• cell cultures;
  • confocal fluorescence microscopy;
  • dihydroethidium;
  • free radicals;
  • tetramethyl rhodamine ethyl ester;
  • UCP5

Outside the nervous system, members of the mitochondrial uncoupling protein (UCP) family have been proposed to contribute to control of body temperature and energy metabolism, and regulation of mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, the function of brain mitochondrial carrier protein 1 (BMCP1), which is highly expressed in brain, remains to be determined. To study BMCP1 expression and function in the nervous system, a high-affinity antibody to BMCP1 was generated and used to analyze tissue expression of BMCP1 protein in mouse. BMCP1 protein was highly expressed in heart and kidney, but not liver or lung. In the nervous system, BMCP1 was present in cortex, basal ganglia, substantia nigra, cerebellum, and spinal cord. Both BMCP1 mRNA and protein expression was almost exclusively neuronal. To study the effect of BMCP1 expression on mitochondrial function, neuronal (GT1-1) cell lines with stable overexpression of BMCP1 were generated. Transfected cells had higher State 4 respiration and lower mitochondrial membrane potential (ψm), consistent with greater mitochondrial uncoupling. BMCP1 expression also decreased mitochondrial production of ROS. These data suggest that BMCP1 can modify mitochondrial respiratory efficiency and mitochondrial oxidant production, and raise the possibility that BMCP1 might alter the vulnerability of brain to both acute injury and to neurodegenerative conditions.