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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 Mar 15;22(6):831-41. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-07-0600. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

A novel mitochondrial outer membrane protein, MOMA-1, that affects cristae morphology in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Three proteins with similar effects on mitochondrial morphology were identified in an RNA interference (RNAi) screen for mitochondrial abnormalities in Caenorhabditis elegans. One of these is the novel mitochondrial outer membrane protein MOMA-1. The second is the CHCHD3 homologue, CHCH-3, a small intermembrane space protein that may act as a chaperone. The third is a mitofilin homologue, IMMT-1. Mitofilins are inner membrane proteins that control the shapes of cristae. RNAi or mutations in each of these genes change the relatively constant diameters of mitochondria into highly variable diameters, ranging from thin tubes to localized swellings. Neither growth nor brood size of the moma-1, chch-3, or immt-1 single mutants is affected, suggesting that their metabolic functions are normal. However, growth of moma-1 or immt-1 mutants on chch-3(RNAi) leads to withered gonads, a lack of mitochondrial staining, and a dramatic reduction in fecundity, while moma-1; immt-1 double mutants are indistinguishable from single mutants. Mutations in moma-1 and immt-1 also have similar effects on cristae morphology. We conclude that MOMA-1 and IMMT-1 act in the same pathway. It is likely that the observed effects on mitochondrial diameter are an indirect effect of disrupting cristae morphology.

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