Mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) dysfunction due to mutations in the nuclear or mitochondrial genome is a common cause of metabolic disease in humans and displays striking tissue specificity depending on the affected gene. The mechanisms underlying tissue specific phenotypes are not understood. Complex I (cI) is classically considered the entry point for electrons into the ETC, and in vitro experiments indicate that cI is required for basal respiration and maintenance of the NAD+ /NADH ratio, an indicator of cellular redox status. This finding has largely not been tested in vivo. Here, we report that mitochondrial complex I is dispensable for homeostasis of the adult mouse liver; animals with hepatocyte-specific loss of cI function display no overt phenotypes or signs of liver damage, and maintain liver function, redox and oxygen status. Further analysis of cI-deficient livers did not reveal significant proteomic or metabolic changes, indicating little to no compensation is required in the setting of complex I loss. In contrast, complex IV (cIV) dysfunction in adult hepatocytes results in decreased liver function, impaired oxygen handling, steatosis, and liver damage, accompanied by significant metabolomic and proteomic perturbations. Our results support a model whereby complex I loss is tolerated in the mouse liver because hepatocytes use alternative electron donors to fuel the mitochondrial ETC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)