Energy-dissipation in plant mitochondria can be mediated by inner membrane proteins via two processes: redox potential-dissipation or proton electrochemical potential-dissipation. Alternative oxidases (AOx) and the plant uncoupling mitochondrial proteins (PUMP) perform a type of intrinsic and extrinsic regulation of the coupling between respiration and phosphorylation, respectively. Expression analyses and functional studies on AOx and PUMP under normal and stress conditions suggest that the physiological role of both systems lies most likely in tuning up the mitochondrial energy metabolism in response of cells to stress situations. Indeed, the expression and function of these proteins in non-thermogenic tissues suggest that their primary functions are not related to heat production.

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