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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Feb;1762(2):164-80. Epub 2005 Sep 27.

Mitochondrial creatine kinase in human health and disease.

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Institute of Cell Biology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), Hönggerberg HPM, CH-8093 Zürich, Switzerland.


Mitochondrial creatine kinase (MtCK), together with cytosolic creatine kinase isoenzymes and the highly diffusible CK reaction product, phosphocreatine, provide a temporal and spatial energy buffer to maintain cellular energy homeostasis. Mitochondrial proteolipid complexes containing MtCK form microcompartments that are involved in channeling energy in form of phosphocreatine rather than ATP into the cytosol. Under situations of compromised cellular energy state, which are often linked to ischemia, oxidative stress and calcium overload, two characteristics of mitochondrial creatine kinase are particularly relevant: its exquisite susceptibility to oxidative modifications and the compensatory up-regulation of its gene expression, in some cases leading to accumulation of crystalline MtCK inclusion bodies in mitochondria that are the clinical hallmarks for mitochondrial cytopathies. Both of these events may either impair or reinforce, respectively, the functions of mitochondrial MtCK complexes in cellular energy supply and protection of mitochondria form the so-called permeability transition leading to apoptosis or necrosis.

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