2.A.97 The Mitochondrial Inner Membrane K+/H+ and Ca2+/H+ Exchanger (LetM1) Family
Mitochondria are integral components of cellular calcium (Ca2+) signaling. Calcium stimulates mitochondrial adenosine 5''-triphosphate production, but can also initiate apoptosis. In turn, cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentrations are regulated by mitochondria. Leucine zipper EF hand-containing transmembrane protein 1 (LetM1) and uncoupling proteins 2 and 3 (UCP2/3) contribute to two distinct mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake pathways (Waldeck-Weiermair et al., 2011).
LetM1 is a large human protein of 739 aas with 1 TMS. It is implicated in the Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome. Homologues are found in plants and fungi. These proteins in yeast and humans are in the inner mitochondrial membrane and are complementary. The human protein corrects the yeast defect. Deletion of the yeast protein yields defective, swollen mitochondria with increased cation (K+) contents and low Δψ. The primary defect may be in the mitochondrial K+/H+ exchange activity. These proteins therefore function both in K+ homeostasis and organelle volume control (Nowikovsky et al., 2004).
Jiang et al. (2009) searched for genes that regulate mitochondrial Ca2+ and H+ concentrations using a genome-wide Drosophila RNA interference (RNAi) screen. The mammalian homolog of one Drosophila gene identified in the screen, LetM1, was found to specifically mediate coupled Ca2+/H+ exchange. RNAi knockdown, overexpression, and liposome reconstitution of the purified LetM1 protein demonstrate that LetM1 is a mitochondrial Ca2+/H+ antiporter (Jiang et al., 2009). This system is discussed by Santo-Domingo and Demaurex (2010).
Leucine zipper-EF-hand containing transmembrane protein 1 (LetM1), one of the genes deleted in Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, encodes a putative mitochondrial Ca2+/H+ antiporter. Cellular Letm1 knockdown reduced Ca2+mito uptake, H+mito extrusion and impaired mitochondrial ATP generation capacity. Homozygous deletion of LetM1 in mice resulted in embryonic lethality before day 6.5 of embryogenesis and ~50% of the heterozygotes died before day 13.5 of embryogenesis (Jiang et al. 2013). The surviving heterozygous mice exhibited altered glucose metabolism, impaired control of brain ATP levels, and increased seizure activity. Thus, loss of LetM1 contributes to the pathology of Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome in humans and may contribute to seizure phenotypes by reducing glucose oxidation.
Purified, and reconstituted human LetM1 exhibits apparent affinities of cations in the order Ca2+ = Mn2+ > Gd3+ = La3+ > Sr2+ >> Ba2+, Mg2+, K+, Na+. Kinetic analyses suggested a LetM1 turnover rate of 2 Ca2+/s and a Km of ~ 25 microM. LetM1 mediates electroneutral 1 Ca2+/2 H+ antiport. LetM1 is insensitive to ruthenium red, an inhibitor of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter, and CGP-37157, an inhibitor of the mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+exchanger. Functional properties of LetM1 are similar to those of the H+-dependent Ca2+ transport mechanism identified in intact mitochondria (Tsai et al. 2013).