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1.  Human MIEF1 recruits Drp1 to mitochondrial outer membranes and promotes mitochondrial fusion rather than fission 
The EMBO Journal  2011;30(14):2762-2778.
Human MIEF1 recruits Drp1 to mitochondrial outer membranes and promotes mitochondrial fusion rather than fission
Mitochondrial morphology depends on the balance between fission and fusion events. This study identifies a receptor for the fission factor Drp1 within the mitochondrial outer membrane, which inhibits Drp1-mediated fission and activates fusion.
Mitochondrial morphology is controlled by two opposing processes: fusion and fission. Drp1 (dynamin-related protein 1) and hFis1 are two key players of mitochondrial fission, but how Drp1 is recruited to mitochondria and how Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission is regulated in mammals is poorly understood. Here, we identify the vertebrate-specific protein MIEF1 (mitochondrial elongation factor 1; independently identified as MiD51), which is anchored to the outer mitochondrial membrane. Elevated MIEF1 levels induce extensive mitochondrial fusion, whereas depletion of MIEF1 causes mitochondrial fragmentation. MIEF1 interacts with and recruits Drp1 to mitochondria in a manner independent of hFis1, Mff (mitochondrial fission factor) and Mfn2 (mitofusin 2), but inhibits Drp1 activity, thus executing a negative effect on mitochondrial fission. MIEF1 also interacts with hFis1 and elevated hFis1 levels partially reverse the MIEF1-induced fusion phenotype. In addition to inhibiting Drp1, MIEF1 also actively promotes fusion, but in a manner distinct from mitofusins. In conclusion, our findings uncover a novel mechanism which controls the mitochondrial fusion–fission machinery in vertebrates. As MIEF1 is vertebrate-specific, these data also reveal important differences between yeast and vertebrates in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics.
PMCID: PMC3160255  PMID: 21701560
Drp1; hFis1; mitochondrial fusion and fission; SMCR7L; MIEF1/MiD51
2.  Mechanism of Neuroprotective Mitochondrial Remodeling by PKA/AKAP1 
PLoS Biology  2011;9(4):e1000612.
The mitochondrial signaling complex PKA/AKAP1 protects neurons against mitochondrial fragmentation and cell death by phosphorylating and inactivating the mitochondrial fission enzyme Drp1.
Mitochondrial shape is determined by fission and fusion reactions catalyzed by large GTPases of the dynamin family, mutation of which can cause neurological dysfunction. While fission-inducing protein phosphatases have been identified, the identity of opposing kinase signaling complexes has remained elusive. We report here that in both neurons and non-neuronal cells, cAMP elevation and expression of an outer-mitochondrial membrane (OMM) targeted form of the protein kinase A (PKA) catalytic subunit reshapes mitochondria into an interconnected network. Conversely, OMM-targeting of the PKA inhibitor PKI promotes mitochondrial fragmentation upstream of neuronal death. RNAi and overexpression approaches identify mitochondria-localized A kinase anchoring protein 1 (AKAP1) as a neuroprotective and mitochondria-stabilizing factor in vitro and in vivo. According to epistasis studies with phosphorylation site-mutant dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), inhibition of the mitochondrial fission enzyme through a conserved PKA site is the principal mechanism by which cAMP and PKA/AKAP1 promote both mitochondrial elongation and neuronal survival. Phenocopied by a mutation that slows GTP hydrolysis, Drp1 phosphorylation inhibits the disassembly step of its catalytic cycle, accumulating large, slowly recycling Drp1 oligomers at the OMM. Unopposed fusion then promotes formation of a mitochondrial reticulum, which protects neurons from diverse insults.
Author Summary
Mitochondria, the cellular powerhouse, are highly dynamic organelles shaped by opposing fission and fusion events. Research over the past decade has identified many components of the mitochondrial fission/fusion machinery and led to the discovery that mutations in genes coding for these proteins can cause human neurological diseases. While it is well established that mitochondrial shape changes are intimately involved in cellular responses to environmental stressors, we know very little about the mechanisms by which cells dynamically adjust mitochondrial form and function. In this report, we show that the scaffold protein AKAP1 brings the cAMP-dependent protein kinase PKA to the outer mitochondrial membrane to protect neurons from injury. The PKA/AKAP1 complex functions by inhibiting Drp1, an enzyme that mechanically constricts and eventually severs mitochondria. Whereas active, dephosphorylated Drp1 rapidly cycles between cytosol and mitochondria, phosphorylated Drp1 builds up in inactive mitochondrial complexes, allowing mitochondria to fuse into a neuroprotective reticulum. Our results suggest that altering the balance of kinase and phosphatase activities at the outer mitochondrial membrane may provide the basis for novel neuroprotective therapies.
PMCID: PMC3079583  PMID: 21526220
3.  Fis1, Mff, MiD49, and MiD51 mediate Drp1 recruitment in mitochondrial fission 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2013;24(5):659-667.
Mitochondrial fission requires recruitment of the GTPase Drp1 to mitochondria, but the molecules that mediate this recruitment have been disputed. Fis1, Mff, MiD49, and MiD51 can all recruit Drp1 to mitochondria and promote fission. MiD49 and MiD51 can promote mitochondrial fission, but their activity depends on cellular context.
