The mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) contains thiol groups (-SH) which are reversibly oxidized to modulate ETC function during H(2)O(2) overproduction. Since deleterious effects of H(2)O(2) are not limited to -SH oxidation, due to the formation of other H(2)O(2)-derived species, some processes like lipoperoxidation could enhance the effects of H(2)O(2) over ETC enzymes, disrupt their modulation by -SH oxidation and increase superoxide production. To verify this hypothesis, we tested the effects of H(2)O(2) on ETC activities, superoxide production and iron mobilization in mitochondria from lipoperoxidation-resistant native yeast and lipoperoxidation-sensitized yeast. Only complex III activity from lipoperoxidation-sensitive mitochondria exhibited a higher susceptibility to H(2)O(2) and increased superoxide production. The recovery of ETC activity by the thiol reductanct ?-mercaptoethanol (BME) was also altered at complex III, and a role was attributed to lipoperoxidation, the latter being also responsible for iron release. A hypothetical model linking lipoperoxidation, increased complex III damage, superoxide production and iron release is given.
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