Balancing ER-Mitochondrial Ca2+ Fluxes in Health and Disease

Jens Loncke, Allen Kaasik, Ilya Bezprozvanny, Jan B. Parys, Martijn Kerkhofs, Geert Bultynck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Organelles cooperate with each other to control cellular homeostasis and cell functions by forming close connections through membrane contact sites. Important contacts are present between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the main intracellular Ca2+-storage organelle, and the mitochondria, the organelle responsible not only for the majority of cellular ATP production but also for switching on cell death processes. Several Ca2+-transport systems focalize at these contact sites, thereby enabling the efficient transmission of Ca2+ signals from the ER toward mitochondria. This provides tight control of mitochondrial functions at the microdomain level. Here, we discuss how ER–mitochondrial Ca2+ transfers support cell function and how their dysregulation underlies, drives, or contributes to pathogenesis and pathophysiology, with a major focus on cancer and neurodegeneration but also with attention to other diseases such as diabetes and rare genetic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-612
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Cell Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Ca signaling
  • MAMs
  • cancer
  • contact sites
  • genetic diseases
  • neurodegeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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