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Professor Michael Murphy

Research Interests

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by mitochondria cause oxidative damage that impairs the ability of mitochondria to make ATP and to carry out their metabolic functions. They may participate also in cellular redox signalling pathways.

One important aspect of our work is to investigate how oxidative damage to mitochondria contributes to human pathologies. We have worked out a way of targeting small bioactive molecules, such as antioxidants, to mitochondria in order to counter the effects of ROS and to examine the effects of doing so at cellular and whole animal levels. The bioactive molecule is attached chemically to a lipophilic cation such triphenylphosphonium. These cations accumulate selectively, first in the cytosol, driven by the plasma membrane potential, and then several-hundred fold in the matrix of mitochondria, driven by the membrane potential across the inner membrane.

A second important aspect is to determine whether and how mitochondrial ROS alters the activities of proteins in putative signalling and protective pathways by reversibly modifying the redox state of critical protein thiols in mitochondria. We use a range of free radical and proteomic approaches to identify the proteins involved, and to identify the cysteine residues and any redox modifications.

Finally, we take this information and use it to rationally design potential therapies for diseases that arise from mitochondria dysfunction. Currently our main focus for therapy is the ischaemia/reperfusion injury that arises from stroke and heart attack.

Keywords

mitochondria

Collaborators

Key Publications

Ischaemic accumulation of succinate controls reperfusion injury through mitochondrial ROS. Chouchani ET, Pell VR, Gaude E, Aksentijević D, Sundier SY, Robb EL, Logan A, Nadtochiy SM, Ord EN, Smith AC, Eyassu F, Shirley R, Hu CH, Dare AJ, James AM, Rogatti S, Hartley RC, Eaton S, Costa AS, Brookes PS, Davidson SM, Duchen MR, Saeb-Parsy K, Shattock MJ, Robinson AJ, Work LM, Frezza C, Krieg T, Murphy MP. Nature. 2014 Nov 5. doi: 10.1038/nature13909. [Epub ahead of print]

Mitochondria selective S-nitrosation by mitochondria-targeted S-nitrosothiol protects against post-infarct heart failure in mouse hearts. Methner C, Chouchani ET, Buonincontri G, Pell VR, Sawiak SJ, Murphy MP, Krieg T. Eur J Heart Fail. 2014 Jul;16(7):712-7.

Using exomarkers to assess mitochondrial reactive species in vivo. Logan A, Cochemé HM, Li Pun PB, Apostolova N, Smith RA, Larsen L, Larsen DS, James AM, Fearnley IM, Rogatti S, Prime TA, Finichiu PG, Dare A, Chouchani ET, Pell VR, Methner C, Quin C, McQuaker SJ, Krieg T, Hartley RC, Murphy MP. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Feb;1840(2):923-30.

Cardioprotection by S-nitrosation of a cysteine switch on mitochondrial complex I. Chouchani ET, Methner C, Nadtochiy SM, Logan A, Pell VR, Ding S, James AM, Cochemé HM, Reinhold J, Lilley KS, Partridge L, Fearnley IM, Robinson AJ, Hartley RC, Smith RA, Krieg T, Brookes PS, Murphy MP. Nat Med. 2013 Jun;19(6):753-9.

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