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Mitochondrion. 2007 Jun;7 Suppl:S34-40. Epub 2007 Mar 16.

The importance of plasma membrane coenzyme Q in aging and stress responses.

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Centro Andaluz de BiologĂ­a del Desarrollo, Universidad Pablo de Olavide-CSIC, 41013 Sevilla, Spain.


The plasma membrane of eukaryotic cells is the limit to interact with the environment. This position implies receiving stress signals that affects its components such as phospholipids. Inserted inside these components is coenzyme Q that is a redox compound acting as antioxidant. Coenzyme Q is reduced by diverse dehydrogenase enzymes mainly NADH-cytochrome b(5) reductase and NAD(P)H:quinone reductase 1. Reduced coenzyme Q can prevent lipid peroxidation chain reaction by itself or by reducing other antioxidants such as alpha-tocopherol and ascorbate. The group formed by antioxidants and the enzymes able to reduce coenzyme Q constitutes a plasma membrane redox system that is regulated by conditions that induce oxidative stress. Growth factor removal, ethidium bromide-induced rho degrees cells, and vitamin E deficiency are some of the conditions where both coenzyme Q and its reductases are increased in the plasma membrane. This antioxidant system in the plasma membrane has been observed to participate in the healthy aging induced by calorie restriction. Furthermore, coenzyme Q regulates the release of ceramide from sphingomyelin, which is concentrated in the plasma membrane. This results from the non-competitive inhibition of the neutral sphingomyelinase by coenzyme Q particularly by its reduced form. Coenzyme Q in the plasma membrane is then the center of a complex antioxidant system preventing the accumulation of oxidative damage and regulating the externally initiated ceramide signaling pathway.

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