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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2006 May-Jun;8(5-6):813-22.

Redox pathways of the mitochondrion.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095-1569, USA.


The mitochondrion houses a variety of redox pathways, utilized for protection from oxidative damage and assembly of the organelle. The glutathione/glutaredoxin and thioredoxin systems function in the mitochondrial matrix. The intermembrane space is protected from oxidative damage via superoxide dismutase and glutathione. Subunits in the cytochrome bc (1) complex utilize disulfide bonds for enzymatic activity, whereas cytochrome oxidase relies on disulfide linkages for copper acquisition. A redox pathway (Mia40p and Erv1p) mediates the import of intermembrane space proteins such as the small Tim proteins, Cox17p, and Cox19p, which have disulfide bonds. Many of the candidate proteins with disulfide bridges possess a twin CX3C motif or CX9C motif and utilize both metal binding and disulfide linkages for function. It may seem surprising that the intermembrane space has developed redox pathways, considering that the buffered environment should be reducing like the cytosol. However, the prokaryotic origin of the mitochondrion suggests that the intermembrane space may be akin to the oxidative environment of the bacterial periplasm. Although the players forming disulfide bonds are not conserved between mitochondria and prokaryotes, the mitochondrion may have maintained redox chemistry as an assembly mechanism in the intermembrane space for the import of proteins and metals and enzymatic activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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