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Interorganellar Membrane Microdomains: Dynamic Platforms in the Control of Calcium Signaling and Apoptosis

Author(s): Ida Annunziata | Alessandra d'Azzo

Journal: Cells
ISSN 2073-4409

Volume: 2;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 574;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: interorganellar membrane microdomains | MAMs | ER-PM junctions | GM1-ganglioside | Ca2+ signaling | apoptosis

The dynamic interplay among intracellular organelles occurs at specific membrane tethering sites, where two organellar membranes come in close apposition but do not fuse. Such membrane microdomains allow for rapid and efficient interorganelle communication that contributes to the maintenance of cell physiology. Pathological conditions that interfere with the proper composition, number, and physical vicinity of the apposing membranes initiate a cascade of events resulting in cell death. Membrane contact sites have now been identified that tether the extensive network of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes with the mitochondria, the plasma membrane (PM), the Golgi and the endosomes/lysosomes. Thus far, the most extensively studied are the MAMs, or mitochondria associated ER membranes, and the ER-PM junctions that share functional properties and crosstalk to one another. Specific molecular components that define these microdomains have been shown to promote the interaction in trans between these intracellular compartments and the transfer or exchange of Ca2+ ions, lipids, and metabolic signaling molecules that determine the fate of the cell.
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