Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that frequently move, divide, and fuse with one another to maintain their architecture and functions. However, the signaling mechanisms involved in these processes are still not well characterized. In this study, we analyze mitochondrial dynamics and morphology in neurons. Using time-lapse imaging, we find that Ca2+ influx through voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels (VDCCs) causes a rapid halt in mitochondrial movement and induces mitochondrial fission. VDCC-associated Ca2+ signaling stimulates phosphorylation of dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) at serine 600 via activation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase Iα (CaMKIα). In neurons and HeLa cells, phosphorylation of Drp1 at serine 600 is associated with an increase in Drp1 translocation to mitochondria, whereas in vitro, phosphorylation of Drp1 results in an increase in its affinity for Fis1. CaMKIα is a widely expressed protein kinase, suggesting that Ca2+ is likely to be functionally important in the control of mitochondrial dynamics through regulation of Drp1 phosphorylation in neurons and other cell types.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology