Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 34014035
Link to DOI – 10.15252/emmm.202013579
EMBO Mol Med 2021 06; 13(6): e13579
Mutations in OPA1 cause autosomal dominant optic atrophy (DOA) as well as DOA+, a phenotype characterized by more severe neurological deficits. OPA1 deficiency causes mitochondrial fragmentation and also disrupts cristae, respiration, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance, and cell viability. It has not yet been established whether phenotypic severity can be modulated by genetic modifiers of OPA1. We screened the entire known mitochondrial proteome (1,531 genes) to identify genes that control mitochondrial morphology using a first-in-kind imaging pipeline. We identified 145 known and novel candidate genes whose depletion promoted elongation or fragmentation of the mitochondrial network in control fibroblasts and 91 in DOA+ patient fibroblasts that prevented mitochondrial fragmentation, including phosphatidyl glycerophosphate synthase (PGS1). PGS1 depletion reduces CL content in mitochondria and rebalances mitochondrial dynamics in OPA1-deficient fibroblasts by inhibiting mitochondrial fission, which improves defective respiration, but does not rescue mtDNA depletion, cristae dysmorphology, or apoptotic sensitivity. Our data reveal that the multifaceted roles of OPA1 in mitochondria can be functionally uncoupled by modulating mitochondrial lipid metabolism, providing novel insights into the cellular relevance of mitochondrial fragmentation.