Mitochondria are essential for cellular respiration and ATP synthesis. Mitochondrial fusion is associated with genomic integrity and neuroprotection while mitochondrial fission is related to the increase in cell death and neuronal vulnerability. Mitochondrial fission requires the recruitment of dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) to the outer mitochondrial membrane where it assembles into ring-like structures which split the membrane via GTP hydrolysis. Mutations of the two short Drp1- interaction repeats of mitochondrial fission factor (Mff) block the recruitment of Drp1 and therefore the fission process. We correlated neuronal survival with mitochondrial length following culture models of stroke injury. The luciferase assay and nuclear morphology assay were used to evaluate the survival of differently-transfected neurons. Our work would provide a novel avenue to the alleviation of stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases by screening for biologically-active small molecules which would silence key players in mitochondrial fission to increase overall mitochondrial integrity.
Jihang Wang, ’15
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Sponsor: Barbara Christie-Pope