Several studies concerning the distribution of ubiquinone (UQ) in the cell report a preferential accumulation of this biogenic quinone in mitochondria, plasma membranes, Golgi vesicles, and lysosomes. Except for mitochondria, no recent comprehensive experimental evidence exists on the particular function of UQ in these subcellular organelles. The aim of a recent study was to elucidate whether UQ is an active part of an electron-transfer system in lysosomes. In the present work, a lysosomal fraction was prepared from a light mitochondrial fraction of rat liver by isopycnic centrifugation. The purity of our preparation was verified by estimation of the respective marker enzymes. Analysis of lysosomes for putative redox carriers and redox processes in lysosomes was carried out by optical spectroscopy, HPLC, oxymetry, and ESR techniques. UQ was detected in an amount of 2.2 nmol/mg of protein in lysosomes. Furthermore, a b-type cytochrome and a flavin-adenine dinucleotide (FAD) were identified as other potential electron carriers. Since NADH was reported to serve as a substrate of UQ redox chains in plasma membranes, we also tested this reductant in lysosomes. Our experiments demonstrate a NADH-dependent reduction of UQ by two subsequent one-electron-transfer steps giving rise to the presence of ubisemiquinone and an increase of the ubiquinol pool in lysosomes. Lysosomal NADH oxidation was accompanied by an approximately equimolar oxygen consumption, suggesting that O(2) acts as a terminal acceptor of this redox chain. DMPO/(*)OH spin adducts were detected by ESR in NADH-supplemented lysosomes, suggesting a univalent reduction of oxygen. The kinetic analysis of redox changes in lysosomes revealed that electron carriers operate in the sequence NADH > FAD > cytochrome b > ubiquinone > oxygen. By using the basic spin label TEMPAMINE, we showed that the NADH-related redox chain in lysosomes supports proton accumulation in lysosomes. In contrast to the hypothesis that UQ in lysosomes is simply a waste product of autophagy in the cell, we demonstrated that this lipophilic electron carrier is a native constituent of a lysosomal electron transport chain, which promotes proton translocation across the lysosomal membrane.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.