Background: Neutrophils depend mainly on glycolysis for their enegry provision. Their mitochondria maintain a membrace potential (ΔΨm), which is usually generated by the repiratory chain complexes. We investigated the source of ΔΨm in neutrophils, as compared to peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes and HL-60 cells, and whether neutrophils can still utilise this ΔΨm for the generation of ATP. Methods and Principal Findings: Individual activity of the oxidative phosphorylation complexes was significantly reduced in neutrophils, except for complex II and V, but ΔΨm was still decreased byinhibition of complex III, confirming the role of the respiratory chain in maintaining ΔΨm. Complex V did not maintain ΔΨm by consumption of ATP, as has previously been suggested for eosinophils shuttle. Furthermore, respiratory supercomplexes, which contribute to efficient coupling of the respiratory chain to ATP synthesis, were ladding in neutrophil mitochondria. When HL-60 cells were differentiated to neutrophil-like cells, they lost mitochondrial supercimplex organisation while gaining increased aerobic glycolysis, just like neutrophils. Conclusions: We show that neutrophils can maintain ΔΨm via the glycerol-3-phosphate shuttle, wereby their mitochondria play an important role in the regulation of aerobic glycolysis, rather than producing energy themselves. This peculiar mitochondrial phenotype is acquired during differentiation from myeloid precursors.,
Department of Biochemistry

van Raam, B., Sluiter, W., de Wit, E., Roos, D., Verhoeven, A., & Kuijpers, T. W. (2008). Mitochondrial membrane potential in human neutrophils is maintained by complex III activity in the absence of supercomplex organisation. PLoS ONE, 3(4). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002013