GDAP1, the protein causing Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 4A, is expressed in neurons and is associated with mitochondria

Hum Mol Genet. 2005 Apr 15;14(8):1087-94. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddi121. Epub 2005 Mar 16.


Mutations in GDAP1, the ganglioside-induced differentiation-associated protein 1 gene, cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) type 4A, a severe autosomal recessive form of neuropathy associated with either demyelinating or axonal phenotypes. Here, we demonstrate that GDAP1 has far greater expression in neurons than in myelinating Schwann cells. We investigated cell localization of GDAP1 in a human neuroblastoma cell line by means of transient overexpression and co-localization with organelle markers in COS-7 cells and by western blot analysis of subcell fractions with anti-GDAP1 polyclonal antibodies. We observed that GDAP1 is localized in mitochondria. We also show that C-terminal transmembrane domains are necessary for the correct localization in mitochondria; however, missense mutations do not change the mitochondrial pattern of the wild-type protein. Our findings suggest that CMT4A disease is in fact a mitochondrial neuropathy mainly involving axons and represents a disease belonging to the new category of mitochondrial disorders caused by mutations in nuclear genes. We postulate that GDAP1 may be related to the maintenance of the mitochondrial network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / genetics
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease / metabolism
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mutation, Missense
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • GDAP protein
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Glutathione