Calcium signaling at ER membrane contact sites

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Sep;1853(9):2012-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2015.01.022. Epub 2015 Feb 4.


Communication between organelles is a necessary consequence of intracellular compartmentalization. Membrane contact sites (MCSs) are regions where the membranes of two organelles come into close apposition allowing exchange of small molecules and ions including Ca²⁺. The ER, the cell's major Ca²⁺ store, forms an extensive and dynamic network of contacts with multiple organelles. Here we review established and emerging roles of ER contacts as platforms for Ca²⁺ exchange and further consider a potential role for Ca²⁺ in the regulation of MCS formation. We additionally discuss the challenges associated with the study of MCS biology and highlight advances in microscopy-based solutions. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 13th European Symposium on Calcium.

Keywords: Ca2+ exchange; Calcium; ER; Membrane contact sites (MCSs).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*


  • Calcium