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Multiple isoforms of the mitochondrial fission GTPase dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) arise from the alternative splicing of its single gene-encoded pre-mRNA transcript. Among these, the longer Drp1 isoforms, expressed selectively in neurons, bear unique polypeptide sequences within their GTPase and variable domains, known as the A-insert and the B-insert, respectively. Their functions remain unresolved. A comparison of the various biochemical and biophysical properties of the neuronally expressed isoforms with that of the ubiquitously expressed, and shortest, Drp1 isoform (Drp1-short) has revealed the effect of these inserts on Drp1 function. Utilizing various biochemical, biophysical, and cellular approaches, we find that the A- and B-inserts distinctly alter the oligomerization propensity of Drp1 in solution as well as the preferred curvature of helical Drp1 self-assembly on membranes. Consequently, these sequences also suppress Drp1 cooperative GTPase activity. Mitochondrial fission factor (Mff), a tail-anchored membrane protein of the mitochondrial outer membrane that recruits Drp1 to sites of ensuing fission, differentially stimulates the disparate Drp1 isoforms and alleviates the autoinhibitory effect imposed by these sequences on Drp1 function. Moreover, the differential stimulatory effects of Mff on Drp1 isoforms are dependent on the mitochondrial lipid, cardiolipin (CL). Although Mff stimulation of the intrinsically cooperative Drp1-short isoform is relatively modest, CL-independent, and even counter-productive at high CL concentrations, Mff stimulation of the much less cooperative longest Drp1 isoform (Drp1-long) is robust and occurs synergistically with increasing CL content. Thus, membrane-anchored Mff differentially regulates various Drp1 isoforms by functioning as an allosteric effector of cooperative GTPase activity. © 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Patrick J Macdonald, Christopher A Francy, Natalia Stepanyants, Lance Lehman, Anthony Baglio, Jason A Mears, Xin Qi, Rajesh Ramachandran. Distinct Splice Variants of Dynamin-related Protein 1 Differentially Utilize Mitochondrial Fission Factor as an Effector of Cooperative GTPase Activity. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2016 Jan 01;291(1):493-507

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PMID: 26578513

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