Research ArticleCell Biology

Mitochondrial redox signaling enables repair of injured skeletal muscle cells

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Sci. Signal.  05 Sep 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 495, eaaj1978
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaj1978

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Mitochondria for plasma membrane repair

Mechanical strain on cells can cause plasma membrane damage that must be repaired. Horn et al. found that mitochondria mediated a repair response in muscle cells (which experience mechanical strain during exercise) and nonmuscle cells. The influx of extracellular Ca2+ caused by plasma membrane injury triggered an increase in mitochondrial Ca2+ that initiated the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Mitochondrially produced ROS activated actin polymerization and wound closure at the sites of plasma membrane injury. Quenching this source of ROS in mouse muscle exercised ex vivo resulted in greater damage to injured myofibers and reduced muscle force. These findings demonstrate that rampant quenching of ROS, such as with antioxidants (which are a popular nutritional supplement), may have detrimental effects that must be balanced with their potential benefits.