Steric interference from intrinsically disordered regions controls dynamin-related protein 1 self-assembly during mitochondrial fission

Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 18;8(1):10879. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-29001-9.


The self-assembling, mechanoenzymatic dynamin superfamily GTPase, dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), catalyzes mitochondrial and peroxisomal fission. Distinct intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) in Drp1 substitute for the canonical pleckstrin homology (PH) domain and proline-rich domain (PRD) of prototypical dynamin, which cooperatively regulate endocytic vesicle scission. Whether the Drp1 IDRs function analogously to the corresponding dynamin domains however remains unknown. We show that an IDR unique to the Drp1 GTPase (G) domain, the 'extended 80-loop', albeit dissimilar in location, structure, and mechanism, functions akin to the dynamin PRD by enabling stable Drp1 mitochondrial recruitment and by suppressing Drp1 cooperative GTPase activity in the absence of specific partner-protein interactions. Correspondingly, we find that another IDR, the Drp1 variable domain (VD), in conjunction with the conserved stalk L1N loop, functions akin to the dynamin PH domain; first, in an 'auto-inhibitory' capacity that restricts Drp1 activity through a long-range steric inhibition of helical inter-rung G-domain dimerization, and second, as a 'fulcrum' for Drp1 self-assembly in the proper helical register. We show that the Drp1 VD is necessary and sufficient for specific Drp1-phospholipid interactions. We further demonstrate that the membrane-dependent VD conformational rearrangement essential for the alleviation of Drp1 auto-inhibition is contingent upon the basal GTP hydrolysis-dependent generation of Drp1 dimers from oligomers in solution. IDRs thus conformationally couple the enzymatic and membrane activities of Drp1 toward membrane fission.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Dynamins / chemistry*
  • Dynamins / metabolism
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / chemistry
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / metabolism*
  • Guanosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins / chemistry*
  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins / metabolism
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / chemistry*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Homology


  • Intrinsically Disordered Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Guanosine Triphosphate
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • DNM1L protein, human
  • Dynamins