Effect of calcium on the oxidative phosphorylation cascade in skeletal muscle mitochondria

Biochemistry. 2013 Apr 23;52(16):2793-809. doi: 10.1021/bi3015983. Epub 2013 Apr 11.


Calcium is believed to regulate mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, thereby contributing to the maintenance of cellular energy homeostasis. Skeletal muscle, with an energy conversion dynamic range of up to 100-fold, is an extreme case for evaluating the cellular balance of ATP production and consumption. This study examined the role of Ca(2+) in the entire oxidative phosphorylation reaction network in isolated skeletal muscle mitochondria and attempted to extrapolate these results back to the muscle, in vivo. Kinetic analysis was conducted to evaluate the dose-response effect of Ca(2+) on the maximal velocity of oxidative phosphorylation (V(maxO)) and the ADP affinity. Force-flow analysis evaluated the interplay between energetic driving forces and flux to determine the conductance, or effective activity, of individual steps within oxidative phosphorylation. Measured driving forces [extramitochondrial phosphorylation potential (ΔG(ATP)), membrane potential, and redox states of NADH and cytochromes b(H), b(L), c(1), c, and a,a(3)] were compared with flux (oxygen consumption) at 37 °C; 840 nM Ca(2+) generated an ~2-fold increase in V(maxO) with no change in ADP affinity (~43 μM). Force-flow analysis revealed that Ca(2+) activation of V(maxO) was distributed throughout the oxidative phosphorylation reaction sequence. Specifically, Ca(2+) increased the conductance of Complex IV (2.3-fold), Complexes I and III (2.2-fold), ATP production/transport (2.4-fold), and fuel transport/dehydrogenases (1.7-fold). These data support the notion that Ca(2+) activates the entire muscle oxidative phosphorylation cascade, while extrapolation of these data to the exercising muscle predicts a significant role of Ca(2+) in maintaining cellular energy homeostasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • Cell Respiration
  • Cytochromes / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation* / drug effects
  • Swine
  • Thermodynamics


  • Cytochromes
  • Adenosine Diphosphate
  • Calcium