Uncoupling protein

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Mitochondrial Uncoupling Protein 2

An uncoupling protein is a mitochondrial inner membrane protein that can dissipate the proton gradient before it can be used to provide the energy for oxidative phosphorylation.[1]

There are five types known in mammals:

Uncoupling proteins play a role in normal physiology, as in cold exposure or hibernation, because the energy is used to generate heat (see thermogenesis) instead of producing ATP. However, other substances such as 2,4-dinitrophenol and CCCP also serve the same uncoupling function, and are considered poisonous. Salicylic acid is also an uncoupling agent and will deplete the body of ATP and increase body temperature if taken in excess.[citation needed] Uncoupling proteins are increased by thyroid hormone, norepinephrine, epinephrine, and leptin.[2]


  1. ^ Nedergaard J, Ricquier D, Kozak LP (2005). "Uncoupling proteins: current status and therapeutic prospects". EMBO Rep. 6 (10): 917–21. doi:10.1038/sj.embor.7400532. PMC 1369193. PMID 16179945. 
  2. ^ Gong DW, He Y, Karas M, Reitman M (1997). "Uncoupling protein-3 is a mediator of thermogenesis regulated by thyroid hormone, β3-adrenergic agonists, and leptin". J Biol Chem 272 (39): 24129–32. 

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