Selective linkage of mitochondrial enzymes to intracellular calcium stores differs between human-induced pluripotent stem cells, neural stem cells, and neurons

J Neurochem. 2021 Mar;156(6):867-879. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15160. Epub 2020 Sep 12.


Mitochondria and releasable endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium modulate neuronal calcium signaling, and both change in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The releasable calcium stores in the ER are exaggerated in fibroblasts from AD patients and in multiple models of AD. The activity of the alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC), a key mitochondrial enzyme complex, is diminished in brains from AD patients, and can be plausibly linked to plaques and tangles. Our previous studies in cell lines and mouse neurons demonstrate that reductions in KGDHC increase the ER releasable calcium stores. The goal of these studies was to test whether the relationship was true in human iPSC-derived neurons. Inhibition of KGDHC for one or 24 hr increased the ER releasable calcium store in human neurons by 69% and 144%, respectively. The effect was mitochondrial enzyme specific because inhibiting the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, another key mitochondrial enzyme complex, diminished the ER releasable calcium stores. The link of KGDHC to ER releasable calcium stores was cell type specific as the interaction was not present in iPSC or neural stem cells. Thus, these studies in human neurons verify a link between KGDHC and releasable ER calcium stores, and support the use of human neurons to examine mechanisms and potential therapies for AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex; calcium stores; development; endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria; pyruvate dehydrogenase complex; stem cells; tricarboxylic acid cycle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Ketoglutarate Dehydrogenase Complex / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / enzymology*
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex / metabolism


  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex
  • Ketoglutarate Dehydrogenase Complex
  • Potassium
  • Calcium