic pathways to regulate the communication and functional interactions between the ER and mitochondrion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipids / physiology
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*


  • Lipids
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Calcium