Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry
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Uncoupling proteins: Martin Klingenberg's contributions for 40 years

Arch Biochem Biophys. 2018 Nov 1;657:41-55

Authors/Editors: Karim S. Echtay
Martin Bienengraeber
Peter Mayinger
Simone Heimpel
Edith Winkler
Doerthe Druhmann
Karina Frischmuth
Frits Kamp
Shu-Gui Huang
Publication Date: 2018
Type of Publication: Journal Article

This paper is dedicated to Professor Dr. Martin Klingenberg on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

The uncoupling protein (UCP1) is a proton (H+) transporter in the mitochondrial inner membrane. By dissipating the electrochemical H+ gradient, UCP1 uncouples respiration from ATP synthesis, which drives an increase in substrate oxidation via the TCA cycle flux that generates more heat. The mitochondrial uncouplingmediated non-shivering thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue is vital primarily to mammals, such as rodents and new-born humans, but more recently additional functions in adult humans have been described. UCP1 is regulated by β-adrenergic receptors through the sympathetic nervous system and at the molecular activity level by nucleotides and fatty acid to meet thermogenesis needs. The discovery of novel UCP homologs has greatly contributed to the understanding of human diseases, such as obesity and diabetes. In this article, we review the progress made towards the molecular mechanism and function of the UCPs, in particular focusing on the influential contributions from Martin Klingenberg's laboratory. Because all members of the UCP family are potentially promising drug targets, we also present and discuss possible approaches and methods for UCP-related drug discovery.

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