Interaction of Mitochondria with the Endoplasmic Reticulum and Plasma Membrane in Calcium Homeostasis, Lipid Trafficking and Mitochondrial Structure

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Jul 20;18(7):1576. doi: 10.3390/ijms18071576.


Studying organelles in isolation has been proven to be indispensable for deciphering the underlying mechanisms of molecular cell biology. However, observing organelles in intact cells with the use of microscopic techniques reveals a new set of different junctions and contact sites between them that contribute to the control and regulation of various cellular processes, such as calcium and lipid exchange or structural reorganization of the mitochondrial network. In recent years, many studies focused their attention on the structure and function of contacts between mitochondria and other organelles. From these studies, findings emerged showing that these contacts are involved in various processes, such as lipid synthesis and trafficking, modulation of mitochondrial morphology, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, apoptosis, autophagy, inflammation and Ca 2 + handling. In this review, we focused on the physical interactions of mitochondria with the endoplasmic reticulum and plasma membrane and summarized present knowledge regarding the role of mitochondria-associated membranes in calcium homeostasis and lipid metabolism.

Keywords: endoplasmic reticulum; lipid metabolism and trafficking; mitochondria; mitochondria-associated membranes (MAM); plasma membrane; plasma membrane-associated membranes (PAM).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Biological Transport
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics
  • Protein Transport


  • Calcium