Overexpression of the mitochondrial Mg channel MRS2 increases total cellular Mg concentration and influences sensitivity to apoptosis

Metallomics. 2018 Jul 18;10(7):917-928. doi: 10.1039/c8mt00050f.


The mechanism of action of the mitochondrial Mg channel MRS2 and its involvement in cell viability remain unclear. Deletion of MRS2 has been reported to abolish Mg influx into mitochondria, to induce functional defects in mitochondrial organelles, and to result in cell death. We evaluated whether MRS2 expression had an impact on total Mg cellular content by inducing the overexpression of MRS2 in HEK-293 cells. We observed a remarkable increase of total intracellular Mg concentration in cells overexpressing MRS2 compared with control cells. In order to investigate whether and in what manner the detected Mg increment was involved in the MRS2 influence on cell viability, we treated MRS2-overexpressing cells with two known apoptotic inducers. We found that cells overexpressing the MRS2 channel became less responsive to these pharmacological insults. Our experimental evidence indicates that the MRS2 channel controls overall intracellular Mg levels, the alteration of which might have a role in the molecular signaling leading to apoptotic cell death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cation Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Cation Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Staurosporine / pharmacology


  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • MRS2 protein, human
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Doxorubicin
  • Staurosporine
  • Magnesium