Mitochondrial long non-coding RNA GAS5 tunes TCA metabolism in response to nutrient stress

Nat Metab. 2021 Jan;3(1):90-106. doi: 10.1038/s42255-020-00325-z. Epub 2021 Jan 4.


Organelles use specialized molecules to regulate their essential cellular processes. However, systematically elucidating the subcellular distribution and function of molecules such as long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in cellular homeostasis and diseases has not been fully achieved. Here, we reveal the diverse and abundant subcellular distribution of organelle-associated lncRNAs from mitochondria, lysosomes and endoplasmic reticulum. Among them, we identify the mitochondrially localized lncRNA growth-arrest-specific 5 (GAS5) as a tumour suppressor in maintaining cellular energy homeostasis. Mechanistically, energy-stress-induced GAS5 modulates mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid flux by disrupting metabolic enzyme tandem association of fumarate hydratase, malate dehydrogenase and citrate synthase, the canonical members of the tricarboxylic acid cycle. GAS5 negatively correlates with levels of its associated mitochondrial metabolic enzymes in tumours and benefits overall survival in individuals with breast cancer. Together, our detailed annotation of subcellular lncRNA distribution identifies a functional role for lncRNAs in regulating cellular metabolic homeostasis, highlighting organelle-associated lncRNAs as potential clinical targets to manipulate cellular metabolism and diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Citric Acid Cycle / physiology*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Female
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Nutrients
  • Organelles / metabolism
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*
  • RNA, Neoplasm / genetics


  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA, Neoplasm

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.13176239.v1