UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Pannexin 2 Localizes at ER-Mitochondria Contact Sites Le Vasseur, Maxence; Chen, Vincent C.; Huang, Kate; Vogl, Wayne A.; Naus, Christian C.

Abstract

Endomembrane specialization allows functional compartmentalization but imposes physical constraints to information flow within the cell. However, the evolution of an endomembrane system was associated with the emergence of contact sites facilitating communication between membrane-bound organelles. Contact sites between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria are highly conserved in terms of their morphological features but show surprising molecular diversity within and across eukaryote species. ER-mitochondria contact sites are thought to regulate key processes in oncogenesis but their molecular composition remains poorly characterized in mammalian cells. In this study, we investigate the localization of pannexin 2 (Panx2), a membrane channel protein showing tumor-suppressing properties in cancer cells. Using a combination of subcellular fractionation, particle tracking in live-cell, and immunogold electron microscopy, we show that Panx2 localizes at ER-mitochondria contact sites in mammalian cells and sensitizes cells to apoptotic stimuli.

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