Coenzyme Q (CoQ) is a remarkably hydrophobic, redox-active lipid that empowers diverse cellular processes. Although most known for shuttling electrons between mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complexes, the roles for CoQ are far more wide-reaching and ever-expanding. CoQ serves as a conduit for electrons from myriad pathways to enter the ETC, acts as a cofactor for biosynthetic and catabolic reactions, detoxifies damaging lipid species, and engages in cellular signaling and oxygen sensing. Many open questions remain regarding the biosynthesis, transport, and metabolism of CoQ, which hinders our ability to treat human CoQ deficiency. Here, we recount progress in filling these knowledge gaps, highlight unanswered questions, and underscore the need for novel tools to enable discoveries and improve the treatment of CoQ-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-476
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in biochemical sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023


  • coenzyme Q
  • complex Q
  • lipids
  • mitochondria
  • oxidative phosphorylation
  • ubiquinone


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