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    Home > Biochemistry News > Biotechnology News > "Nature": How does mitochondria import antioxidants

    "Nature": How does mitochondria import antioxidants

    • Last Update: 2021-11-12
    • Source: Internet
    • Author: User
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    Many processes that sustain our lives also put us at risk
    .
    For example, the chemical reactions that generate energy in our cells also produce free radicals—unstable molecules that steal electrons from other molecules

    .
    When free radicals are excessively produced, they can cause collateral damage, potentially causing dysfunction such as cancer, neurodegeneration, or cardiovascular disease

    .

    Cells solve this problem by synthesizing antioxidants and compounds that neutralize free radicals
    .
    In a new study, Rockefeller scientists discovered a key molecule that transports the body's main antioxidant glutathione to the mitochondria of cells, where free radicals are produced in large quantities

    .
    This discovery, published in the journal Nature, opens up new possibilities for studying oxidative stress and its destructive effects

    .

    Rockefeller University assistant professor Kivan Birsoy said: "With the identification of potential transporters, we can now control the amount of glutathione entering the mitochondria and specifically study the source of oxidative stress
    .
    "

    Enter the mitochondria

    In order to avoid oxidative stress, cells need to properly balance the levels of free radicals and antioxidants in the mitochondria, where energy is produced
    .
    Because glutathione is produced in the cytoplasm outside the mitochondria, scientists first wanted to know how it was transported to these tiny energy sources

    .

    To clarify this process, Birsoy's team monitored the expression of proteins in cells in response to glutathione levels
    .
    Birsoy said: "We assume that glutathione is transported by a transporter, and the production of transporter is regulated by glutathione

    .
    " "So if we reduce the level of glutathione, the cell should be upregulated by Transport proteins to compensate

    .
    "

    The analysis results point to SLC25A39, which is a protein on the mitochondrial membrane, the function of which is not yet known
    .
    Researchers have found that blocking SLC25A39 reduces glutathione in the mitochondria without affecting the glutathione levels in other parts of the cell

    .
    Other experiments have shown that mice cannot survive without SLC25A39

    .
    In animals lacking this protein, red blood cells quickly die of oxidative stress due to their inability to bring glutathione into the mitochondria

    .

    The discovery of this transporter may help to better understand various disease pathways related to oxidative stress, including pathways related to aging and neurodegeneration
    .
    Birsoy said: "These conditions can be treated or prevented by stimulating antioxidants to enter the mitochondria

    .
    "

    In addition, the team is currently exploring whether SLC25A39 has the potential to become a drug target for the treatment of cancer, by helping to induce lethal oxidative stress on tumor cells
    .
    "In cancer, we want to prevent antioxidants from entering the mitochondria, and transporters may be how we do this," Birsoy said

    .

    DOI

    10.
    1038 / s41586-021-04025-w

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