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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Nature Communications, Volume 10, Issue 1, August 2019, Article number 3726.

The published version is available at Copyright © Bartok et al.


Contact sites of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria locally convey calcium signals between the IP3 receptors (IP3R) and the mitochondrial calcium uniporter, and are central to cell survival. It remains unclear whether IP3Rs also have a structural role in contact formation and whether the different IP3R isoforms have redundant functions. Using an IP3R-deficient cell model rescued with each of the three IP3R isoforms and an array of super-resolution and ultrastructural approaches we demonstrate that IP3Rs are required for maintaining ER-mitochondrial contacts. This role is independent of calcium fluxes. We also show that, while each isoform can support contacts, type 2 IP3R is the most effective in delivering calcium to the mitochondria. Thus, these studies reveal a non-canonical, structural role for the IP3Rs and direct attention towards the type 2 IP3R that was previously neglected in the context of ER-mitochondrial calcium signaling.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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