The mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) is responsible for mitochondrial calcium uptake and homeostasis. It is also a target for the regulation of cellular anti-/pro-apoptosis and necrosis by several oncogenes and tumour suppressors. Herein, we report the crystal structure of the MCU N-terminal domain (NTD) at a resolution of 1.50 Å in a novel fold and the S92A MCU mutant at 2.75 Å resolution; the residue S92 is a predicted CaMKII phosphorylation site. The assembly of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter complex (uniplex) and the interaction with the MCU regulators such as the mitochondrial calcium uptake-1 and mitochondrial calcium uptake-2 proteins (MICU1 and MICU2) are not affected by the deletion of MCU NTD. However, the expression of the S92A mutant or a NTD deletion mutant failed to restore mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake in a stable MCU knockdown HeLa cell line and exerted dominant-negative effects in the wild-type MCU-expressing cell line. These results suggest that the NTD of MCU is essential for the modulation of MCU function, although it does not affect the uniplex formation.
Keywords: MCU; MCU domain‐like fold; crystal structure; mitochondrial calcium uptake; uniplex.
© 2015 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.