[en] Mitochondrion ; alternative oxidase ; uncoupling protein ; development ; dictyostelium discoideum
[en] In this study we show that mitochondria of Dictyostelium discoideum contain both alternative oxidase (AOX) and uncoupling protein (UCP). AOX was stimulated by purine mononucleoside and was monomeric. UCP was stimulated by free fatty acids and was poorly sensitive to GTP. Both proteins collaborated in energy dissipation when activated together. AOX expression in free-living ameboid cells decreased strongly from exponential to stationary phase of growth but much less during starvation-induced aggregation. In contrast, UCP expression was constant in all conditions indicating permanent need. Our results suggest that AOX could play a role in cell differentiation, mainly by protecting prespore cells from programmed cell death.