Several mitochondrial outer membrane proteins—mitochondrial fission protein 1 (Fis1), mitochondrial fission factor (Mff), mitochondrial dynamics proteins of 49 and 51 kDa (MiD49 and MiD51, respectively)—have been proposed to promote mitochondrial fission by recruiting the GTPase dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), but fundamental issues remain concerning their function. A recent study supported such a role for Mff but not for Fis1. In addition, it is unclear whether MiD49 and MiD51 activate or inhibit fission, because their overexpression causes extensive mitochondrial elongation. It is also unknown whether these proteins can act in the absence of one another to mediate fission. Using Fis1-null, Mff-null, and Fis1/Mff-null cells, we show that both Fis1 and Mff have roles in mitochondrial fission. Moreover, immunofluorescence analysis of Drp1 suggests that Fis1 and Mff are important for the number and size of Drp1 puncta on mitochondria. Finally, we find that either MiD49 or MiD51 can mediate Drp1 recruitment and mitochondrial fission in the absence of Fis1 and Mff. These results demonstrate that multiple receptors can recruit Drp1 to mediate mitochondrial fission.
PMCID: PMC3583668  PMID: 23283981
4.  A role for myosin II in mammalian mitochondrial fission 
Current biology : CB  2014;24(4):409-414.
Mitochondria are dynamic organelles, undergoing both fission and fusion regularly in interphase cells. Mitochondrial fission is thought to be part of a quality control mechanism, whereby damaged mitochondrial components are segregated from healthy components in an individual mitochondrion, followed by mitochondrial fission and degradation of the damaged daughter mitochondrion [1]. Fission also plays a role in apoptosis [2]. Defects in mitochondrial dynamics can lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s [3]. Mitochondrial fission requires the dynamin GTPase Drp1, which assembles in a ring around the mitochondrion and appears to constrict both outer and inner mitochondrial membranes [4]. However, mechanisms controlling Drp1 assembly on mammalian mitochondria are unclear. Recent results show that actin polymerization, driven by the endoplasmic reticulum-bound formin protein INF2, stimulates Drp1 assembly at fission sites [5]. Here, we show that myosin II also plays a role in fission. Chemical inhibition by blebbistatin or siRNA-mediated suppression of myosin IIA or myosin IIB causes an increase in mitochondrial length in both control cells and cells expressing constitutively active INF2. Active myosin II accumulates in puncta on mitochondria in an actin- and INF2-dependent manner. In addition, myosin II inhibition decreases Drp1 association with mitochondria. Based on these results, we propose a mechanistic model in which INF2-mediated actin polymerization leads to myosin II recruitment and constriction at the fission site, enhancing subsequent Drp1 accumulation and fission.
PMCID: PMC3958938  PMID: 24485837
5.  Hepatitis B Virus Disrupts Mitochondrial Dynamics: Induces Fission and Mitophagy to Attenuate Apoptosis 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(12):e1003722.
Human hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes chronic hepatitis and is associated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. HBV infection alters mitochondrial metabolism. The selective removal of damaged mitochondria is essential for the maintenance of mitochondrial and cellular homeostasis. Here, we report that HBV shifts the balance of mitochondrial dynamics toward fission and mitophagy to attenuate the virus-induced apoptosis. HBV induced perinuclear clustering of mitochondria and triggered mitochondrial translocation of the dynamin-related protein (Drp1) by stimulating its phosphorylation at Ser616, leading to mitochondrial fission. HBV also stimulated the gene expression of Parkin, PINK1, and LC3B and induced Parkin recruitment to the mitochondria. Upon translocation to mitochondria, Parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, underwent self-ubiquitination and facilitated the ubiquitination and degradation of its substrate Mitofusin 2 (Mfn2), a mediator of mitochondrial fusion. In addition to conventional immunofluorescence, a sensitive dual fluorescence reporter expressing mito-mRFP-EGFP fused in-frame to a mitochondrial targeting sequence was employed to observe the completion of the mitophagic process by delivery of the engulfed mitochondria to lysosomes for degradation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that viral HBx protein plays a central role in promoting aberrant mitochondrial dynamics either when expressed alone or in the context of viral genome. Perturbing mitophagy by silencing Parkin led to enhanced apoptotic signaling, suggesting that HBV-induced mitochondrial fission and mitophagy promote cell survival and possibly viral persistence. Altered mitochondrial dynamics associated with HBV infection may contribute to mitochondrial injury and liver disease pathogenesis.
Author Summary
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) chronic infections represent the common cause for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Mitochondrial liver injury has been long recognized as one of the consequences of HBV infection during chronic hepatitis. Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that undergo fission, fusion, and selective-autophagic removal (mitophagy), in their pursuit to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis and meet cellular energy requirements. The clearance of damaged mitochondria is essential for the maintenance of mitochondrial and cellular homeostasis. We observed that HBV and its encoded HBx protein promoted mitochondrial fragmentation (fission) and mitophagy. HBV/HBx induced the expression and Ser616 phosphorylation of dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) and its subsequent translocation to the mitochondria, resulting in enhanced mitochondrial fragmentation. HBV also promoted the mitochondrial translocation of Parkin, a cytosolic E3 ubiquitin ligase, and subsequent mitophagy. Perturbation of mitophagy in HBV-infected cells resulted in enhanced mitochondrial apoptotic signaling. This shift of the mitochondrial dynamics towards enhanced fission and mitophagy is essential for the clearance of damaged mitochondria and serves to prevent apoptotic cell death of HBV-infected cells to facilitate persistent infection.
