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J Biol Chem. 2007 Jan 26;282(4):2355-62. Epub 2006 Nov 20.

Signaling of mitochondrial biogenesis following oxidant injury.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, USA.


Mitochondrial dysfunction is a common consequence of ischemia-reperfusion and drug injuries. For example, sublethal injury of renal proximal tubular cells (RPTCs) with the model oxidant tert-butylhydroperoxide (TBHP) causes mitochondrial injury that recovers over the course of six days. Although regeneration of mitochondrial function is integral to cell repair and function, the signaling pathway of mitochondrial biogenesis following oxidant injury has not been examined. A 10-fold overexpression of the mitochondrial biogenesis regulator PPAR-gamma cofactor-1alpha (PGC-1alpha) in control RPTCs resulted in a 52% increase in mitochondrial number, a 27% increase in respiratory capacity, and a 30% increase in mitochondrial protein markers, demonstrating that PGC-1alpha mediates mitochondrial biogenesis in RPTCs. RPTCs sublethally injured with TBHP exhibited a 50% decrease in mitochondrial function and increased mitochondrial autophagy. Compared with the controls, PGC-1alpha levels increased 12-fold on days 1, 2, and 3 post-injury and returned to base line on day 4 as mitochondrial function returned. Inhibition p38 MAPK blocked the up-regulation of PGC-1alpha following oxidant injury, whereas inhibition of calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase, calcineurin A, nitric-oxide synthase, and phosphoinositol 3-kinase had no effect. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was activated following TBHP exposure, and the EGFR inhibitor AG1478 blocked the up-regulation of PGC-1alpha. Additional inhibitor studies revealed that the sequential activation of Src, p38 MAPK, EGFR, and p38 MAPK regulate the expression of PGC-1alpha following oxidant injury. In contrast, although Akt was activated following oxidant injury, it did not play a role in PGC-1alpha expression. We suggest that mitochondrial biogenesis following oxidant injury is mediated by p38 and EGFR activation of PGC-1alpha.

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