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EMBO J. 2006 Aug 9;25(15):3618-26. Epub 2006 Jul 27.

A novel mitochondrial ubiquitin ligase plays a critical role in mitochondrial dynamics.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biochemistry, School of Life Science, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science, Hachioji, Tokyo, Japan.


In this study, we have identified a novel mitochondrial ubiquitin ligase, designated MITOL, which is localized in the mitochondrial outer membrane. MITOL possesses a Plant Homeo-Domain (PHD) motif responsible for E3 ubiquitin ligase activity and predicted four-transmembrane domains. MITOL displayed a rapid degradation by autoubiquitination activity in a PHD-dependent manner. HeLa cells stably expressing a MITOL mutant lacking ubiquitin ligase activity or MITOL-deficient cells by small interfering RNA showed an aberrant mitochondrial morphology such as fragmentation, suggesting the enhancement of mitochondrial fission by MITOL dysfunction. Indeed, a dominant-negative expression of Drp1 mutant blocked mitochondrial fragmentation induced by MITOL depletion. We found that MITOL associated with and ubiquitinated mitochondrial fission protein hFis1 and Drp1. Pulse-chase experiment showed that MITOL overexpression increased turnover of these fission proteins. In addition, overexpression phenotype of hFis1 could be reverted by MITOL co-overexpression. Our finding indicates that MITOL plays a critical role in mitochondrial dynamics through the control of mitochondrial fission proteins.

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