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Biotechnol J. 2008 Jun;3(6):757-64. doi: 10.1002/biot.200800041.

Mitochondrial protein quality control: implications in ageing.

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Laboratoire de Biologie et Biochimie Cellulaire du Vieillissement, EA 3106, Université Paris 7-Denis Diderot, Paris, France.


Mitochondria represent both a major source for reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and a target for oxidative macromolecular damage. Increased production of ROS and accumulation of oxidized proteins have been associated with cellular ageing. Protein quality control, also referred as protein maintenance, is very important for the elimination of oxidized proteins through degradation and repair. Chaperone proteins have been implicated in refolding of misfolded proteins while oxidized protein repair is limited to the catalyzed reduction of certain oxidation products of the sulfur-containing amino acids, cysteine and methionine, by specific enzymatic systems. In the mitochondria, oxidation of methionine residues within proteins can be catalytically reversed by the methionine sulfoxide reductases, an ubiquitous enzymatic system that has been implicated both in ageing and protection against oxidative stress. Irreversibly oxidized proteins are targeted to degradation by mitochondrial matrix proteolytic systems such as the Lon protease. The ATP-stimulated Lon protease is believed to play a crucial role in the degradation of oxidized proteins within the mitochondria and age-related declines in the activity and/or expression of this proteolytic system have been previously reported. Age-related impairment of mitochondrial protein maintenance may therefore contribute to the age-associated build-up of oxidized proteins and impairment of mitochondrial redox homeostasis.

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