Rationale: Physiological functions of mitochondria in contractile arterial myocytes are poorly understood. Mitochondria can uptake calcium (Ca(2+)), but intracellular Ca(2+) signals that regulate mitochondrial Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](mito)) and physiological functions of changes in [Ca(2+)](mito) in arterial myocytes are unclear.
Objective: To identify Ca(2+) signals that regulate [Ca(2+)](mito), examine the significance of changes in [Ca(2+)](mito), and test the hypothesis that [Ca(2+)](mito) controls functional ion channel transcription in myocytes of resistance-size cerebral arteries.
Methods and results: Endothelin (ET)-1 activated Ca(2+) waves and elevated global Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)](i)) via inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP(3)R) activation. IP(3)R-mediated sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) release increased [Ca(2+)](mito) and induced mitochondrial depolarization, which stimulated mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mitoROS) generation that elevated cytosolic ROS. In contrast, a global [Ca(2+)](i) elevation did not alter [Ca(2+)](mito), mitochondrial potential, or mitoROS generation. ET-1 stimulated nuclear translocation of nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB p50 subunit and ET-1-induced IP(3)R-mediated mitoROS elevated NF-kappaB-dependent transcriptional activity. ET-1 elevated voltage-dependent Ca(2+) (Ca(V)1.2) channel expression, leading to an increase in both pressure (myogenic tone)- and depolarization-induced vasoconstriction. Baseline Ca(V)1.2 expression and the ET-1-induced elevation in Ca(V)1.2 expression were both reduced by IP(3)R inhibition, mitochondrial electron transport chain block, antioxidant treatment, and NF-kappaB subunit knockdown, leading to vasodilation.
Conclusions: IP(3)R-mediated SR Ca(2+) release elevates [Ca(2+)](mito), which induces mitoROS generation. MitoROS activate NF-kappaB, which stimulates Ca(V)1.2 channel transcription. Thus, mitochondria sense IP(3)R-mediated SR Ca(2+) release to control NF-kappaB-dependent Ca(V)1.2 channel expression in arterial myocytes, thereby modulating arterial contractility.