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Mitochondrion. 2011 Mar;11(2):334-41. doi: 10.1016/j.mito.2010.12.004. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Tight control of mitochondrial membrane potential by cytochrome c oxidase.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry, Biology and Physics, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.


In the present work we have critically examined the use of the KCN-titration technique in the study of the control of the cellular respiration by cytochrome c oxidase (COX) in the presence of the mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψ(mito)) in HepG2 cells. We clearly show that the apparent high inhibition threshold of COX in the presence of maximal Δψ(mito) is due to the KCN-induced decrease of Δψ(mito) and not to a low control of COX on the mitochondrial respiration. The tight control exerted by COX on the Δψ(mito) provides further insights for understanding the pathogenetic mechanisms associated with mitochondrial defects in human neuromuscular degenerative disorders.

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