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J Biol Chem. 2013 Jun 28;288(26):18947-60. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.466870. Epub 2013 May 7.

Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) phosphorylation by protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ) inhibits mitochondria elimination by lysosomal-like structures following ischemia and reoxygenation-induced injury.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Systems Biology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305-5174, USA.


After cardiac ischemia and reperfusion or reoxygenation (I/R), damaged mitochondria propagate tissue injury by promoting cell death. One possible mechanism to protect from I/R-induced injury is the elimination of damaged mitochondria by mitophagy. Here we identify new molecular events that lead to mitophagy using a cell culture model and whole hearts subjected to I/R. We found that I/R induces glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) association with mitochondria and promotes direct uptake of damaged mitochondria into multiorganellar lysosomal-like (LL) structures for elimination independently of the macroautophagy pathway. We also found that protein kinase C δ (PKCδ) inhibits GAPDH-driven mitophagy by phosphorylating the mitochondrially associated GAPDH at threonine 246 following I/R. Phosphorylated GAPDH promotes the accumulation of mitochondria at the periphery of LL structures, which coincides with increased mitochondrial permeability. Either inhibition of PKCδ or expression of a phosphorylation-defective GAPDH mutant during I/R promotes a reduction in mitochondrial mass and apoptosis, thus indicating rescued mitophagy. Taken together, we identified a GAPDH/PKCδ signaling switch, which is activated during oxidative stress to regulate the balance between cell survival by mitophagy and cell death due to accumulation of damaged mitochondria.


GAPDH; Heart; Ischemia; Lysosomes; Mitochondria; Mitophagy; PKCδ; Protein Kinase C (PKC)

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