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Hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ) has key signaling roles at physiological levels, while causing molecular damage at elevated concentrations. H2 O2 production by mitochondria is implicated in regulating processes inside and outside these organelles. However, it remains unclear whether and how mitochondria in intact cells release H2 O2 . Here, we employed a genetically encoded high-affinity H2 O2 sensor, HyPer7, in mammalian tissue culture cells to investigate different modes of mitochondrial H2 O2 release. We found substantial heterogeneity of HyPer7 dynamics between individual cells. We further observed mitochondria-released H2 O2 directly at the surface of the organelle and in the bulk cytosol, but not in the nucleus or at the plasma membrane, pointing to steep gradients emanating from mitochondria. Gradient formation is controlled by cytosolic peroxiredoxins, which act redundantly and with a substantial reserve capacity. Dynamic adaptation of cytosolic thioredoxin reductase levels during metabolic changes results in improved H2 O2 handling and explains previously observed differences between cell types. Our data suggest that H2 O2 -mediated signaling is initiated only in close proximity to mitochondria and under specific metabolic conditions.

Original publication

DOI

10.15252/embj.2021109169

Type

Journal article

Journal

EMBO J

Publication Date

11/02/2022

Keywords

HyPer7, hydrogen peroxide release, mitochondria, peroxiredoxin