Functional Properties of the Mitochondrial Carrier System
The mitochondrial carrier system (MCS) transports small molecules between mitochondria and the cytoplasm. It is integral to the core mitochondrial function to regulate cellular chemistry by metabolism. The mammalian MCS comprises the transporters of the 53-member canonical SLC25A family and a lesser number of identified noncanonical transporters. The recent discovery and investigations of the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) illustrate the diverse effects a single mitochondrial carrier may exert on cellular function. However, the transport selectivities of many carriers remain unknown, and most have not been functionally investigated in mammalian cells. The mechanisms coordinating their function as a unified system remain undefined. Increased accessibility to molecular genetic and metabolomic technologies now greatly enables investigation of the MCS. Continued investigation of the MCS may reveal how mitochondria encode complex regulatory information within chemical thermodynamic gradients. This understanding may enable precision modulation of cellular chemistry to counteract the dysmetabolism inherent in disease.
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