PMCID: PMC3855539  PMID: 24339771
6.  Deregulation of Mitochondria-Shaping Proteins Opa-1 and Drp-1 in Manganese-Induced Apoptosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91848.
Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that undergo fusion and fission processes. These events are regulated by mitochondria-shaping proteins. Changes in the expression and/or localization of these proteins lead to a mitochondrial dynamics impairment and may promote apoptosis. Increasing evidence correlates the mitochondrial dynamics disruption with the occurrence of neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, we focused on this topic in Manganese (Mn)-induced Parkinsonism, a disorder associated with Mn accumulation preferentially in the basal ganglia where mitochondria from astrocytes represent an early target. Using MitoTracker Red staining we observed increased mitochondrial network fission in Mn-exposed rat astrocytoma C6 cells. Moreover, Mn induced a marked decrease in fusion protein Opa-1 levels as well as a dramatic increase in the expression of fission protein Drp-1. Additionally, Mn provoked a significant release of high MW Opa-1 isoforms from the mitochondria to the cytosol as well as an increased Drp-1 translocation to the mitochondria. Both Mdivi-1, a pharmacological Drp-1 inhibitor, and rat Drp-1 siRNA reduced the number of apoptotic nuclei, preserved the mitochondrial network integrity and prevented cell death. CsA, an MPTP opening inhibitor, prevented mitochondrial Δψm disruption, Opa-1 processing and Drp-1 translocation to the mitochondria therefore protecting Mn-exposed cells from mitochondrial disruption and apoptosis. The histological analysis and Hoechst 33258 staining of brain sections of Mn-injected rats in the striatum showed a decrease in cellular mass paralleled with an increase in the occurrence of apoptotic nuclei. Opa-1 and Drp-1 expression levels were also changed by Mn-treatment. Our results demonstrate for the first time that abnormal mitochondrial dynamics is implicated in both in vitro and in vivo Mn toxicity. In addition we show that the imbalance in fusion/fission equilibrium might be involved in Mn-induced apoptosis. This knowledge may provide new therapeutic tools for the treatment of Manganism and other neurodegenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC3954806  PMID: 24632637
7.  Mutations in Fis1 disrupt orderly disposal of defective mitochondria 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(1):145-159.
The mitochondrial fission protein Drp1 binds to Mff on mitochondria, followed by entry into a complex with Fis1 at the ER–mitochondrial interface. Mutations in Fis1 disrupt disposal of defective mitochondria when fission is induced by stress. Fis1 thus acts in sequence with Mff to couple mitochondrial fission with downstream degradation processes.
Mitochondrial fission is mediated by the dynamin-related protein Drp1 in metazoans. Drp1 is recruited from the cytosol to mitochondria by the mitochondrial outer membrane protein Mff. A second mitochondrial outer membrane protein, named Fis1, was previously proposed as recruitment factor, but Fis1−/− cells have mild or no mitochondrial fission defects. Here we show that Fis1 is nevertheless part of the mitochondrial fission complex in metazoan cells. During the fission cycle, Drp1 first binds to Mff on the surface of mitochondria, followed by entry into a complex that includes Fis1 and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) proteins at the ER–mitochondrial interface. Mutations in Fis1 do not normally affect fission, but they can disrupt downstream degradation events when specific mitochondrial toxins are used to induce fission. The disruptions caused by mutations in Fis1 lead to an accumulation of large LC3 aggregates. We conclude that Fis1 can act in sequence with Mff at the ER–mitochondrial interface to couple stress-induced mitochondrial fission with downstream degradation processes.
PMCID: PMC3873885  PMID: 24196833
8.  Dynamin-Related Protein 1 and Mitochondrial Fragmentation in Neurodegenerative Diseases 
Brain research reviews  2010;67(1-2):103-118.
The purpose of this article is to review the recent developments of abnormal mitochondrial dynamics, mitochondrial fragmentation, and neuronal damage in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The GTPase family of proteins, including fission proteins, dynamin related protein 1 (Drp1), mitochondrial fission 1 (Fis1), and fusion proteins (Mfn1, Mfn2 and Opa1) are essential to maintain mitochondrial fission and fusion balance, and to provide necessary adenosine triphosphate to neurons. Among these, Drp1 is involved in several important aspects of mitochondria, including shape, size, distribution, remodeling, and maintenance of X in mammalian cells. In addition, recent advancements in molecular, cellular, electron microscopy, and confocal imaging studies revealed that Drp1 is associated with several cellular functions, including mitochondrial and peroxisomal fragmentation, phosphorylation, SUMOylation, ubiquitination, and cell death. In the last two decades, tremendous progress has been made in researching mitochondrial dynamics, in yeast, worms, and mammalian cells; and this research has provided evidence linking Drp1 to neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers in the neurodegenerative disease field are beginning to recognize the possible involvement of Drp1 in causing mitochondrial fragmentation and abnormal mitochondrial dynamics in neurodegenerative diseases. This article summarizes research findings relating Drp1 to mitochondrial fission and fusion, in yeast, worms, and mammals. Based on findings from the Reddy laboratory and others’, we propose that mutant proteins of neurodegenerative diseases, including AD, PD, HD, and ALS, interact with Drp1, activate mitochondrial fission machinery, fragment mitochondria excessively, and impair mitochondrial transport and mitochondrial dynamics, ultimately causing mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal damage.
