Redox control in the mitochondrion is essential for the proper functioning of this organelle. Disruption of mitochondrial redox processes contributes to a host of human disorders, including cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, and aging. To better characterize redox control pathways in this organelle, we have targeted a green fluorescent protein-based redox sensor to the intermembrane space (IMS) and matrix of yeast mitochondria. This approach allows us to separately monitor the redox state of the matrix and the IMS, providing a more detailed picture of redox processes in these two compartments. To verify that the sensors respond to localized glutathione (GSH) redox changes, we have genetically manipulated the subcellular redox state using GSH reductase localization mutants. These studies indicate that redox control in the cytosol and matrix are maintained separately by cytosolic and mitochondrial isoforms of GSH reductase. Our studies also demonstrate that the mitochondrial IMS is considerably more oxidizing than the cytosol and mitochondrial matrix and is not directly influenced by endogenous GSH reductase activity. These redox measurements are used to predict the oxidation state of thiol-containing proteins that are imported into the IMS.
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