Mitochondrial ABC transporters function: The role of ABCB10 (ABC-me) as a novel player in cellular handling of reactive oxygen species

Marc Liesa, Wei Qiu, Orian S. Shirihai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Mitochondria are one of the major sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the cell. When exceeding the capacity of antioxidant mechanisms, ROS production may lead to different pathologies, such as ischemia-reperfusion injury, neurodegeneration, anemia and ageing. As a consequence of the endosymbiotic origin of mitochondria, eukaryotic cells have developed different transport mechanisms that coordinate mitochondrial function with other cellular compartments. Four mitochondrial ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters have been described to date in mammals: ABCB6, ABCB8, ABCB7 and ABCB10. ABCB10 is located in the inner mitochondrial membrane forming homodimers, with the ATP binding domain facing the mitochondrial matrix. ABCB10 expression is highly induced during erythroid differentiation and its overexpression increases hemoglobin synthesis in erythroid cells. However, ABCB10 is also expressed in nonerythroid tissues, suggesting a role not directly related to hemoglobin synthesis. Recent evidence points toward ABCB10 as an important player in the protection from oxidative stress in mammals. In this regard, ABCB10 is required for normal erythropoiesis and cardiac recovery after ischemia-reperfusion, processes intimately related to mitochondrial ROS generation. Here, we review the current knowledge on mitochondrial ABC transporters and ABCB10 and discuss the potential mechanisms by which ABCB10 and its transport activity may regulate oxidative stress. We discuss ABCB10 as a potential therapeutic target for diseases in which increased mitochondrial ROS production and oxidative stress play a major role.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1945-1957
Number of pages13
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • ABC-me
  • ABCB10
  • Erythropoiesis
  • Ischemia-reperfusion
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxidative stress


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