New player in immune response? The strange case of UCP2
Uncoupling proteins present a paradox. They are found within mitochondria and serve to prevent the cell’s powerhouses from exploiting the charge differential across their membranes to generate ATP, which the body uses as an energy source. When uncoupling proteins are active, mitochondria produce heat instead of ATP. This may be useful under certain circumstances, such as when an animal is hibernating, but it seems unlikely that helping bears through the winter is the only function of uncoupling proteins, especially as non-hibernating animals also have them.
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