• DRP-1 and BIF-1 Regulations in Mitochondrial Dynamics During Apoptosis

      Cho, Sung Gyu; Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy (2013-06)
      Recent studies have revealed that mitochondrial fragmentation is a critical event in apoptosis. Mitochondria become fragmented and notably, the fragmentation causes the permeabilization o f the mitochondrial outer membrane and consequently contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptotic cell death. In apoptosis, mitochondrial fragmentation involves the activations of D rpl, a key fission protein, and Bif-1, a protein originally identified to interact with Bax. However, the molecular mechanisms by which Drpl and Bif-1 regulate mitochondrial dynamics during apoptosis remain unclear. In the first study o f my thesis work, I investigated Drpl regulation and its role in apoptosis o f rat proximal tubular cell (RPTC) following ATP depletion. During ATP depletion, Drpl was shown to be dephosphorylated at serine-637. The dephosphorylation could be suppressed by cyclosporine A and FK506, two calcineurin inhibitors, which also prevented mitochondrial fragmentation, Bax accumulation, cytochrome c release and apoptosis in RPTC. The results suggest that Drpl is activated by calcineurin-mediated dephosphorylation at serin-637. Upon activation, Drpl stimulates mitochondrial fragmentation and the permeabilization of outer membrane, resulting in the release o f apoptogenic factors and apoptosis. In the second study, I detected Bif-1 translocation to mitochondria during apoptosis o f RPTC. Notably, apoptotic events including mitochondrial fragmentation, Bax insertion and oligomerization, and cytochrome c release were all suppressed in Bif-1 deficient cells. Mechanistically, we showed that during apoptosis, Bif-1 bound to prohibitin-2 (PHB2), a mitochondrial protein implicated in mitochondrial inner membrane regulation. Furthermore, PHB2 was shown to form hetero-oligomeric complex with prohibitin-l (PHB1) in control cells and the complex broke down upon apoptosis, which was accompanied by the proteolysis of optic atrophy 1 (OPA1), the mitochondrial inner membrane fusion protein. In Bif-1 deficient cells, the breakdown o f PHB complexes and OPA1 proteolysis were both inhibited, supporting a critical role o f Bif-1 in mitochondrial inner membrane fragmentation by regulating PHB2 and OPA1. Our studies have shed new light on the critical molecular mechanisms responsible for the alteration o f mitochondrial dynamics upon cell stress, resulting in mitochondrial fragmentation, injury and apoptosis.