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1.  Regulation of mitochondrial respiration and apoptosis through cell signaling: cytochrome c oxidase and cytochrome c in ischemia/reperfusion injury and inflammation 
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta  2011;1817(4):598-609.
Cytochrome c (Cytc) and cytochrome c oxidase (COX) catalyze the terminal reaction of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC), the reduction of oxygen to water. This irreversible step is highly regulated, as indicated by the presence of tissue-specific and developmentally expressed isoforms, allosteric regulation, and reversible phosphorylations, which are found in both Cytc and COX. The crucial role of the ETC in health and disease is obvious since it, together with ATP synthase, provides the vast majority of cellular energy, which drives all cellular processes. However, under conditions of stress, the ETC generates reactive oxygen species (ROS), which cause cell damage and trigger death processes. We here discuss current knowledge of the regulation of Cytc and COX with a focus on cell signaling pathways, including cAMP/protein kinase A and tyrosine kinase signaling. Based on the crystal structures we highlight all identified phosphorylation sites on Cytc and COX, and we present a new phosphorylation site, Ser126 on COX subunit II. We conclude with a model that links cell signaling with the phosphorylation state of Cytc and COX. This in turn regulates their enzymatic activities, the mitochondrial membrane potential, and the production of ATP and ROS. Our model is discussed through two distinct human pathologies, acute inflammation as seen in sepsis, where phosphorylation leads to strong COX inhibition followed by energy depletion, and ischemia/reperfusion injury, where hyperactive ETC complexes generate pathologically high mitochondrial membrane potentials, leading to excessive ROS production. Although operating at opposite poles of the ETC activity spectrum, both conditions can lead to cell death through energy deprivation or ROS-triggered apoptosis.
doi:10.1016/j.bbabio.2011.07.001
PMCID: PMC3229836  PMID: 21771582
Apoptosis; Cancer; Neurodegenerative diseases; Noonan syndrome; Oxidative phosphorylation; Sepsis; Stroke
2.  TLR4-mediated AKT Activation is MyD88/TRIF-dependent and Critical for Induction of OxPhos and Mitochondrial Transcription Factor A in Murine Macrophages 
Mitochondria play a critical role in cell survival and death. Mitochondrial recovery during inflammatory processes such as sepsis is associated with cell survival. Recovery of cellular respiration, mitochondrial biogenesis and function requires coordinated expression of transcription factors encoded by nuclear and mitochondrial genes, including mitochondrial transcription factor A (T-fam) and cytochrome c oxidase (COX, complex IV). LPS elicits strong host defenses in mammals with pronounced inflammatory responses but also triggers activation of survival pathways such as AKT pathway. AKT/PKB is a serine/threonine protein kinase playing an important role in cell survival, protein synthesis, and controlled inflammation in response to TLRs. Hence, we investigated the role of LPS mediated AKT activation in mitochondrial bioenergetics and function in cultured murine macrophages (B6-MCL) and bone marrow derived macrophages. We show that LPS challenge led to increased expression of T-fam and COX subunit I and IV in a time dependent manner through early phosphorylation of the PI3kinase/AKT pathway. PI3K/AKT pathway inhibitors abrogated LPS mediated T-fam and COX induction. Lack of induction was associated with decreased ATP production, increased proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α), nitric oxide production and cell death. The TLR4 mediated AKT activation and mitochondrial biogenesis required activation of adaptor protein MyD88 and Toll-IL-1R-containing adaptor inducing IFN-β (TRIF). Importantly, using a genetic approach, we show that the AKT1 isoform is pivotal in regulating mitochondrial biogenesis in response to TLR4 agonist.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1102157
PMCID: PMC3294201  PMID: 22312125
3.  Distance saturation product predicts health–related quality of life among sarcoidosis patients 
Background
Sarcoidosis is a chronic disease with different phenotypic manifestations. Health-related quality of life is an important aspect in sarcoidosis, yet difficult to measure. The objective of this study was to identify clinical markers predictive of poor quality of life in sarcoidosis patients that can be followed over time and targeted for intervention.
Methods
We assessed the quality of life of 162 patients with confirmed sarcoidosis in a prospective, cross-sectional study using the Sarcoidosis Health Questionnaire (SHQ) and Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36). We evaluated the validity of these questionnaires and sought to identify variables that would best explain the performance scores of the patients.
Results
On multivariate regression analyses, the very best composite model to predict total scores from both surveys was a model containing the distance-saturation product and Borg Dyspnea Scale score at the end of a 6-min walk test. This model could better predict SF-36 scores (R2 = 0.33) than SHQ scores (R2 = 0.24). Substitution of distanced walked in 6 min for the distance-saturation product in this model resulted in a lesser ability to predict both scores (R2 = 0.26 for SF-36; R2 = 0.22 for SHQ).
Conclusions
Both the SHQ and SF-36 surveys are valuable tools in the assessment of health-related quality of life in sarcoidosis patients. The best model to predict quality of life among these patients, as determined by regression analyses, included the distance-saturation product and Borg score after the 6-min walk test. Both variables represent easily obtainable clinical parameters that can be followed over time and targeted for intervention.
doi:10.1186/1477-7525-10-67
PMCID: PMC3409072  PMID: 22694853
Sarcoidosis; Health- related quality of life; 6-min walk test; Distance-saturation product
4.  The multiple functions of cytochrome c and their regulation in life and death decisions of the mammalian cell: from respiration to apoptosis 
Mitochondrion  2011;11(3):369-381.
Cytochrome c (Cytc) is essential in mitochondrial electron transport and intrinsic type II apoptosis. Mammalian Cytc also scavenges reactive oxygen species (ROS) under healthy conditions, produces ROS with the co-factor p66Shc, and oxidizes cardiolipin during apoptosis. The recent finding that Cytc is phosphorylated in vivo underpins a model for the pivotal role of Cytc regulation in making life and death decisions. An apoptotic sequence of events is proposed involving changes in Cytc phosphorylation, increased ROS via increased mitochondrial membrane potentials or the p66Shc pathway, the oxidation of cardiolipin by Cytc, and its release from the mitochondria. Cytc regulation in respiration and cell death is discussed in a human disease context including neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and sepsis.
doi:10.1016/j.mito.2011.01.010
PMCID: PMC3075374  PMID: 21296189
Aging; apoptosis; cardiolipin; cell signaling; cytochrome c; oxidative phosphorylation; reactive oxygen species

Results 1-4 (4)