Nuclear control of respiratory chain expression in mammalian cells

Richard C. Scarpulla*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

232 Scopus citations


The majority of gene products required for mitochondrial respiratory function are encoded in the nuclear genome. These include most of the respiratory subunits and all of the proteins that regulate the mitochondrial genetic system. One approach to understanding nucleo-mitochondrial interactions in mammalian cells is to identify the nuclear transcription factors that are common to the expression of these gene products. This has led to the purification and molecular cloning of nuclear respiratory factors, NRF-1 and NRF-2. The DNA binding and transcriptional specificities of these proteins have implicated them in the expression of many respiratory subunits along with key components of the mitochondrial transcription, replication, and heme biosynthetic machinery. In addition, tissue-specific transcription factors have been linked to the coordinate synthesis of contractile proteins and muscle-specific respiratory subunits whereas other more ubiquitous factors may have a dual function in nuclear and mitochondrial gene activation. These findings provide a framework for further investigations of the nuclear genetic mechanisms that integrate the expression of the respiratory apparatus with that of other cellular systems during growth and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997


  • ETS domain
  • Gene expression
  • Mammalian cells
  • Mitochondria
  • Nuclear respiratory factors
  • Oxidative phosphorylation
  • Regulation
  • Respiratory chain
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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