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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Mar;6(3):248-61.

The mitochondrial uncoupling-protein homologues.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, 99 Brookline Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Uncoupling protein(UCP)1 is an integral membrane protein that is located in the mitochondrial inner membrane of brown adipocytes. Its physiological role is to mediate a regulated, thermogenic proton leak. UCP2 and UCP3 are recently identified UCP1 homologues. They also mediate regulated proton leak, and might function to control the production of superoxide and other downstream reactive oxygen species. However, their role in normal physiology remains unknown. Recent studies have shown that UCP2 has an important part in the pathogenesis of type-2 diabetes. The obscure roles of the UCP homologues in normal physiology, together with their emerging role in pathophysiology, provide exciting potential for further investigation.

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