MD Brand, KM Brindle, JA Buckingham, JA Harper, DF Rolfe, JA Stuart
Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord
23 Suppl 6:S4-11
There is a futile cycle of pump and leak of protons across the mitochondrial inner membrane. The contribution of the proton cycle to standard metabolic rate is significant, particularly in skeletal muscle, and it accounts for 20% or more of the resting respiration of a rat. The mechanism of the proton leak is uncertain: basal proton conductance is not a simple biophysical leak across the unmodified phospholipid bilayer. Equally, the evidence that it is catalysed by homologues of the brown adipose uncoupling protein, UCP1, is weak. The yeast genome contains no clear UCP homologue but yeast mitochondria have normal basal proton conductance. UCP1 catalyses a regulated inducible proton conductance in brown adipose tissue and the possibility remains open that UCP2 and UCP3 have a similar role in other tissues, although this has yet to be demonstrated.