Research ArticleCell Biology

ROMO1 Is an Essential Redox-Dependent Regulator of Mitochondrial Dynamics

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Science Signaling  28 Jan 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 310, pp. ra10
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004374

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Fueling Fusion

Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that undergo fusion or fission. In response to cell death–inducing stimuli, mitochondria undergo fragmentation. OPA1 is a guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) that is present as a transmembrane protein in the inner mitochondrial membrane and as a cleaved form in the intermembrane space; a balance in the abundance of both forms is required for OPA1 to promote mitochondrial fusion. Norton et al. identified ROMO1 as a regulator of mitochondrial morphology that, in response to reactive oxygen species, was oxidized and formed inactive oligomers. Cells lacking ROMO1 had more of the cleaved form of OPA1, showed an increase in fragmented mitochondria, and were more sensitive to cell death–inducing stimuli. Thus, ROMO1 acts as a link between the oxidative state of the cell and the changes in mitochondrial shape and function.