A mitochondrion is a dynamic intracellular organelle that actively divides and fuses to control its size, number and shape in cells. A regulated balance between mitochondrial division and fusion is fundamental to the function, distribution and turnover of mitochondria (Roy et al., 2015). Mitochondrial division is mediated by dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), a mechano-chemical GTPase that constricts mitochondrial membranes (Tamura et al., 2011). Mitochondrial membrane lipids such as phosphatidic acid and cardiolipin bind Drp1, and Drp1-phospholipid interactions provide key regulatory mechanisms for mitochondrial division (Montessuit et al., 2010; Bustillo-Zabalbeitia et al., 2014; Macdonald et al., 2014; Stepanyants et al., 2015; Adachi et al., 2016). Here, we describe biochemical experiments that quantitatively measure interactions of Drp1 with lipids using purified recombinant Drp1 and synthetic liposomes with a defined set of phospholipids. This assay makes it possible to define the specificity of protein-lipid interaction and the role of the head group and acyl chains.
Keywords: Dynamin superfamily; Mitochondria; Organelle division; Phospholipids.