PMCID: PMC3061980  PMID: 21145355
9.  CDK5-dependent inhibitory phosphorylation of Drp1 during neuronal maturation 
Mitochondrial functions are essential for the survival and function of neurons. Recently, it has been demonstrated that mitochondrial functions are highly associated with mitochondrial morphology, which is dynamically changed by the balance between fusion and fission. Mitochondrial morphology is primarily controlled by the activation of dynamin-related proteins including dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), which promotes mitochondrial fission. Drp1 activity is regulated by several post-translational modifications, thereby modifying mitochondrial morphology. Here, we found that phosphorylation of Drp1 at serine 616 (S616) is mediated by cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) in post-mitotic rat neurons. Perturbation of CDK5 activity modified the level of Drp1S616 phosphorylation and mitochondrial morphology in neurons. In addition, phosphorylated Drp1S616 preferentially localized as a cytosolic monomer compared with total Drp1. Furthermore, roscovitine, a chemical inhibitor of CDKs, increased oligomerization and mitochondrial translocation of Drp1, suggesting that CDK5-dependent phosphorylation of Drp1 serves to reduce Drp1's fission-promoting activity. Taken together, we propose that CDK5 has a significant role in the regulation of mitochondrial morphology via inhibitory phosphorylation of Drp1S616 in post-mitotic neurons.
PMCID: PMC4119210  PMID: 25012575
CDK5; Drp1; fission; mitochondria; neuron; phosphorylation
10.  Regulation of mitochondrial morphology by APC/CCdh1-mediated control of Drp1 stability 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(8):1207-1216.
Mitochondria form an interconnected network that undergoes dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1)-dependent fission during mitosis. We demonstrate that changes in mitochondrial dynamics as cells exit mitosis are driven through ubiquitylation of Drp1 by the (anaphase- promoting complex/cyclosome and its coactivator Cdh1) APC/CCdh1 complex. Inhibition Drp1 degradation prevents the normal regrowth of mitochondrial networks during G1 phase.
Homeostatic maintenance of cellular mitochondria requires a dynamic balance between fission and fusion, and controlled changes in morphology are important for processes such as apoptosis and cellular division. Interphase mitochondria have been described as an interconnected network that fragments as cells enter mitosis, and this mitotic mitochondrial fragmentation is known to be regulated by the dynamin-related GTPase Drp1 (dynamin-related protein 1), a key component of the mitochondrial division machinery. Loss of Drp1 function and the subsequent failure of mitochondrial division during mitosis lead to incomplete cytokinesis and the unequal distribution of mitochondria into daughter cells. During mitotic exit and interphase, the mitochondrial network reforms. Here we demonstrate that changes in mitochondrial dynamics as cells exit mitosis are driven in part through ubiquitylation of Drp1, catalyzed by the APC/CCdh1 (anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome and its coactivator Cdh1) E3 ubiquitin ligase complex. Importantly, inhibition of Cdh1-mediated Drp1 ubiquitylation and proteasomal degradation during interphase prevents the normal G1 phase regrowth of mitochondrial networks following cell division.
PMCID: PMC3078078  PMID: 21325626
11.  RalA and RalBP1 regulate mitochondrial fission at mitosis 
Nature cell biology  2011;13(9):1108-1115.
Mitochondria exist as dynamic interconnected networks that are maintained through a balance of fusion and fission1. Equal distribution of mitochondria to daughter cells during mitosis requires fission2. Mitotic mitochondrial fission depends upon both the relocalization of large GTPase Drp1 to the outer mitochondrial membrane and phosphorylation of S616 on Drp1 by the mitotic kinase cyclin B/Cdk12. We now report that these processes are mediated by the small Ras-like GTPase RalA and its effector RalBP1 (RLIP76/RLIP1/RIP1)3,4. Specifically, the mitotic kinase Aurora A phosphorylates S194 of RalA, relocalizing it to the mitochondria, where it concentrates RalBP1 and Drp1. Furthermore, RalBP1 associates with cyclin B/Cdk1 kinase activity to foster phosphorylation of Drp1 on S616. Disrupting either RalA or RalBP1 leads to a loss of mitochondrial fission at mitosis, improper segregation of mitochondria during cytokinesis and a decrease in ATP levels and cell number. Thus, the two mitotic kinases Aurora A and cyclin B/Cdk1 converge upon RalA and RalBP1 to promote mitochondrial fission, the appropriate distribution of mitochondria to daughter cells and ultimately proper mitochondrial function.
PMCID: PMC3167028  PMID: 21822277
12.  TRAP1 Controls Mitochondrial Fusion/Fission Balance through Drp1 and Mff Expression 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51912.
Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that change in response to extracellular stimuli. These changes are essential for normal mitochondrial/cellular function and are controlled by a tight balance between two antagonistic pathways that promote fusion and fission. Although some molecules have been identified to mediate the mitochondrial fusion and fission process, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated protein 1 (TRAP1) is a mitochondrial molecule that regulates a variety of mitochondrial functions. Here, we examined the role of TRAP1 in the regulation of morphology. Stable TRAP1 knockdown cells showed abnormal mitochondrial morphology, and we observed significant decreases in dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) and mitochondrial fission factor (Mff), mitochondrial fission proteins. Similar results were obtained by transient knockdown of TRAP1 in two different cell lines, SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and KNS-42 glioma cells. However, TRAP1 knockdown did not affect expression levels of fusion proteins. The reduction in Drp1 and Mff protein levels was rescued following treatment with the proteasome inhibitor MG132. These results suggest that TRAP1 regulates the expression of fission proteins and controls mitochondrial fusion/fission, which affects mitochondrial/cellular function.
