Giulia Favaro 1 , 2 , Vanina Romanello 1 , 2 , 3 , Tatiana Varanita 4 , Maria Andrea Desbats 5 , 6 , Valeria Morbidoni 5 , 6 , Caterina Tezze 1 , 2 , Mattia Albiero 1 , 7 , Marta Canato 2 , Gaia Gherardi 2 , Diego De Stefani 2 , Cristina Mammucari 2 , Bert Blaauw 1 , 2 , 3 , Simona Boncompagni 8 , Feliciano Protasi 8 , Carlo Reggiani 2 , 9 , Luca Scorrano 1 , 4 , Leonardo Salviati , 5 , 6 , Marco Sandri , 1 , 2 , 3 , 10
12 June 2019
Mitochondrial quality control is essential in highly structured cells such as neurons and muscles. In skeletal muscle the mitochondrial fission proteins are reduced in different physiopathological conditions including ageing sarcopenia, cancer cachexia and chemotherapy-induced muscle wasting. However, whether mitochondrial fission is essential for muscle homeostasis is still unclear. Here we show that muscle-specific loss of the pro-fission dynamin related protein (DRP) 1 induces muscle wasting and weakness. Constitutive Drp1 ablation in muscles reduces growth and causes animal death while inducible deletion results in atrophy and degeneration. Drp1 deficient mitochondria are morphologically bigger and functionally abnormal. The dysfunctional mitochondria signals to the nucleus to induce the ubiquitin-proteasome system and an Unfolded Protein Response while the change of mitochondrial volume results in an increase of mitochondrial Ca 2+ uptake and myofiber death. Our findings reveal that morphology of mitochondrial network is critical for several biological processes that control nuclear programs and Ca 2+ handling.
Muscle loss is associated with altered expression of proteins involved in mitochondrial homeostasis, but whether this is causative remains unclear. Here, the authors show that genetic ablation of the pro-fission protein DRP1 leads to accumulation of abnormal mitochondria that induce muscle atrophy by altering Ca 2+ homeostasis and cellular stress responses.