Journal of cell science

CED-9 and mitochondrial homeostasis in C. elegans muscle.

PMID 18827010


Mitochondrial homeostasis reflects a dynamic balance between membrane fission and fusion events thought essential for mitochondrial function. We report here that altered expression of the C. elegans BCL2 homolog CED-9 affects both mitochondrial fission and fusion. Although striated muscle cells lacking CED-9 have no alteration in mitochondrial size or ultrastructure, these cells appear more sensitive to mitochondrial fragmentation. By contrast, increased CED-9 expression in these cells produces highly interconnected mitochondria. This mitochondrial phenotype is partially suppressed by increased expression of the dynamin-related GTPase DRP-1, with suppression dependent on the BH3 binding pocket of CED-9. This suppression suggests that CED-9 directly regulates DRP-1, a model supported by our finding that CED-9 activates the GTPase activity of human DRP1. Thus, CED-9 is capable of regulating the mitochondrial fission-fusion cycle but is not essential for either fission or fusion.