The Journal of biological chemistry

Stress-triggered activation of the metalloprotease Oma1 involves its C-terminal region and is important for mitochondrial stress protection in yeast.

PMID 24648523


Functional integrity of mitochondria is critical for optimal cellular physiology. A suite of conserved mitochondrial proteases known as intramitochondrial quality control represents one of the mechanisms assuring normal mitochondrial function. We previously demonstrated that ATP-independent metalloprotease Oma1 mediates degradation of hypohemylated Cox1 subunit of cytochrome c oxidase and is active in cytochrome c oxidase-deficient mitochondria. Here we show that Oma1 is important for adaptive responses to various homeostatic insults and preservation of normal mitochondrial function under damage-eliciting conditions. Changes in membrane potential, oxidative stress, or chronic hyperpolarization lead to increased Oma1-mediated proteolysis. The stress-triggered induction of Oma1 proteolytic activity appears to be associated with conformational changes within the Oma1 homo-oligomeric complex, and these alterations likely involve C-terminal residues of the protease. Substitutions in the conserved C-terminal region of Oma1 impair its ability to form a labile proteolytically active complex in response to stress stimuli. We demonstrate that Oma1 genetically interacts with other inner membrane-bound quality control proteases. These findings indicate that yeast Oma1 is an important player in IM protein homeostasis and integrity by acting in concert with other intramitochondrial quality control components.