Molecular Bases of Disease
- Mitochondrial calcium plays critical roles in diverse cellular processes ranging from energy metabolism to cell death. Previous studies have demonstrated that mitochondrial calcium uptake is mainly mediated by the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) complex. However, the roles of the MCU complex in calcium transport, signaling, and dysregulation by oxidative stress still remain unclear. Here, we confirmed that Drosophila MCU contains evolutionarily conserved structures and requires essential MCU regulator (EMRE) for its calcium channel activities.
- TRAP1 (tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated protein 1), a mitochondrial Hsp90 family chaperone, has been identified as a critical regulator of cell survival and bioenergetics in tumor cells. To discover novel signaling networks regulated by TRAP1, we generated Drosophila TRAP1 mutants. The mutants successfully developed into adults and produced fertile progeny, showing that TRAP1 is dispensable in development and reproduction. Surprisingly, mutation or knockdown of TRAP1 markedly enhanced Drosophila survival under oxidative stress.
- Parkin is an E3 ligase that contains a ubiquitin-like (UBL) domain in the N terminus and an R1-in-between-ring-RING2 motif in the C terminus. We showed that the UBL domain specifically interacts with the R1 domain and negatively regulates Parkin E3 ligase activity, Parkin-dependent mitophagy, and Parkin translocation to the mitochondria. The binding between the UBL domain and the R1 domain was suppressed by carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone treatment or by expression of PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1), an upstream kinase that phosphorylates Parkin at the Ser-65 residue of the UBL domain.