Mitochondrial Dynamics Regulation in Skin Fibroblasts from Mitochondrial Disease Patients

Biomolecules. 2020 Mar 13;10(3):0. doi: 10.3390/biom10030450.


Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that constantly fuse, divide, and move, and their function is regulated and maintained by their morphologic changes. Mitochondrial disease (MD) comprises a group of disorders involving mitochondrial dysfunction. However, it is not clear whether changes in mitochondrial morphology are related to MD. In this study, we examined mitochondrial morphology in fibroblasts from patients with MD (mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) and Leigh syndrome). We observed that MD fibroblasts exhibited significant mitochondrial fragmentation by upregulation of Drp1, which is responsible for mitochondrial fission. Interestingly, the inhibition of mitochondrial fragmentation by Drp1 knockdown enhanced cellular toxicity and led to cell death in MD fibroblasts. These results suggest that mitochondrial fission plays a critical role in the attenuation of mitochondrial damage in MD fibroblasts.

Keywords: Drp1; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrial fragmentation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Death
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dynamins / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Humans
  • Leigh Disease / metabolism*
  • Leigh Disease / pathology
  • MELAS Syndrome / metabolism*
  • MELAS Syndrome / pathology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria / pathology
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin / pathology


  • DNM1L protein, human
  • Dynamins