NADPH and Glutathione Redox Link TCA Cycle Activity to Endoplasmic Reticulum Homeostasis

Erica R. Gansemer, Kyle S. McCommis, Michael Martino, Abdul Qaadir King-McAlpin, Matthew J. Potthoff, Brian N. Finck, Eric B. Taylor, D. Thomas Rutkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Many metabolic diseases disrupt endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis, but little is known about how metabolic activity is communicated to the ER. Here, we show in hepatocytes and other metabolically active cells that decreasing the availability of substrate for the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle diminished NADPH production, elevated glutathione oxidation, led to altered oxidative maturation of ER client proteins, and attenuated ER stress. This attenuation was prevented when glutathione oxidation was disfavored. ER stress was also alleviated by inhibiting either TCA-dependent NADPH production or Glutathione Reductase. Conversely, stimulating TCA activity increased NADPH production, glutathione reduction, and ER stress. Validating these findings, deletion of the Mitochondrial Pyruvate Carrier—which is known to decrease TCA cycle activity and protect the liver from steatohepatitis—also diminished NADPH, elevated glutathione oxidation, and alleviated ER stress. Together, our results demonstrate a novel pathway by which mitochondrial metabolic activity is communicated to the ER through the relay of redox metabolites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101116
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 22 2020


  • biological sciences
  • cell biology
  • functional aspects of cell biology


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