Role of Mitochondria-Associated ER Membranes in Calcium Regulation in Cancer-Specific Settings

Neoplasia. 2018 May;20(5):510-523. doi: 10.1016/j.neo.2018.03.005. Epub 2018 Apr 5.


Mitochondria-associated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes (MAMs) are highly specialized subcellular compartments that are shaped by ER subdomains juxtaposed to mitochondria but are biochemically distinct from pure ER and pure mitochondria. MAMs are enriched in enzymes involved in lipid synthesis and transport, channels for calcium transfer, and proteins with oncogenic/oncosuppressive functions that modulate cell signaling pathways involved in physiological and pathophysiological processes. The term "cancer" denotes a group of disorders that result from uncontrolled cell growth driven by a mixture of genetic and environmental components. Alterations in MAMs are thought to account for the onset as well as the progression and metastasis of cancer and have been a focus of investigation in recent years. In this review, we present the current state of the art regarding MAM-resident proteins and their relevance, alterations, and deregulating functions in different types of cancer from a cell biology and clinical perspective.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / metabolism*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Calcium