Fasting enhances mitochondrial efficiency in duckling skeletal muscle by acting on the substrate oxidation system

Abstract : During food deprivation, animals must develop physiological responses to maximize energy conservation and survival. At the subcellular level, energy conservation is mainly achieved by a reduction in mitochondrial activity and an upregulation of oxidative phosphorylation efficiency. The aim of this study was to decipher mechanisms underlying the increased mitochondrial coupling efficiency reported in fasted birds. Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation activity, efficiency and membrane potential were measured in mitochondria isolated from the gastrocnemius muscle of ducklings. The content and activities of respiratory chain complexes were also determined. Results from ducklings fasted for 6 days were compared with ducklings fed ad libitum. Here, we report that 6 days of fasting improved coupling efficiency in muscle mitochondria of ducklings by depressing proton-motive force through the downregulation of substrate oxidation reactions. Fasting did not change the basal proton conductance of mitochondria but largely decreased the oxidative phosphorylation activity, which was associated with decreased activities of succinate–cytochrome c reductase (complexes II–III) and citrate synthase, and altered contents in cytochromes b and c+c1. In contrast, fasting did not change cytochrome aa3 content or the activity of complexes I, II and IV. Altogether, these data show that the lower capacity of the respiratory machinery to pump protons in ducklings fasted for 6 days generates a lower membrane potential, which triggers a decreased proton leak activity and thus a higher coupling efficiency. We propose that the main site of action would be located at the level of co-enzyme Q pool/complex III of the electron transport chain.
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Damien Roussel, Mélanie Boël, Caroline Romestaing. Fasting enhances mitochondrial efficiency in duckling skeletal muscle by acting on the substrate oxidation system. Journal of Experimental Biology, Cambridge University Press, 2018, 221 (4), ⟨10.1242/jeb.172213⟩. ⟨hal-01815730⟩

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