Mitochondrial morphology is dynamically regulated by fusion and fission. Several GTPase proteins control fusion and fission, and posttranslational modifications of these proteins are important for the regulation. However, it has not been clarified how the fusion and fission is balanced. Here, we report the molecular mechanism to regulate mitochondrial morphology in mammalian cells. Ablation of the mitochondrial fission, by repression of Drp1 or Mff, or by over-expression of MiD49 or MiD51, results in a reduction in the fusion GTPase mitofusins (Mfn1 and Mfn2) in outer membrane and long form of OPA1 (L-OPA1) in inner membrane. RNAi- or CRISPR-induced ablation of Drp1 in HeLa cells enhanced the degradation of Mfns via the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). We further found that UPS-related protein BAT3/BAG6, here we identified as Mfn2-interacting protein, was implicated in the turnover of Mfns in the absence of mitochondrial fission. Ablation of the mitochondrial fission also enhanced the proteolytic cleavage of L-OPA1 to soluble S-OPA1, and the OPA1 processing was reversed by inhibition of the inner membrane protease OMA1 independent on the mitochondrial membrane potential. Our findings showed that the distinct degradation systems of the mitochondrial fusion proteins in different locations are enhanced in response to the mitochondrial morphology.
© 2016 Molecular Biology Society of Japan and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.