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We compared the activity of complex 1, complex 2, and the expression of the complex 1 subunit, NDUFA9, in isolated brown adipose tissue mitochondria from wild type and mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) knockout mice. Direct spectrophotometric measurement revealed that complex 2 activity was similar, but complex 1 activity was greater (~2.7 fold) in isolated mitochondria from wild-type mice compared to UCP1 knockout mice, an observation endorsed by greater complex 1 subunit expression (NDUFA9) in mitochondria of wild-type mice. We also measured reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by isolated brown adipose mitochondria respiring on succinate, without rotenone, thus facilitating reverse electron flow through complex 1. We observed that reverse electron flow in isolated mitochondria from wild-type mice, with UCP1 inhibited, produced significantly greater (~1.6 fold) ROS when compared with isolated brown adipose mitochondria from UCP1 knockout mice. In summary, we demonstrate that ROS production by succinate-driven reverse electron flow can occur in brown adipose tissue mitochondria and is a good index of complex 1 activity.

Original publication





Book title

Methods in Molecular Biology

Publication Date





247 - 258