Selective mitochondrial autophagy during erythroid maturation

Autophagy. 2008 Oct;4(7):926-8. doi: 10.4161/auto.6716. Epub 2008 Oct 1.


Accumulating evidence suggests that autophagy can be selective in the clearance of organelles in yeast and in mammalian cells. We have observed that the sequestration of mitochondria by autophagosomes was defective in reticulocytes in the absence of Nix. Nix is required for the dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsim) during erythroid maturation. Moreover, pharmacological agents that induce the loss of DeltaPsim can restore the sequestration of mitochondria by autophagosomes and promote mitochondrial clearance in Nix(-/-) erythroid cells. Our data suggest that mitochondrial depolarization induces recognition and sequestration of mitochondria by autophagosomes. Elucidating the mechanisms underlying selective mitochondrial autophagy not only will help us to understand the mechanisms for erythroid maturation, but also may provide insights into mitochondrial quality control by autophagy in the protection against aging, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Hemolytic / genetics
  • Anemia, Hemolytic / pathology
  • Animals
  • Autophagy*
  • Erythropoiesis / genetics
  • Erythropoiesis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / physiology*
  • Reticulocytes / physiology*
  • Reticulocytes / ultrastructure


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Nix protein, mouse