Mitochondrial pyruvate carrier
Rutter, Jared Department of Biochemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
- MPC research
- Human MPC abnormalities
- Impact and implications for the future
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The metabolite pyruvate occupies a pivotal position at the junction of a number of different metabolic pathways, including cytoplasmic glycolysis, mitochondrial carbohydrate oxidation, glucose production, fatty acid biosynthesis, and amino acid metabolism. As a result of this prominent placement in the metabolic network, the fate of pyruvate has large consequences on the behavior of cells and organisms. A great deal of the metabolic regulation that is prominently implicated in the determination of metabolic status acts directly or indirectly to control the quality and quantity of pyruvate consumption. The most obvious difference in the fate of the pyruvate within the cell is whether or not it is taken into the mitochondria [specialized compartments (organelles) that provide ATP for most eukaryotic cells]. Because the cytoplasmic and mitochondrial enzymes that metabolize pyruvate are spatially separated, the metabolic pathways and opportunities that involve pyruvate can differ, depending on whether the pyruvate is located in the cytoplasm or it enters the mitochondria. Because of this critical role in metabolic regulation, the process of mitochondrial pyruvate transport has been the subject of extensive study over the past several decades. These historical studies have provided great insight into the existence, function, kinetics, and substrate specificity of the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC), whose molecular identity remained a mystery prior to 2012.
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