Identification Of A Redox-Modulatory Interaction Between Uncoupling Protein 3 And Thioredoxin 2 In The Mitochondrial Intermembrane Space
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Uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) is a member of the mitochondrial solute carrier superfamily that is enriched in skeletal muscle and controls mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, but the mechanisms underlying this function are unclear. Aims: The goal of this work focused on the identification of mechanisms underlying UCP3 functions. Results: Here we report that the N-terminal, intermembrane space (IMS)-localized hydrophilic domain of mouse UCP3 interacts with the N-terminal mitochondrial targeting signal of thioredoxin 2 (Trx2), a mitochondrial thiol reductase. Cellular immunoprecipitation and in vitro pull-down assays show that the UCP3-Trx2 complex forms directly, and that the Trx2 N-terminus is both necessary and sufficient to confer UCP3 binding. Mutation studies show that neither a catalytically inactivated Trx2 mutant, nor a mutant Trx2 bearing the N-terminal targeting sequence of cytochrome c oxidase (COXMTS-Trx2) bind UCP3. Biochemical analyses using permeabilized mitochondria, and live cell experiments using bimolecular fluorescence complementation show that the UCP3-Trx2 complex forms specifically in the IMS. Finally, studies in C2C12 myocytes stably overexpressing UCP3 (2.5-fold) and subjected to Trx2 knockdown show that Trx2 is required for the UCP3-dependent mitigation of complex III-driven mitochondrial ROS generation. UCP3 expression was increased in mice fed a high fat diet, leading to increased localization of Trx2 to the IMS. UCP3 overexpression also increased expression of the glucose transporter GLUT4 in a Trx2-dependent fashion. Innovation: This is the first report of a mitochondrial protein-protein interaction with UCP3 and the first demonstration that UCP3 binds directly, and in cells and tissues with mitochondrial thioredoxin 2. Conclusion: These studies identify a novel UCP3-Trx2 complex, a novel submitochondrial localization of Trx2, and a mechanism underlying UCP3-regulated mitochondrial ROS production. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 15, 2645-2661.