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Dev Neurobiol. 2017 Nov;77(11):1260-1268. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22519. Epub 2017 Aug 30.

To mdivi-1 or not to mdivi-1: Is that the question?

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Department of Neuroscience, Lewis Katz School of Medicine, Temple University, 3500 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19140.
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center, 3500 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19140.


The fission/division and fusion of mitochondria are fundamental aspects of mitochondrial biology. The balance of fission and fusion sets the length of mitochondria in cells to serve their physiological requirements. The fission of mitochondria is markedly induced in many disease states and in response to cellular injury, resulting in the fragmentation of mitochondria into dysfunctional units. The mechanism that drives fission is dependent on the dynamin related protein 1 (Drp1) GTPase. mdivi-1 is a quinazolinone originally described as a selective inhibitor of Drp1, over other dynamin family members, and reported to inhibit mitochondrial fission. A recent study has challenged the activity of mdivi-1 as an inhibitor of Drp1. This study raises serious issues regarding the interpretation of data addressing the effects of mdivi-1 as reflective of the inhibition of Drp1 and thus fission. This commentary considers the evidence for and against mdivi-1 as an inhibitor of Drp1 and presents the following considerations; (1) the activity of mdivi-1 toward Drp1 GTPase activity requires further biochemical investigation, (2) as there is a large body of literature using mdivi-1 in vitro with effects as predicted for inhibition of Drp1 and mitochondrial fission, reviewed herein, the evidence is in favor of mdivi-1's originally described bioactivity, and (3) until the issue is resolved, experimental interpretations for the effects of mdivi-1 on inhibition of fission in cell and tissue experiments warrants stringent positive controls directly addressing the effects of mdivi-1 on fission.


division; fission; fusion; mitochondria

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