Compromised Mitochondrial Protein Import Acts as a Signal for UPRmt.

Cell reports (2019-08-15)
Stéphane G Rolland, Sandra Schneid, Melanie Schwarz, Elisabeth Rackles, Christian Fischer, Simon Haeussler, Saroj G Regmi, Assa Yeroslaviz, Bianca Habermann, Dejana Mokranjac, Eric Lambie, Barbara Conradt

The induction of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) results in increased transcription of the gene encoding the mitochondrial chaperone HSP70. We systematically screened the C. elegans genome and identified 171 genes that, when knocked down, induce the expression of an hsp-6 HSP70 reporter and encode mitochondrial proteins. These genes represent many, but not all, mitochondrial processes (e.g., mitochondrial calcium homeostasis and mitophagy are not represented). Knockdown of these genes leads to reduced mitochondrial membrane potential and, hence, decreased protein import into mitochondria. In addition, it induces UPRmt in a manner that is dependent on ATFS-1 but that is not antagonized by the kinase GCN-2. We propose that compromised mitochondrial protein import signals the induction of UPRmt and that the mitochondrial targeting sequence of ATFS-1 functions as a sensor for this signal.