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Cell Death Dis. 2015 Jul 30;6:e1835. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2015.202.

Mitochondrial complex II is a source of the reserve respiratory capacity that is regulated by metabolic sensors and promotes cell survival.

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Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine, Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ 07103, USA.


The survival of a cell depends on its ability to meet its energy requirements. We hypothesized that the mitochondrial reserve respiratory capacity (RRC) of a cell is a critical component of its bioenergetics that can be utilized during an increase in energy demand, thereby, enhancing viability. Our goal was to identify the elements that regulate and contribute to the development of RRC and its involvement in cell survival. The results show that activation of metabolic sensors, including pyruvate dehydrogenase and AMP-dependent kinase, increases cardiac myocyte RRC via a Sirt3-dependent mechanism. Notably, we identified mitochondrial complex II (cII) as a target of these metabolic sensors and the main source of RRC. Moreover, we show that RRC, via cII, correlates with enhanced cell survival after hypoxia. Thus, for the first time, we show that metabolic sensors via Sirt3 maximize the cellular RRC through activating cII, which enhances cell survival after hypoxia.

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