Mmf1p Couples Amino Acid Metabolism to Mitochondrial DNA Maintenance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

mBio. 2018 Feb 27;9(1):e00084-18. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00084-18.


A variety of metabolic deficiencies and human diseases arise from the disruption of mitochondrial enzymes and/or loss of mitochondrial DNA. Mounting evidence shows that eukaryotes have conserved enzymes that prevent the accumulation of reactive metabolites that cause stress inside the mitochondrion. 2-Aminoacrylate is a reactive enamine generated by pyridoxal 5'-phosphate-dependent α,β-eliminases as an obligatory intermediate in the breakdown of serine. In prokaryotes, members of the broadly conserved RidA family (PF14588) prevent metabolic stress by deaminating 2-aminoacrylate to pyruvate. Here, we demonstrate that unmanaged 2-aminoacrylate accumulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondria causes transient metabolic stress and the irreversible loss of mitochondrial DNA. The RidA family protein Mmf1p deaminates 2-aminoacrylate, preempting metabolic stress and loss of the mitochondrial genome. Disruption of the mitochondrial pyridoxal 5'-phosphate-dependent serine dehydratases (Ilv1p and Cha1p) prevents 2-aminoacrylate formation, avoiding stress in the absence of Mmf1p. Furthermore, chelation of iron in the growth medium improves maintenance of the mitochondrial genome in yeast challenged with 2-aminoacrylate, suggesting that 2-aminoacrylate-dependent loss of mitochondrial DNA is influenced by disruption of iron homeostasis. Taken together, the data indicate that Mmf1p indirectly contributes to mitochondrial DNA maintenance by preventing 2-aminoacrylate stress derived from mitochondrial amino acid metabolism.IMPORTANCE Deleterious reactive metabolites are produced as a consequence of many intracellular biochemical transformations. Importantly, reactive metabolites that appear short-lived in vitro have the potential to persist within intracellular environments, leading to pervasive cell damage and diminished fitness. To overcome metabolite damage, organisms utilize enzymatic reactive-metabolite defense systems to rid the cell of deleterious metabolites. In this report, we describe the importance of the RidA/YER057c/UK114 enamine/imine deaminase family in preventing 2-aminoacrylate stress in yeast. Saccharomyces cerevisiae lacking the enamine/imine deaminase Mmf1p was shown to experience pleiotropic growth defects and fails to maintain its mitochondrial genome. Our results provide the first line of evidence that uncontrolled 2-aminoacrylate stress derived from mitochondrial serine metabolism can negatively impact mitochondrial DNA maintenance in eukaryotes.

Keywords: 2-aminoacrylate; RidA; enamine deaminase; metabolite stress; mitochondrial genome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / metabolism*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*


  • Amino Acids
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Mmf1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins