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    Mitochondrial fission counterbalances fusion to maintain organelle morphology, but its role during development remains poorly characterized. Mammalian spermatogenesis is a complex developmental process involving several drastic changes to mitochondrial shape and organization. Mitochondria are generally small and spherical in spermatogonia, elongate during meiosis, and fragment in haploid round spermatids. Near the end of spermatid maturation, small mitochondrial spheres line the axoneme, elongate, and tightly wrap around the midpiece to form the mitochondrial sheath, which is critical for fueling flagellar movements. It remains unclear how these changes in mitochondrial morphology are regulated and how they affect sperm development. We used genetic ablation of Mff (mitochondrial fission factor) in mice to investigate the role of mitochondrial fission during mammalian spermatogenesis. Our analysis indicates that Mff is required for mitochondrial fragmentation in haploid round spermatids and for organizing mitochondria in the midpiece in elongating spermatids. In Mff mutant mice, round spermatids have aberrantly elongated mitochondria that often show central constrictions, suggestive of failed fission events. In elongating spermatids and spermatozoa, mitochondrial sheaths are disjointed, containing swollen mitochondria with large gaps between organelles. These mitochondrial abnormalities in Mff mutant sperm are associated with reduced respiratory chain Complex IV activity, aberrant sperm morphology and motility, and reduced fertility. Mff is required for organization of the mitochondrial sheath in mouse sperm. Mitochondrial fission plays an important role in regulating mitochondrial organization during a complex developmental process. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


    Grigor Varuzhanyan, Hsiuchen Chen, Rebecca Rojansky, Mark S Ladinsky, J Michael McCaffery, David C Chan. Mitochondrial fission factor (Mff) is required for organization of the mitochondrial sheath in spermatids. Biochimica et biophysica acta. General subjects. 2021 May;1865(5):129845

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    PMID: 33476744

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