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EMBO J. 2015 Apr 1;34(7):911-24. doi: 10.15252/embj.201490197. Epub 2015 Feb 11.

Regulation of mitochondrial pyruvate uptake by alternative pyruvate carrier complexes.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Geneva, Genève, Switzerland.
Department of Cell Biology, University of Geneva, Genève, Switzerland


At the pyruvate branch point, the fermentative and oxidative metabolic routes diverge. Pyruvate can be transformed either into lactate in mammalian cells or into ethanol in yeast, or transported into mitochondria to fuel ATP production by oxidative phosphorylation. The recently discovered mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC), encoded by MPC1, MPC2, and MPC3 in yeast, is required for uptake of pyruvate into the organelle. Here, we show that while expression of Mpc1 is not dependent on the carbon source, expression of Mpc2 and Mpc3 is specific to fermentative or respiratory conditions, respectively. This gives rise to two alternative carrier complexes that we have termed MPCFERM and MPCOX. By constitutively expressing the two alternative complexes in yeast deleted for all three endogenous genes, we show that MPCOX has a higher transport activity than MPCFERM, which is dependent on the C-terminus of Mpc3. We propose that the alternative MPC subunit expression in yeast provides a way of adapting cellular metabolism to the nutrient availability.


metabolism; mitochondria; mitochondrial pyruvate carrier; pyruvate branch point

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