PerspectiveCell Biology

Vitamin K2 Takes Charge

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Science  08 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6086, pp. 1241-1242
DOI: 10.1126/science.1223812

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Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that play central roles in eukaryotic cellular energy metabolism. They harbor an electron transport chain (ETC) that couples electron transfer to the movement of protons across the mitochondrial inner membrane, forming an electrochemical gradient that captures chemical energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The biochemical and biophysical properties of the ETC have been studied in detail (1). On page 1306 of this issue, Vos et al. (2) report a new constituent of this chain. The authors show that vitamin K2 is an electron carrier, suggesting this small organic molecule as a possible treatment for mitochondrial pathologies such as Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.