Energization of mitochondria significantly alters the pattern of Ca2+ wave activity mediated by activation of the inositol (1,4,5) trisphosphate (IP3) receptor (IP3R) in Xenopus oocytes. The number of pulsatile foci is reduced and spiral Ca2+ waves are no longer observed. Rather, target patterns of Ca2+ release predominate, and when fragmented, fail to form spirals. Ca2+ wave velocity, amplitude, decay time, and periodicity are also increased. We have simulated these experimental findings by supplementing an existing mathematical model with a differential equation for mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake and release. Our calculations show that mitochondrial Ca2+ efflux plays a critical role in pattern formation by prolonging the recovery time of IP3Rs from a refractory state. We also show that under conditions of high energization of mitochondria, the Ca2+ dynamics can become bistable with a second stable stationary state of high resting Ca2+ concentration.
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