PMCID: PMC3527369  PMID: 23284813
13.  Mff is an essential factor for mitochondrial recruitment of Drp1 during mitochondrial fission in mammalian cells 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;191(6):1141-1158.
Localization of the dynamin-related GTPase Drp1 to mitochondria relies on the mitochondrial fission factor Mff.
The cytoplasmic dynamin-related guanosine triphosphatase Drp1 is recruited to mitochondria and mediates mitochondrial fission. Although the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) protein Fis1 is thought to be a Drp1 receptor, this has not been confirmed. To analyze the mechanism of Drp1 recruitment, we manipulated the expression of mitochondrial fission and fusion proteins and demonstrated that (a) mitochondrial fission factor (Mff) knockdown released the Drp1 foci from the MOM accompanied by network extension, whereas Mff overexpression stimulated mitochondrial recruitment of Drp1 accompanied by mitochondrial fission; (b) Mff-dependent mitochondrial fission proceeded independent of Fis1; (c) a Mff mutant with the plasma membrane–targeted CAAX motif directed Drp1 to the target membrane; (d) Mff and Drp1 physically interacted in vitro and in vivo; (e) exogenous stimuli–induced mitochondrial fission and apoptosis were compromised by knockdown of Drp1 and Mff but not Fis1; and (f) conditional knockout of Fis1 in colon carcinoma cells revealed that it is dispensable for mitochondrial fission. Thus, Mff functions as an essential factor in mitochondrial recruitment of Drp1.
PMCID: PMC3002033  PMID: 21149567
14.  Cyclin-dependent kinases regulate splice-specific targeting of dynamin-related protein 1 to microtubules 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;201(7):1037-1051.
The splice isoform Drp1-x01 promotes mitochondrial fission and is regulated by Cdk phosphorylation-dependent changes in microtubule association.
Fission and fusion reactions determine mitochondrial morphology and function. Dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) is a guanosine triphosphate–hydrolyzing mechanoenzyme important for mitochondrial fission and programmed cell death. Drp1 is subject to alternative splicing of three exons with previously unknown functional significance. Here, we report that splice variants including the third but excluding the second alternative exon (x01) localized to and copurified with microtubule bundles as dynamic polymers that resemble fission complexes on mitochondria. A major isoform in immune cells, Drp1-x01 required oligomeric assembly and Arg residues in alternative exon 3 for microtubule targeting. Drp1-x01 stabilized and bundled microtubules and attenuated staurosporine-induced mitochondrial fragmentation and apoptosis. Phosphorylation of a conserved Ser residue adjacent to the microtubule-binding exon released Drp1-x01 from microtubules and promoted mitochondrial fragmentation in a splice form–specific manner. Phosphorylation by Cdk1 contributed to dissociation of Drp1-x01 from mitotic microtubules, whereas Cdk5-mediated phosphorylation modulated Drp1-x01 targeting to interphase microtubules. Thus, alternative splicing generates a latent, cytoskeletal pool of Drp1 that is selectively mobilized by cyclin-dependent kinase signaling.
PMCID: PMC3691453  PMID: 23798729
15.  Loss of Yme1L perturbates mitochondrial dynamics 
Cell Death & Disease  2013;4(10):e896-.
Yme1L is an AAA protease that is embedded in the mitochondrial inner membrane with its catalytic domain facing the mitochondrial inner-membrane space. However, how Yme1L regulates mammalian mitochondrial function is still obscure. We find that endogenous Yme1L locates at punctate structures of mitochondria, and that loss of Yme1L in mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells results in mitochondrial fragmentation and leads to significant increased ‘kiss-and-run' type of mitochondrial fusion; however, Yme1L knockdown (shYme1L (short hairpin-mediated RNA interference of Yme1L)) cells still remain normal mitochondrial fusion although shYme1L mitochondria have a little bit less fusion and fission rates, and the shYme1L-induced fragmentation is due to a little bit more mitochondrial fission than fusion in cells. Furthermore, shYme1L-induced mitochondrial fragmentation is independent on optic atrophy 1 (OPA1) S1 or S2 processing, and shYme1L results in the stabilization of OPA1 long form (L-OPA1); in addition, the exogenous expression of OPA1 or L-OPA1 facilitates the shYme1L-induced mitochondrial fragmentation, thus this fragmentation induced by shYme1L appears to be associated with L-OPA1's stability. ShYme1L also causes a slight increase of mitochondrial dynamics proteins of 49 kDa and mitochondrial fission factor (Mff), which recruit mitochondrial key fission factor dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) into mitochondria in MEF cells, and loss of Drp1 or Mff inhibits the shYme1L-induced mitochondrial fragmentation. In addition, there is interaction between SLP-2 with Yme1L and shYme1L cells retain stress-induced mitochondrial hyperfusion. Taken together, our results clarify how Yme1L regulates mitochondrial morphology.
PMCID: PMC3920928  PMID: 24176854
Yme1L; OPA1; mitochondrial 'kiss-and-run'
16.  Deceleration of Fusion–Fission Cycles Improves Mitochondrial Quality Control during Aging 
PLoS Computational Biology  2012;8(6):e1002576.
Mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy play a key role in ensuring mitochondrial quality control. Impairment thereof was proposed to be causative to neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Accumulation of mitochondrial dysfunction was further linked to aging. Here we applied a probabilistic modeling approach integrating our current knowledge on mitochondrial biology allowing us to simulate mitochondrial function and quality control during aging in silico. We demonstrate that cycles of fusion and fission and mitophagy indeed are essential for ensuring a high average quality of mitochondria, even under conditions in which random molecular damage is present. Prompted by earlier observations that mitochondrial fission itself can cause a partial drop in mitochondrial membrane potential, we tested the consequences of mitochondrial dynamics being harmful on its own. Next to directly impairing mitochondrial function, pre-existing molecular damage may be propagated and enhanced across the mitochondrial population by content mixing. In this situation, such an infection-like phenomenon impairs mitochondrial quality control progressively. However, when imposing an age-dependent deceleration of cycles of fusion and fission, we observe a delay in the loss of average quality of mitochondria. This provides a rational why fusion and fission rates are reduced during aging and why loss of a mitochondrial fission factor can extend life span in fungi. We propose the ‘mitochondrial infectious damage adaptation’ (MIDA) model according to which a deceleration of fusion–fission cycles reflects a systemic adaptation increasing life span.
Author Summary
Mitochondria are organelles that play a central role as ‘cellular power plants’. The cellular organization of these organelles involves a dynamic spatial network where mitochondria constantly undergo fusion and fission associated with the mixing of their molecular content. Together with the processes of mitophagy and biogenesis of mitochondrial mass, this results into a cellular surveillance system for maintaining their bioenergetic quality. The accumulation of molecular damage in mitochondria is associated with various human disorders and with aging. However, how these processes affect aging and how they can be reconciled with existing aging theories is just at the beginning to be considered. Mathematical modeling allows simulating the dynamics of mitochondrial quality control during aging in silico and leads to the ‘mitochondrial infectious damage adaptation’ (MIDA) model of aging. It reconciles a number of counterintuitive observations obtained during the last decade including infection-like processes of molecular damage spread, the reduction of fusion and fission rates during cellular aging, and observed life span extension for reduced mitochondrial fission. Interestingly, the MIDA model suggests that a reduction in mitochondrial dynamics rather than being merely a sign or even cause of aging, may actually reflect a systemic adaptation to prolong organismic life span.
PMCID: PMC3386171  PMID: 22761564
17.  Glucocorticoid Modulation of Mitochondrial Function in Hepatoma Cells Requires the Mitochondrial Fission Protein Drp1 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;19(4):366-378.
Aims: Glucocorticoids, such as dexamethasone, enhance hepatic energy metabolism and gluconeogenesis partly through changes in mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial function is influenced by the balance between mitochondrial fusion and fission events. However, whether glucocorticoids modulate mitochondrial function through the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics is currently unknown. Results: Here, we report that the effects of dexamethasone on mitochondrial function and gluconeogenesis in hepatoma cells are dependent on the mitochondrial fission protein dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1). Dexamethasone increased routine oxygen consumption, maximal respiratory capacity, superoxide anion, proton leak, and gluconeogenesis in hepatoma cells. Under these conditions, dexamethasone altered mitochondrial morphology, which was paralleled by a large increase in Drp1 expression, and reduced mitofusin 1 (Mfn1) and Mfn2. In vivo dexamethasone treatment also enhanced Drp1 expression in mouse liver. On the basis of these observations, we analyzed the dependence on the Drp1 function of dexamethasone effects on mitochondrial respiration and gluconeogenesis. We show that the increase in mitochondrial respiration and gluconeogenesis induced by dexamethasone are hampered by the inhibition of Drp1 function. Innovation: Our findings provide the first evidence that the effects of glucocorticoids on hepatic metabolism require the mitochondrial fission protein Drp1. Conclusion: In summary, we demonstrate that the mitochondrial effects of dexamethasone both on mitochondrial respiration and on the gluconeogenic pathway depend on Drp1. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 19, 366–378.
PMCID: PMC3700019  PMID: 22703557
18.  Mitochondrial Networking Protects β-Cells From Nutrient-Induced Apoptosis 
Diabetes  2009;58(10):2303-2315.
Previous studies have reported that β-cell mitochondria exist as discrete organelles that exhibit heterogeneous bioenergetic capacity. To date, networking activity, and its role in mediating β-cell mitochondrial morphology and function, remains unclear. In this article, we investigate β-cell mitochondrial fusion and fission in detail and report alterations in response to various combinations of nutrients.
Using matrix-targeted photoactivatable green fluorescent protein, mitochondria were tagged and tracked in β-cells within intact islets, as isolated cells and as cell lines, revealing frequent fusion and fission events. Manipulations of key mitochondrial dynamics proteins OPA1, DRP1, and Fis1 were tested for their role in β-cell mitochondrial morphology. The combined effects of free fatty acid and glucose on β-cell survival, function, and mitochondrial morphology were explored with relation to alterations in fusion and fission capacity.
β-Cell mitochondria are constantly involved in fusion and fission activity that underlies the overall morphology of the organelle. We find that networking activity among mitochondria is capable of distributing a localized green fluorescent protein signal throughout an isolated β-cell, a β-cell within an islet, and an INS1 cell. Under noxious conditions, we find that β-cell mitochondria become fragmented and lose their ability to undergo fusion. Interestingly, manipulations that shift the dynamic balance to favor fusion are able to prevent mitochondrial fragmentation, maintain mitochondrial dynamics, and prevent apoptosis.
