Mitochondrial (m) Ca2+ influx is largely dependent on membrane potential (ΔΨm), whereas mCa2+ efflux occurs primarily via Ca2+ ion exchangers. We probed the kinetics of Ca2+/H+ exchange (CHEm) in guinea pig cardiac muscle mitochondria. We tested if net mCa2+ flux is altered during a matrix inward H+ leak that is dependent on matrix H+ pumping by ATPm hydrolysis at complex V (FOF1-ATPase). We measured [Ca2+]m, extra-mitochondrial (e) [Ca2+]e, ΔΨm, pHm, pHe, NADH, respiration, ADP/ATP ratios, and total [ATP]m in the presence or absence of protonophore dinitrophenol (DNP), mitochondrial uniporter (MCU) blocker Ru360, and complex V blocker oligomycin (OMN). We proposed that net slow influx/efflux of Ca2+ after adding DNP and CaCl2 is dependent on whether the ΔpHm gradient is/is not maintained by reciprocal outward H+ pumping by complex V. We found that adding CaCl2 enhanced DNP-induced increases in respiration and decreases in ΔΨm while [ATP]m decreased, ΔpHm gradient was maintained, and [Ca2+]m continued to increase slowly, indicating net mCa2+ influx via MCU. In contrast, with complex V blocked by OMN, adding DNP and CaCl2 caused larger declines in ΔΨm as well as a slow fall in pHm to near pHe while [Ca2+]m continued to decrease slowly, indicating net mCa2+ efflux in exchange for H+ influx (CHEm) until the ΔpHm gradient was abolished. The kinetics of slow mCa2+ efflux with slow H+ influx via CHEm was also observed at pHe 6.9 vs. 7.6 by the slow fall in pHm until ΔpHm was abolished; if Ca2+ reuptake via the MCU was also blocked, mCa2+ efflux via CHEm became more evident. Of the two components of the proton electrochemical gradient, our results indicate that CHEm activity is driven largely by the ΔpHm chemical gradient with H+ leak, while mCa2+ entry via MCU depends largely on the charge gradient ΔΨm. A fall in ΔΨm with excess mCa2+ loading can occur during cardiac cell stress. Cardiac cell injury due to mCa2+ overload may be reduced by temporarily inhibiting FOF1-ATPase from pumping H+ due to ΔΨm depolarization. This action would prevent additional slow mCa2+ loading via MCU and permit activation of CHEm to mediate efflux of mCa2+. HIGHLIGHTS -We examined how slow mitochondrial (m) Ca2+ efflux via Ca2+/H+ exchange (CHEm) is triggered by matrix acidity after a rapid increase in [Ca2+]m by adding CaCl2 in the presence of dinitrophenol (DNP) to permit H+ influx, and oligomycin (OMN) to block H+ pumping via FOF1-ATP synthase/ase (complex V).-Declines in ΔΨm and pHm after DNP and added CaCl2 were larger when complex V was blocked.-[Ca2+]m slowly increased despite a fall in ΔΨm but maintained pHm when H+ pumping by complex V was permitted.-[Ca2+]m slowly decreased and external [Ca2+]e increased with declines in both ΔΨm and pHm when complex V was blocked.-ATPm hydrolysis supports a falling pHm and redox state and promotes a slow increase in [Ca2+]m.-After rapid Ca2+ influx due to a bolus of CaCl2, slow mCa2+ efflux by CHEm occurs directly if pHe is low.
Keywords: Ca2+ uptake/release; Ca2+/H+ exchange; H+ leak and pumping; cardiac mitochondria; complex V; mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter.