Nature communications

An ubiquitin-dependent balance between mitofusin turnover and fatty acids desaturation regulates mitochondrial fusion.

PMID 28607491


Mitochondrial integrity relies on homotypic fusion between adjacent outer membranes, which is mediated by large GTPases called mitofusins. The regulation of this process remains nonetheless elusive. Here, we report a crosstalk between the ubiquitin protease Ubp2 and the ubiquitin ligases Mdm30 and Rsp5 that modulates mitochondrial fusion. Ubp2 is an antagonist of Rsp5, which promotes synthesis of the fatty acids desaturase Ole1. We show that Ubp2 also counteracts Mdm30-mediated turnover of the yeast mitofusin Fzo1 and that Mdm30 targets Ubp2 for degradation thereby inducing Rsp5-mediated desaturation of fatty acids. Exogenous desaturated fatty acids inhibit Ubp2 degradation resulting in higher levels of Fzo1 and maintenance of efficient mitochondrial fusion. Our results demonstrate that the Mdm30-Ubp2-Rsp5 crosstalk regulates mitochondrial fusion by coordinating an intricate balance between Fzo1 turnover and the status of fatty acids saturation. This pathway may link outer membrane fusion to lipids homeostasis.