Inhibition of ATP synthase reverse activity restores energy homeostasis in mitochondrial pathologies

EMBO J. 2023 May 15;42(10):e111699. doi: 10.15252/embj.2022111699. Epub 2023 Mar 13.


The maintenance of cellular function relies on the close regulation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis and hydrolysis. ATP hydrolysis by mitochondrial ATP Synthase (CV) is induced by loss of proton motive force and inhibited by the mitochondrial protein ATPase inhibitor (ATPIF1). The extent of CV hydrolytic activity and its impact on cellular energetics remains unknown due to the lack of selective hydrolysis inhibitors of CV. We find that CV hydrolytic activity takes place in coupled intact mitochondria and is increased by respiratory chain defects. We identified (+)-Epicatechin as a selective inhibitor of ATP hydrolysis that binds CV while preventing the binding of ATPIF1. In cells with Complex-III deficiency, we show that inhibition of CV hydrolytic activity by (+)-Epichatechin is sufficient to restore ATP content without restoring respiratory function. Inhibition of CV-ATP hydrolysis in a mouse model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is sufficient to improve muscle force without any increase in mitochondrial content. We conclude that the impact of compromised mitochondrial respiration can be lessened using hydrolysis-selective inhibitors of CV.

Keywords: ATP hydrolysis; ATPase Inhibitor (ATPIF1); Complex V; epicatechin; muscular dystrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Homeostasis
  • Hydrolysis
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria* / metabolism
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism


  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases
  • Proteins