ER-mitochondria tethering by PDZD8 regulates Ca2+ dynamics in mammalian neurons
Interfaces between organelles are emerging as critical platforms for many biological responses in eukaryotic cells. In yeast, the ERMES complex is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)–mitochondria tether composed of four proteins, three of which contain a SMP (synaptotagmin-like mitochondrial-lipid binding protein) domain. No functional ortholog for any ERMES protein has been identified in metazoans. Here, we identified PDZD8 as an ER protein present at ER-mitochondria contacts. The SMP domain of PDZD8 is functionally orthologous to the SMP domain found in yeast Mmm1. PDZD8 was necessary for the formation of ER-mitochondria contacts in mammalian cells. In neurons, PDZD8 was required for calcium ion (Ca2+) uptake by mitochondria after synaptically induced Ca2+-release from ER and thereby regulated cytoplasmic Ca2+ dynamics. Thus, PDZD8 represents a critical ER-mitochondria tethering protein in metazoans. We suggest that ER-mitochondria coupling is involved in the regulation of dendritic Ca2+ dynamics in mammalian neurons.