An alternative import pathway of AIF to the mitochondria
International Journal of Molecular Medicine
In eukaryotic cells, transport of the newly synthesized proteins and phospholipids to the appropriate subcellular target compartments is essential for maintaining organelle morphology and cell survival. In animal cells, mitochondria are major organelles containing DNA genome that encodes only for a small fraction of their proteins, which are required for the organelle function. Most mitochondrial proteins are encoded by the nuclear genes and imported to the mitochondria following protein
... wing protein synthesis. Apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), an essential FAD-dependent NADH oxidase for the oxidative phosphorylation, is located in the intermembranous space and contains mitochondrial localization signals. However, the import mechanism of AIF to the mitochondria is not yet studied. Using sucrose gradient ultracentrifugation and immunoblotting, AIF was detected in fractions of the endoplasmic reticulum, mitochondria-associated membranes (MAM) and mitochondria, and AIF from these fractions was resistant to trypsin in the absence of digitonin, suggesting that AIF could be protected by phospholipids. Knockdown of dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1 kd ) expression reduced AIF levels in the mitochondria, but increased AIF concentrations in the MAM. Knockdown of mitofusin-2 (Mfn-2 kd ) or ATPase family AAA domain containing 3A (ATAD3A kd ) expression, however, reduced AIF levels in the mitochondria and increased the number of transport vesicles that contained AIF in the cytosol, indicating that ATAD3A and Mfn-2 were respectively essential for the import and fusion of transport vesicles into the mitochondria. Here we show that AIF is imported from the endoplasmic reticulum to the mitochondria via mitochondriaassociated membranes and transport vesicles.