MS4A15 drives ferroptosis resistance through calcium-restricted lipid remodeling

Cell Death Differ. 2022 Mar;29(3):670-686. doi: 10.1038/s41418-021-00883-z. Epub 2021 Oct 18.


Ferroptosis is an iron-dependent form of cell death driven by biochemical processes that promote oxidation within the lipid compartment. Calcium (Ca2+) is a signaling molecule in diverse cellular processes such as migration, neurotransmission, and cell death. Here, we uncover a crucial link between ferroptosis and Ca2+ through the identification of the novel tetraspanin MS4A15. MS4A15 localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum, where it blocks ferroptosis by depleting luminal Ca2+ stores and reprogramming membrane phospholipids to ferroptosis-resistant species. Specifically, prolonged Ca2+ depletion inhibits lipid elongation and desaturation, driving lipid droplet dispersion and formation of shorter, more saturated ether lipids that protect phospholipids from ferroptotic reactive species. We further demonstrate that increasing luminal Ca2+ levels can preferentially sensitize refractory cancer cell lines. In summary, MS4A15 regulation of anti-ferroptotic lipid reservoirs provides a key resistance mechanism that is distinct from antioxidant and lipid detoxification pathways. Manipulating Ca2+ homeostasis offers a compelling strategy to balance cellular lipids and cell survival in ferroptosis-associated diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biochemical Phenomena*
  • Calcium
  • Ferroptosis*
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phospholipids


  • Phospholipids
  • Calcium