Abstract: Here we report the partial nucleotide sequence of a reptilian uncoupling protein (repUCP) gene from the European common lizard ( Lacerta vivipara). Overlapping sequence analysis reveals that the protein shows 55%, 72% and 77% sequence homology with rat UCP1, UCP2 and UCP3, respectively, and 73% with bird and fish UCPs. RepUCP gene expression was ubiquitously detected in 4 degrees C cold-acclimated lizard tissues and upregulated in muscle tissues by a 20 h exposure to sub-zero temperatures in a supercooling state or after thawing. In parallel, we show an increase in the co-activators, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1 alpha (PGC-1 alpha) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors ( PPAR), mRNA expression, suggesting that the mechanisms regulating UCP expression may be conserved between mammals (endotherms) and reptiles (ectotherms). Furthermore, mitochondria extracted from lizard skeletal muscle showed a guanosine diphosphate (GDP)-sensitive non phosphorylating respiration. This last result indicates an inhibition of extra proton leakage mediated by an uncoupling protein, providing arguments that repUCP is functional in lizard tissues. This result is associated with a remarkable GDP-dependent increase in mitochondrial endogenous H2O2 production. All together, these data support a physiological role of the repUCP in superoxide limitation by lizard mitochondria in situations of stressful oxidative reperfusion following a re-warming period in winter.