JOURNAL ARTICLE

The mitochondrial fusion-promoting factor mitofusin is a substrate of the PINK1/parkin pathway

Angela C Poole, Ruth E Thomas, Selina Yu, Evelyn S Vincow, Leo Pallanck
PloS One 2010 April 7, 5 (4): e10054
20383334
Loss-of-function mutations in the PINK1 or parkin genes result in recessive heritable forms of parkinsonism. Genetic studies of Drosophila orthologs of PINK1 and parkin indicate that PINK1, a mitochondrially targeted serine/threonine kinase, acts upstream of Parkin, a cytosolic ubiquitin-protein ligase, to promote mitochondrial fragmentation, although the molecular mechanisms by which the PINK1/Parkin pathway promotes mitochondrial fragmentation are unknown. We tested the hypothesis that PINK1 and Parkin promote mitochondrial fragmentation by targeting core components of the mitochondrial morphogenesis machinery for ubiquitination. We report that the steady-state abundance of the mitochondrial fusion-promoting factor Mitofusin (dMfn) is inversely correlated with the activity of PINK1 and Parkin in Drosophila. We further report that dMfn is ubiquitinated in a PINK1- and Parkin-dependent fashion and that dMfn co-immunoprecipitates with Parkin. By contrast, perturbations of PINK1 or Parkin did not influence the steady-state abundance of the mitochondrial fission-promoting factor Drp1 or the mitochondrial fusion-promoting factor Opa1, or the subcellular distribution of Drp1. Our findings suggest that dMfn is a direct substrate of the PINK1/Parkin pathway and that the mitochondrial morphological alterations and tissue degeneration phenotypes that derive from mutations in PINK1 and parkin result at least in part from reduced ubiquitin-mediated turnover of dMfn.

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