Masson 2017 Sci Rep

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Masson SWC, Hedges CP, Devaux JBL, James CS, Hickey AJR (2017) Mitochondrial glycerol 3-phosphate facilitates bumblebee pre-flight thermogenesis. Sci Rep 7:13107.

» PMID: 29026172 Open Access

Masson SWC, Hedges CP, Devaux JBL, James CS, Hickey AJR (2017) Sci Rep

Abstract: Bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) fly at low ambient temperatures where other insects cannot, and to do so they must pre-warm their flight muscles. While some have proposed mechanisms, none fully explain how pre-flight thermogenesis occurs. Here, we present a novel hypothesis based on the less studied mitochondrial glycerol 3-phosphate dehydrogenase pathway (mGPDH). Using calorimetry, and high resolution respirometry coupled with fluorimetry, we report substrate oxidation by mGPDH in permeabilised flight muscles operates, in vitro, at a high flux, even in the absence of ADP. This may be facilitated by an endogenous, mGPDH-mediated uncoupling of mitochondria. This uncoupling increases ETS activity, which results in increased heat release. Furthermore, passive regulation of this mechanism is achieved via dampened temperature sensitivity of mGPDH relative to other respiratory pathways, and subsequent consumption of its substrate, glycerol 3-phosphate (G3P), at low temperatures. Mitochondrial GPDH may therefore facilitate pre-flight thermogenesis through poor mitochondrial coupling. We calculate this can occur at a sufficient rate to warm flight muscles until shivering commences, and until flight muscle function is adequate for bumblebees to fly in the cold.


Bioblast editor: Kandolf G O2k-Network Lab: NZ Auckland Hickey AJ


Cited by

  • Cardoso et al (2021) Magnesium Green for fluorometric measurement of ATP production does not interfere with mitochondrial respiration. MitoFit Preprints 2021.1. doi:10.26124/mitofit:2021-0001


Labels: MiParea: Respiration 


Organism: Hexapods  Tissue;cell: Skeletal muscle  Preparation: Permeabilized tissue 


Coupling state: OXPHOS, ET  Pathway: N, Gp, NS  HRR: Oxygraph-2k 

Labels, 2018-03, MgG, MitoFit 2021 MgG