Merely considered as a toxic gas in the past, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is currently viewed as the third ‘gasotransmitter’ in addition to nitric oxide (NO) and carbon monoxide (CO), playing a key signalling role in human (patho)physiology. H2S can either act as a substrate or, similarly to CO and NO, an inhibitor of mitochondrial respiration, in the latter case by targeting cytochrome c oxidase (CcOX). The impact of H2S on mitochondrial energy metabolism crucially depends on the bioavailability of this gaseous molecule and its interplay with the other two gasotransmitters. The H2S-producing human enzyme cystathionine β-synthase (CBS), sustaining cellular bioenergetics in colorectal cancer cells, plays a role in the interplay between gasotransmitters. The enzyme was indeed recently shown to be negatively modulated by physiological concentrations of CO and NO, particularly in the presence of its allosteric activator S-adenosyl-L-methionine (AdoMet). These newly discovered regulatory mechanisms are herein reviewed. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled ‘EBEC 2016: 19th European Bioenergetics Conference, Riva del Garda, Italy, July 2–6, 2016’, edited by Prof. Paolo Bernardi.
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