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CHCM1/CHCHD6, a novel mitochondrial protein linked to regulation of mitofilin and mitochondrial cristae morphology.

An J., Shi J., He Q., Lui K., Liu Y., Huang Y., Sheikh M.S.

The structural integrity of mitochondrial cristae is crucial for mitochondrial functions; however, the molecular events controlling the structural integrity and biogenesis of mitochondrial cristae remain to be fully elucidated. Here, we report the functional characterization of a novel mitochondrial protein named CHCM1 (coiled coil helix cristae morphology 1)/CHCHD6. CHCM1/CHCHD6 harbors a coiled coil helix-coiled coil helix domain at its C-terminal end and predominantly localizes to mitochondrial inner membrane. CHCM1/CHCHD6 knockdown causes severe defects in mitochondrial cristae morphology. The mitochondrial cristae in CHCM1/CHCHD6-deficient cells become hollow with loss of structural definitions and reduction in electron-dense matrix. CHCM1/CHCHD6 depletion also leads to reductions in cell growth, ATP production, and oxygen consumption. CHCM1/CHCHD6 through its C-terminal end strongly and directly interacts with the mitochondrial inner membrane protein mitofilin, which is known to also control mitochondrial cristae morphology. CHCM1/CHCHD6 also interacts with other mitofilin-associated proteins, including DISC1 and CHCHD3. Knockdown of CHCM1/CHCHD6 reduces mitofilin protein levels; conversely, mitofilin knockdown leads to reduction in CHCM1 levels, suggesting coordinate regulation between these proteins. Our results further indicate that genotoxic anticancer drugs that induce DNA damage down-regulate CHCM1/CHCHD6 expression in multiple human cancer cells, whereas mitochondrial respiratory chain inhibitors do not affect CHCM1/CHCHD6 levels. CHCM1/CHCHD6 knockdown in human cancer cells enhances chemosensitivity to genotoxic anticancer drugs, whereas its overexpression increases resistance. Collectively, our results indicate that CHCM1/CHCHD6 is linked to regulation of mitochondrial cristae morphology, cell growth, ATP production, and oxygen consumption and highlight its potential as a possible target for cancer therapeutics.

J. Biol. Chem. 287:7411-7426(2012) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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