These data suggest that alterations in mitochondrial fusion and fission play a critical role in nutrient-induced β-cell apoptosis and may be involved in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2750232  PMID: 19581419
19.  Discovery of the membrane receptor for mitochondrial fission GTPase Drp1 
Small GTPases  2011;2(3):167-172.
Mitochondria frequently change their morphology by fusion and fission, and these dynamic morphologic changes are essential for maintaining both mitochondrial and cellular functions. The cytoplasmic dynamin-related guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) Drp1 (Dnm1 in yeast) is recruited to mitochondrial fission sites and severs mitochondria. Although the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM) protein Fis1 functions as a membrane receptor for Dnm1 in yeast, it is not yet known whether the human homolog of yeast Fis1 (hFis1) is a membrane receptor for Drp1 in mammals. We recently identified the C-tail anchored MOM protein Mff as the bona fide receptor essential for recruiting Drp1 to mitochondrial fission sites. Here, we focus on this key molecule for mitochondrial fission after a brief description of the proteins involved in mitochondrial fission and fusion reactions. Finally, we discuss the expected role of hFis1 for regulating the mitochondrial dynamics in mammals.
PMCID: PMC3136948  PMID: 21776419
GTPase; Drp1; Mff; Fis1; mitochondrial fission
20.  S-Nitrosylation of Drp1 Mediates β-Amyloid–Related Mitochondrial Fission and Neuronal Injury 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2009;324(5923):102.
Mitochondria continuously undergo two opposing processes, fission and fusion. The disruption of this dynamic equilibrium may herald cell injury or death and may contribute to developmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Nitric oxide functions as a signaling molecule, but in excess it mediates neuronal injury, in part via mitochondrial fission or fragmentation. However, the underlying mechanism for nitric oxide–induced pathological fission remains unclear. We found that nitric oxide produced in response to β-amyloid protein, thought to be a key mediator of Alzheimer’s disease, triggered mitochondrial fission, synaptic loss, and neuronal damage, in part via S-nitrosylation of dynamin-related protein 1 (forming SNO-Drp1). Preventing nitrosylation of Drp1 by cysteine mutation abrogated these neurotoxic events. SNO-Drp1 is increased in brains of human Alzheimer’s disease patients and may thus contribute to the pathogenesis of neurodegeneration.
PMCID: PMC2823371  PMID: 19342591
21.  The Mitochondrial Protein hFis1 Regulates Mitochondrial Fission in Mammalian Cells through an Interaction with the Dynamin-Like Protein DLP1 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2003;23(15):5409-5420.
The yeast protein Fis1p has been shown to participate in mitochondrial fission mediated by the dynamin-related protein Dnm1p. In mammalian cells, the dynamin-like protein DLP1/Drp1 functions as a mitochondrial fission protein, but the mechanisms by which DLP1/Drp1 and the mitochondrial membrane interact during the fission process are undefined. In this study, we have tested the role of a mammalian homologue of Fis1p, hFis1, and provided new and mechanistic information about the control of mitochondrial fission in mammalian cells. Through differential tagging and deletion experiments, we demonstrate that the intact C-terminal structure of hFis1 is essential for mitochondrial localization, whereas the N-terminal region of hFis1 is necessary for mitochondrial fission. Remarkably, an increased level of cellular hFis1 strongly promotes mitochondrial fission, resulting in an accumulation of fragmented mitochondria. Conversely, cell microinjection of hFis1 antibodies or treatment with hFis1 antisense oligonucleotides induces an elongated and collapsed mitochondrial morphology. Further, fluorescence resonance energy transfer and coimmunoprecipitation studies demonstrate that hFis1 interacts with DLP1. These results suggest that hFis1 participates in mitochondrial fission through an interaction that recruits DLP1 from the cytosol. We propose that hFis1 is a limiting factor in mitochondrial fission and that the number of hFis1 molecules on the mitochondrial surface determines fission frequency.
PMCID: PMC165727  PMID: 12861026
22.  Defects in Mitochondrial Fission Protein Dynamin-Related Protein 1 Are Linked to Apoptotic Resistance and Autophagy in a Lung Cancer Model 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45319.
Evasion of apoptosis is implicated in almost all aspects of cancer progression, as well as treatment resistance. In this study, resistance to apoptosis was identified in tumorigenic lung epithelial (A549) cells as a consequence of defects in mitochondrial and autophagic function. Mitochondrial function is determined in part by mitochondrial morphology, a process regulated by mitochondrial dynamics whereby the joining of two mitochondria, fusion, inhibits apoptosis while fission, the division of a mitochondrion, initiates apoptosis. Mitochondrial morphology of A549 cells displayed an elongated phenotype–mimicking cells deficient in mitochondrial fission protein, Dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1). A549 cells had impaired Drp1 mitochondrial recruitment and decreased Drp1-dependent fission. Cytochrome c release and caspase-3 and PARP cleavage were impaired both basally and with apoptotic stimuli in A549 cells. Increased mitochondrial mass was observed in A549 cells, suggesting defects in mitophagy (mitochondrial selective autophagy). A549 cells had decreased LC3-II lipidation and lysosomal inhibition suggesting defects in autophagy occur upstream of lysosomal degradation. Immunostaining indicated mitochondrial localized LC3 punctae in A549 cells increased after mitochondrial uncoupling or with a combination of mitochondrial depolarization and ectopic Drp1 expression. Increased inhibition of apoptosis in A549 cells is correlated with impeded mitochondrial fission and mitophagy. We suggest mitochondrial fission defects contribute to apoptotic resistance in A549 cells.
