Recently, gaseous signaling molecules, such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitric oxide (NO), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which were previously considered to be highly toxic, have been of increasing interest due to their beneficial effects at low concentrations. These so-called gasotransmitters affect [...] Read more.
Recently, gaseous signaling molecules, such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitric oxide (NO), and hydrogen sulfide (H2
S), which were previously considered to be highly toxic, have been of increasing interest due to their beneficial effects at low concentrations. These so-called gasotransmitters affect many cellular processes, such as apoptosis, proliferation, cytoprotection, oxygen sensing, ATP synthesis, and cellular respiration. It is thought that mitochondria, specifically their respiratory complexes, constitute an important target for these gases. On the other hand, increasing evidence of a cytoprotective role for mitochondrial potassium channels provides motivation for the analysis of the role of gasotransmitters in the regulation of channel function. A number of potassium channels have been shown to exhibit activity within the inner mitochondrial membrane, including ATP-sensitive potassium channels, Ca2+
-activated potassium channels, voltage-gated Kv potassium channels, and TWIK-related acid-sensitive K+
channel 3 (TASK-3). The effects of these channels include the regulation of mitochondrial respiration and membrane potential. Additionally, they may modulate the synthesis of reactive oxygen species within mitochondria. The opening of mitochondrial potassium channels is believed to induce cytoprotection, while channel inhibition may facilitate cell death. The molecular mechanisms underlying the action of gasotransmitters are complex. In this review, we focus on the molecular mechanisms underlying the action of H2
S, NO, and CO on potassium channels present within mitochondria.