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Mitophagy is not induced by mitochondrial damage but plays a role in the regulation of cellular autophagic activity

Ingrid Bhatia-Kiššová, Nadine Camougrand
Autophagy 2013 November 1, 9 (11): 1897-9
24149061
It was postulated that mitophagy removes damaged mitochondria, which is critical for proper cellular homeostasis; dysfunctional mitochondria can generate excess reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can further damage the organelle as well as other cellular components. Although proper cell physiology requires the maintenance of a healthy pool of mitochondria, little is known about the mechanism underlying the recognition and selection of damaged organelles. We investigated the cellular fate of mitochondria damaged by the action of oxidative phosphorylation inhibitors (antimycin A, myxothiazol, KCN, oligomycin, CCCP). Only antimycin A and KCN effectively induce nonspecific autophagy, but not mitophagy, in a wild-type strain; however, low or no autophagic activity was measured in strains deficient in genes, including ATG32, ATG11 and BCK1, encoding proteins that are involved in mitophagy. These results provide evidence for a major role of specific mitophagy factors in the control of a general autophagic cellular response induced by mitochondrial alteration. Moreover, significant reduction of cytochrome b, one of the components of the respiratory chain, could be the first signal of this induction pathway.

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