The mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) can be triggered in a cell-non-autonomous fashion across multiple tissues in response to mitochondrial dysfunction. The ability to communicate information about the presence of mitochondrial stress enables a global response that can ultimately better protect an organism from local mitochondrial challenges. We find that animals use retromer-dependent Wnt signaling to propagate mitochondrial stress signals from the nervous system to peripheral tissues. Specifically, the polyQ40-triggered activation of mitochondrial stress or reduction of cco-1 (complex IV subunit) in neurons of C. elegans results in the Wnt-dependent induction of cell-non-autonomous UPRmt in peripheral cells. Loss-of-function mutations of retromer complex components that are responsible for recycling the Wnt secretion-factor/MIG-14 prevent Wnt secretion and thereby suppress cell-non-autonomous UPRmt. Neuronal expression of the Wnt ligand/EGL-20 is sufficient to induce cell-non-autonomous UPRmt in a retromer complex-, Wnt signaling-, and serotonin-dependent manner, clearly implicating Wnt signaling as a strong candidate for the "mitokine" signal.
Keywords: EGL-20; UPR(mt); VPS-35; Wnt signaling; mitochondrial unfolded protein response; mitokine; retromer complex.
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