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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Jul;1827(7):848-60. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2013.04.001. Epub 2013 Apr 11.

Dissecting the molecular mechanism by which NH2htau and Aβ1-42 peptides impair mitochondrial ANT-1 in Alzheimer disease.

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Institute of Biomembranes and Bioenergetics, CNR, Bari, Italy.


To find out whether and how the adenine nucleotide translocator-1 (ANT-1) inhibition due to NH2htau and Aβ1-42 is due to an interplay between these two Alzheimer's peptides, ROS and ANT-1 thiols, use was made of mersalyl, a reversible alkylating agent of thiol groups that are oriented toward the external hydrophilic phase, to selectively block and protect, in a reversible manner, the -SH groups of ANT-1. The rate of ATP appearance outside mitochondria was measured as the increase in NADPH absorbance which occurs, following external addition of ADP, when ATP is produced by oxidative phosphorylation and exported from mitochondria in the presence of glucose, hexokinase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase. We found that the mitochondrial superoxide anions, whose production is induced at the level of Complex I by externally added Aβ1-42 and whose release from mitochondria is significantly reduced by the addition of the VDAC inhibitor DIDS, modify the thiol group/s present at the active site of mitochondrial ANT-1, impair ANT-1 in a mersalyl-prevented manner and abrogate the toxic effect of NH2htau on ANT-1 when Aβ1-42 is already present. A molecular mechanism is proposed in which the pathological Aβ-NH2htau interplay on ANT-1 in Alzheimer's neurons involves the thiol redox state of ANT-1 and the Aβ1-42-induced ROS increase. This result represents an important innovation because it suggests the possibility of using various strategies to protect cells at the mitochondrial level, by stabilizing or restoring mitochondrial function or by interfering with the energy metabolism providing a promising tool for treating or preventing AD.

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