Uncoupling proteins UCP2 and UCP3 from mitochondria of liver and skeletal muscle of ground squirrel Spermophilus undulatus do not transport pyruvate in contrast to UCP1 from brown adipose tissue



Physiological role of mitochondrial uncoupling proteins UCP2 and UCP3, homologous to UCP1 from brown adipose tissue, is unclear. It was proposed recently that UCP2 and UCP3 are metabolic triggers that switch oxidation of glucose to oxidation of fatty acids, exporting pyruvate from mitochondria. In the present study we tried to verify this hypothesis using ground squirrels (Spermophilus undulatus), since expression of all UCPs in different tissues increases during winter season, and UCP1 is abundant in brown fat. We confirmed the possibility of nonspecific transport of pyruvate through UCP1 in brown fat mitochondria and tried to identify similar transport in liver and skeletal muscle mitochondria where UCP2 and UCP3 are expressed. Transport of pyruvate mediated by UCP1 in mitochondria of brown fat was observed using valinomycin-induced swelling of non-respiring mitochondria in 55 mM potassium pyruvate and was inhibited by GDP. In contrast, mitochondria of liver and skeletal muscles in similar conditions did not exhibit electrogenic transport of pyruvate anions that could be related to functioning of UCP2 and UCP3. At the same time, functioning of pyruvate carrier was detected in these mitochondria by nigericin-induced passive swelling or valinomycin-induced active swelling in potassium pyruvate that was inhibited by α-CHC, a specific inhibitor of the pyruvate carrier. Thus, our results suggest that in contrast to UCP1 of brown fat, UCP2 and UCP3 from intact liver and skeletal muscle mitochondria of winter active ground squirrels are unable to carry out pyruvate transport.


mitochondria uncoupling proteins pyruvate transport 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Cell BiophysicsRussian Academy of SciencePushchino, Moscow oblastRussia

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