High protonic potential actuates a mechanism of production of reactive oxygen species in mitochondria

Sergey S. Korshunov, Vladimir P. Skulachev, Anatoly A. Starkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Formation of H2O2 has been studied in rat heart mitochondria, pretreated with H2O2 and aminotriazole to lower their antioxidant capacity. It is shown that the rate of H2O2 formation by mitochondria oxidizing 6 mM succinate is inhibited by a protonophorous uncoupler, ADP and phosphate, malonate, rotenone and myxothiazol, and is stimulated by antimycin A. The effect of ADP is abolished by carboxyatractylate and oligomycin. Addition of uncoupler after rotenone induces further inhibition of H2O2 production. Inhibition of H2O2 formation by uncoupler, malonate and ADP+P(i) is shown to be proportional to the ΔΨ decrease by these compounds. A threshold ΔΨ value is found, above which a very strong increase in H2O2 production takes place. This threshold slightly exceeds the state 3 ΔΨ level. The data obtained are in line with the concept [Skulachev, V.P., Q. Rev. Biophys. 29 (1996), 169-202] that a high proton motive force in state 4 is potentially dangerous for the cell. due to an increase in the Probability of superoxide formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-18
Number of pages4
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 13 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Mitochondria
  • Protonic potential
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Uncoupling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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