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N Biotechnol. 2009 Dec 31;26(6):300-6. doi: 10.1016/j.nbt.2009.09.005. Epub 2009 Sep 15.

Yeast cultures with UCP1 uncoupling activity as a heating device.

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Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva, Universitat de València, Apartado Postal 22085, 46071 València, Spain.


Uncoupling proteins (UCPs) are mitochondrial transporters that facilitate controlled dissipation of the proton gradient and thus regulate energetic efficiency. The heat generating capacity of UCP from brown adipose tissue was investigated in yeasts expressing the protein recombinantly under conditions in which the temperature of the growth medium was measured directly. A Liquid Culture Calorimeter (LCC) was built consisting of a thermally isolated culture flask able to keep yeast cultures warm without resorting to additional heating. The exact internal temperature of the cultures was monitored for 24h through a thermocouple connected to a data logger. Under these conditions, significant temperature increases (1 degrees C) in the media were recorded when yeast strains expressing endogenously active UCP1 mutants were grown. This is the first direct evidence, in a eukaryotic microbial model, of a temperature rise associated with uncoupling activity, and could be seen as the first step toward developing a biological heating device.

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