Biochimica et biophysica acta

The mitochondria-targeted imidazole substituted oleic acid 'TPP-IOA' affects mitochondrial bioenergetics and its protective efficacy in cells is influenced by cellular dependence on aerobic metabolism.

PMID 27836699


A variety of mitochondria-targeted small molecules have been invented to manipulate mitochondrial redox activities and improve function in certain disease states. 3-Hydroxypropyl-triphenylphosphonium-conjugated imidazole-substituted oleic acid (TPP-IOA) was developed as a specific inhibitor of cytochrome c peroxidase activity that inhibits apoptosis by preventing cardiolipin oxidation and cytochrome c release to the cytosol. Here we evaluate the effects of TPP-IOA on oxidative phosphorylation in isolated mitochondria and on mitochondrial function in live cells. We demonstrate that, at concentrations similar to those required to achieve inhibition of cytochrome c peroxidase activity, TPP-IOA perturbs oxidative phosphorylation in isolated mitochondria. In live SH-SY5Y cells, TPP-IOA partially collapsed mitochondrial membrane potential, caused extensive fragmentation of the mitochondrial network, and decreased apparent mitochondrial abundance within 3h of exposure. Many cultured cell lines rely primarily on aerobic glycolysis, potentially making them less sensitive to small molecules disrupting oxidative phosphorylation. We therefore determined the anti-apoptotic efficacy of TPP-IOA in SH-SY5Y cells growing in glucose or in galactose, the latter of which increases reliance on oxidative phosphorylation for ATP supply. The anti-apoptotic activity of TPP-IOA that was observed in glucose media was not seen in galactose media. It therefore appears that, at concentrations required to inhibit cytochrome c peroxidase activity, TPP-IOA perturbs oxidative phosphorylation. In light of these data it is predicted that potential future therapeutic applications of TPP-IOA will be restricted to highly glycolytic cell types with limited reliance on oxidative phosphorylation.