PPARγ coactivator 1α (PGC-1α) is a potent stimulator of mitochondrial biogenesis and respiration. Since the mitochondrial electron transport chain is the main producer of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in most cells, we examined the effect of PGC-1α on the metabolism of ROS. PGC-1α is coinduced with several key ROS-detoxifying enzymes upon treatment of cells with an oxidative stressor; studies with RNAi or null cells indicate that PGC-1α is required for the induction of many ROS-detoxifying enzymes, including GPx1 and SOD2. PGC-1α null mice are much more sensitive to the neurodegenerative effects of MPTP and kainic acid, oxidative stressors affecting the substantia nigra and hippocampus, respectively. Increasing PGC-1α levels dramatically protects neural cells in culture from oxidative-stressor-mediated death. These studies reveal that PGC-1α is a broad and powerful regulator of ROS metabolism, providing a potential target for the therapeutic manipulation of these important endogenous toxins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology