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Oxidative Stress

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Annual Review of Biochemistry

Annual Reviews

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      How mitochondria produce reactive oxygen species

      The production of ROS (reactive oxygen species) by mammalian mitochondria is important because it underlies oxidative damage in many pathologies and contributes to retrograde redox signalling from the organelle to the cytosol and nucleus. Superoxide (O2 •−) is the proximal mitochondrial ROS, and in the present review I outline the principles that govern O2 •− production within the matrix of mammalian mitochondria. The flux of O2 •− is related to the concentration of potential electron donors, the local concentration of O2 and the second-order rate constants for the reactions between them. Two modes of operation by isolated mitochondria result in significant O2 •− production, predominantly from complex I: (i) when the mitochondria are not making ATP and consequently have a high Δp (protonmotive force) and a reduced CoQ (coenzyme Q) pool; and (ii) when there is a high NADH/NAD+ ratio in the mitochondrial matrix. For mitochondria that are actively making ATP, and consequently have a lower Δp and NADH/NAD+ ratio, the extent of O2 •− production is far lower. The generation of O2 •− within the mitochondrial matrix depends critically on Δp, the NADH/NAD+ and CoQH2/CoQ ratios and the local O2 concentration, which are all highly variable and difficult to measure in vivo. Consequently, it is not possible to estimate O2 •− generation by mitochondria in vivo from O2 •−-production rates by isolated mitochondria, and such extrapolations in the literature are misleading. Even so, the description outlined here facilitates the understanding of factors that favour mitochondrial ROS production. There is a clear need to develop better methods to measure mitochondrial O2 •− and H2O2 formation in vivo, as uncertainty about these values hampers studies on the role of mitochondrial ROS in pathological oxidative damage and redox signalling.
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        Molecular chaperones in protein folding and proteostasis.

        Most proteins must fold into defined three-dimensional structures to gain functional activity. But in the cellular environment, newly synthesized proteins are at great risk of aberrant folding and aggregation, potentially forming toxic species. To avoid these dangers, cells invest in a complex network of molecular chaperones, which use ingenious mechanisms to prevent aggregation and promote efficient folding. Because protein molecules are highly dynamic, constant chaperone surveillance is required to ensure protein homeostasis (proteostasis). Recent advances suggest that an age-related decline in proteostasis capacity allows the manifestation of various protein-aggregation diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Interventions in these and numerous other pathological states may spring from a detailed understanding of the pathways underlying proteome maintenance.
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          An Nrf2/small Maf heterodimer mediates the induction of phase II detoxifying enzyme genes through antioxidant response elements.

          The induction of phase II detoxifying enzymes is an important defense mechanism against intake of xenobiotics. While this group of enzymes is believed to be under the transcriptional control of antioxidant response elements (AREs), this contention is experimentally unconfirmed. Since the ARE resembles the binding sequence of erythroid transcription factor NF-E2, we investigated the possibility that the phase II enzyme genes might be regulated by transcription factors that also bind to the NF-E2 sequence. The expression profiles of a number of transcription factors suggest that an Nrf2/small Maf heterodimer is the most likely candidate to fulfill this role in vivo. To directly test these questions, we disrupted the murine nrf2 gene in vivo. While the expression of phase II enzymes (e.g., glutathione S-transferase and NAD(P)H: quinone oxidoreductase) was markedly induced by a phenolic antioxidant in vivo in both wild type and heterozygous mutant mice, the induction was largely eliminated in the liver and intestine of homozygous nrf2-mutant mice. Nrf2 was found to bind to the ARE with high affinity only as a heterodimer with a small Maf protein, suggesting that Nrf2/small Maf activates gene expression directly through the ARE. These results demonstrate that Nrf2 is essential for the transcriptional induction of phase II enzymes and the presence of a coordinate transcriptional regulatory mechanism for phase II enzyme genes. The nrf2-deficient mice may prove to be a very useful model for the in vivo analysis of chemical carcinogenesis and resistance to anti-cancer drugs.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Annual Review of Biochemistry
            Annu. Rev. Biochem.
            Annual Reviews
            0066-4154
            1545-4509
            June 20 2017
            June 20 2017
            : 86
            : 1
            : 715-748
            10.1146/annurev-biochem-061516-045037
            © 2017

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