PMCID: PMC3447926  PMID: 23028930
23.  Structural and functional analysis of MiD51, a dynamin receptor required for mitochondrial fission 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2014;204(4):477-486.
Structure–function analyses driven by a crystal structure of the cytosolic domain of the Drp1 receptor MiD51 reveals a nucleotidyltransferase fold and nucleotide binding activity that is independent of its Drp1 binding activity.
Mitochondrial fission is important for organelle transport, inheritance, and turnover, and alterations in fission are seen in neurological disease. In mammals, mitochondrial fission is executed by dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), a cytosolic guanosine triphosphatase that polymerizes and constricts the organelle. Recruitment of Drp1 to mitochondria involves receptors including Mff, MiD49, and MiD51. MiD49/51 form foci at mitochondrial constriction sites and coassemble with Drp1 to drive fission. Here, we solved the crystal structure of the cytosolic domain of human MiD51, which adopts a nucleotidyltransferase fold. Although MiD51 lacks catalytic residues for transferase activity, it specifically binds guanosine diphosphate and adenosine diphosphate. MiD51 mutants unable to bind nucleotides were still able to recruit Drp1. Disruption of an additional region in MiD51 that is not part of the nucleotidyltransferase fold blocked Drp1 recruitment and assembly of MiD51 into foci. MiD51 foci are also dependent on the presence of Drp1, and after scission they are distributed to daughter organelles, supporting the involvement of MiD51 in the fission apparatus.
PMCID: PMC3926961  PMID: 24515348
24.  PKA/AKAP1 and PP2A/Bβ2 Regulate Neuronal Morphogenesis via Drp1 Phosphorylation and Mitochondrial Bioenergetics 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2011;31(44):15716-15726.
Mitochondrial shape is determined by fission and fusion reactions, perturbation of which can contribute to neuronal injury and disease. Mitochondrial fission is catalyzed by dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), a large GTPase of the dynamin family that is highly expressed in neurons and regulated by various posttranslational modifications, including phosphorylation. We report here that reversible phosphorylation of Drp1 at a conserved Ser residue by an outer mitochondrial kinase (PKA/AKAP1) and phosphatase (PP2A/Bβ2) impacts dendrite and synapse development in cultured rat hippocampal neurons. PKA/AKAP1-mediated phosphorylation of Drp1 at Ser656 increased mitochondrial length and dendrite occupancy, enhancing dendritic outgrowth but paradoxically decreasing synapse number and density. Opposing PKA/AKAP1, PP2A/Bβ2-mediated dephosphorylation of Drp1 at Ser656 fragmented and depolarized mitochondria and depleted them from dendrites, stunting dendritic outgrowth but augmenting synapse formation. Raising and lowering intracellular calcium reproduced the effects of dephospho-Drp1 and phospho-Drp1on dendrite and synapse development, respectively, while boosting mitochondrial membrane potential with l-carnitine-fostered dendrite at the expense of synapse formation without altering mitochondrial size or distribution. Thus, outer mitochondrial PKA and PP2A regulate neuronal development by inhibiting and promoting mitochondrial division, respectively. We propose that the bioenergetic state of mitochondria, rather than their localization or shape per se, is the key effector of Drp1, altering calcium homeostasis to modulate neuronal morphology and connectivity.
PMCID: PMC3328351  PMID: 22049414
25.  Novel Role of Androgens in Mitochondrial Fission and Apoptosis 
Molecular Cancer Research  2011;9(8):1067-1077.
Androgen and androgen receptors (AR) play critical roles in the proliferation of prostate cancer through transcriptional regulation of target genes. Here, we found that androgens upregulated the expression of dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), which is involved in the induction of mitochondrial fission (MF), a common event in mitosis and apoptosis. Clinical tissue samples and various prostate cancer cell lines revealed a positive correlation between Drp1 and AR levels. Treatment of androgen-sensitive cells with an AR agonist, R1881, and antagonist, bicalutamide, showed that Drp1 is transcriptionally regulated by androgens, as confirmed by an AR ChIP-seq assay. Live imaging experiments using pAcGFP1-Mito stably transfected LNCaP (mito-green) cells revealed that androgen did not induce significant MF by itself, although Drp1 was upregulated. However, when treated with CGP37157 (CGP), an inhibitor of mitochondrial Ca2+ efflux, these cells exhibited MF, which was further enhanced by pre-treatment with R1881, suggesting that androgen-induced Drp1 facilitated CGP-induced MF. This enhanced MF was correlated with increased apoptosis. Transfection with DN-Drp1 (K38A) rescued cells from increased apoptosis, confirming the role of androgen-induced Drp1 in the observed apoptosis with combination treatment. Further, we found that CGP reduced the expression of Mfn1, a protein that promotes mitochondrial fusion, a process which opposes fission. We suggest that androgen-increased Drp1 enhanced MF leading to apoptosis. The present study demonstrates a novel role for androgens in the regulation of mitochondrial morphology that could potentially be utilized in prostate cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC3290867  PMID: 21724752
androgen; prostate cancer; mitochondria; fission; Drp1; apoptosis; DNML1

Results 1-25 (660885)