Mitochondrial Uncouplers

Topics: Adenosine triphosphate, Oxidative phosphorylation, Metabolism Pages: 1 (284 words) Published: October 28, 2014

Unit 3 Project: Mitochondrial Uncouplers
1. Using your knowledge of the processes of cellular respiration, describe the effect of 2,4-dinitrophenol on oxidative phosphorylation. (5 points) 2. Why does disruption of oxidative phosphorylation by 2,4-dinitrophenol cause an increase in glycolysis? What alternative pathway if being triggered here and why? What other chemical would you expect to see a build-up of in the cytoplasm of these cells? (5 points) 3. Why does 2,4-dinitrophenol cause hyperthermia? (5 points) 2,4-dinitrophenol causes hyperthermia because when DNP uncouples Oxidative Phosphorylation, DNP acts as a chemical ionophore, stopping the final energy converting by exporting the proton ions (H+) needed for ATP production across the mitochondrial membrane by increasing the basal leak of protons. As a result, the potential energy dissipates as heat. And the heat production represents a failure in thermoregulatory homeostasis, leading to uncontrolled hyperthermia. The newspaper headline reads, “A new born infant miraculously survives a cold night in a dumpster!” Older infants frequently can’t survive the cold. How is this possible? In addition to lots of white fat cells, newborn mammals also have brown fat cells in their chest and neck. Brown fat cells are thermogenic (thermo = heat, genic = generating). Unlike white fat cells, brown fat cells are rich in mitochondria. You are interested in understanding the mechanism of brown fat thermogenesis. You decide to investigate the proteins in brown and white fat mitochondria. You identify a single difference; brown fat cells have a protein that is absent from white fat cells. 4. Based on what you have learned of the function of 2,4-dinitrophenol, propose a model for how this protein could allow brown fat mitochondria to be thermogenic. Be specific. (5 points)
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