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J Biol Chem. 2007 Feb 23;282(8):5670-81. Epub 2006 Nov 22.

Identification of a novel mitochondrial complex containing mitofusin 2 and stomatin-like protein 2.

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Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


A reverse genetics approach was utilized to discover new proteins that interact with the mitochondrial fusion mediator mitofusin 2 (Mfn2) and that may participate in mitochondrial fusion. In particular, in vivo formaldehyde cross-linking of whole HeLa cells and immunoprecipitation with purified Mfn2 antibodies of SDS cell lysates were used to detect an approximately 42-kDa protein. This protein was identified by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry as stomatin-like protein 2 (Stoml2), previously described as a peripheral plasma membrane protein of unknown function associated with the cytoskeleton of erythrocytes (Wang, Y., and Morrow, J. S. (2000) J. Biol. Chem. 275, 8062-8071). Immunoblot analysis with anti-Stoml2 antibodies showed that Stoml2 could be immunoprecipitated specifically with Mfn2 antibody either from formaldehyde-cross-linked and SDS-lysed cells or from cells lysed with digitonin. Subsequent immunocytochemistry and cell fractionation experiments fully supported the conclusion that Stoml2 is indeed a mitochondrial protein. Furthermore, demonstration of mitochondrial membrane potential-dependent import of Stoml2 accompanied by proteolytic processing, together with the results of sublocalization experiments, suggested that Stoml2 is associated with the inner mitochondrial membrane and faces the intermembrane space. Notably, formaldehyde cross-linking revealed a "ladder" of high molecular weight protein species, indicating the presence of high molecular weight Stoml2-Mfn2 hetero-oligomers. Knockdown of Stoml2 by the short interfering RNA approach showed a reduction of the mitochondrial membrane potential, without, however, any obvious changes in mitochondrial morphology.

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