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Nat Commun. 2012 May 8;3:814. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1829.

The Eutherian Armcx genes regulate mitochondrial trafficking in neurons and interact with Miro and Trak2.

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Developmental Neurobiology and Regeneration Lab, IRB Barcelona, Parc Cientific de Barcelona, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red sobre Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED, ISCIII), Department of Cell Biology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona E-08028, Spain.


Brain function requires neuronal activity-dependent energy consumption. Neuronal energy supply is controlled by molecular mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial dynamics, including Kinesin motors and Mitofusins, Miro1-2 and Trak2 proteins. Here we show a new protein family that localizes to the mitochondria and controls mitochondrial dynamics. This family of proteins is encoded by an array of armadillo (Arm) repeat-containing genes located on the X chromosome. The Armcx cluster is unique to Eutherian mammals and evolved from a single ancestor gene (Armc10). We show that these genes are highly expressed in the developing and adult nervous system. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Armcx3 expression levels regulate mitochondrial dynamics and trafficking in neurons, and that Alex3 interacts with the Kinesin/Miro/Trak2 complex in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. Our data provide evidence of a new Eutherian-specific family of mitochondrial proteins that controls mitochondrial dynamics and indicate that this key process is differentially regulated in the brain of higher vertebrates.

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