Regulation of thermogenesis in plants: the interaction of alternative oxidase and plant uncoupling mitochondrial protein

J Integr Plant Biol. 2011 Jan;53(1):7-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2010.01004.x.


Thermogenesis is a process of heat production in living organisms. It is rare in plants, but it does occur in some species of angiosperm. The heat is generated via plant mitochondrial respiration. As possible involvement in thermogenesis of mitochondrial factors, alternative oxidases (AOXs) and plant uncoupling mitochondrial proteins (PUMPs) have been well studied. AOXs and PUMPs are ubiquitously present in the inner membrane of plant mitochondria. They serve as two major energy dissipation systems that balance mitochondrial respiration and uncoupled phosphorylation by dissipating the H+ redox energy and proton electrochemical gradient (ΔμH+) as heat, respectively. AOXs and PUMPs exert similar physiological functions during homeothermic heat production in thermogenic plants. AOXs have five isoforms, while PUMPs have six. Both AOXs and PUMPs are encoded by small nuclear multigene families. Multiple isoforms are expressed in different tissues or organs. Extensive studies have been done in the area of thermogenesis in higher plants. In this review, we focus on the involvement and regulation of AOXs and PUMPs in thermogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Araceae / enzymology*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nelumbo / enzymology*
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism*
  • Plant Proteins
  • Temperature*


  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Oxidoreductases
  • alternative oxidase