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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 8;276(23):20551-8. Epub 2001 Feb 20.

Mitochondrial expression and function of GAS-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.


A mutation in the gene gas-1 alters sensitivity to volatile anesthetics, fecundity, and life span in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. gas-1 encodes a close homologue of the 49-kDa iron protein subunit of Complex I of the mitochondrial electron transport chain from bovine heart. gas-1 is widely expressed in the nematode neuromuscular system and in a subcellular pattern consistent with that of a mitochondrial protein. Pharmacological studies indicate that gas-1 functions partially via presynaptic effects. In addition, a mutation in the gas-1 gene profoundly decreases Complex I-dependent metabolism in mitochondria as measured by rates of both oxidative phosphorylation and electron transport. An increase in Complex II-dependent metabolism also is seen in mitochondria from gas-1 animals. There is no apparent alteration in physical structure in mitochondria from gas-1 nematodes compared with those from wild type. These data indicate that gas-1 is the major 49-kDa protein of complex I and that the GAS-1 protein is critical to mitochondrial function in C. elegans. They also reveal the importance of mitochondrial function in determining not only aging and life span, but also anesthetic sensitivity, in this model organism.

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