Roles for the lipid-signaling enzyme MitoPLD in mitochondrial dynamics, piRNA biogenesis, and spermatogenesis

BMB Rep. 2012 Jan;45(1):7-13. doi: 10.5483/bmbrep.2012.45.1.7.


Phospholipase D (PLD), a superfamily of signaling enzymes that most commonly generate the lipid second messenger Phosphatidic Acid (PA), is found in diverse organisms from bacteria to man and functions in multiple cellular pathways. A fascinating member of the family, MitoPLD, is anchored to the mitochondrial surface and has two reported roles. In the first role, MitoPLD-generated PA regulates mitochondrial shape through facilitating mitochondrial fusion. In the second role, MitoPLD performs a critical function in a pathway that creates a specialized form of RNAi required by developing spermatocytes to suppress transposon mobilization during meiosis. This spermatocyte-specific RNAi, known as piRNA, is generated in the nuage, an electron-dense accumulation of RNA templates and processing proteins that localize adjacent to mitochondria in a structure also called intermitochondrial cement. In this review, we summarize recent findings on these roles for MitoPLD functions, highlighting directions that need to be pursued to define the underlying mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Phospholipase D / metabolism*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics*


  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Phospholipase D