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Microsporidia are obligate intracellular parasites that infect a wide variety of hosts ranging from invertebrates to vertebrates. These parasites have evolved strategies to directly hijack host mitochondria for manipulating host metabolism and immunity. However, the mechanism of microsporidia interacting with host mitochondria is unclear. In the present study, we show that microsporidian Encephalitozoon greatly induce host mitochondrial fragmentation (HMF) in multiple cells. We then reveal that the parasites promote the phosphorylation of dynamin 1-like protein (DRP1) at the 616th serine (Ser616), and dephosphorylation of the 637th serine (Ser637) by highly activating mitochondrial phosphoglycerate mutase 5 (PGAM5). These phosphorylation modifications result in the translocation of DRP1 from cytosol to the mitochondrial outer membrane, and finally lead to HMF. Furthermore, treatment with mitochondrial division inhibitor 1 (Mdivi1) significantly reduced microsporidian proliferation, indicating that the HMF are crucial for microsporidian replication. In summary, our findings reveal the mechanism that microsporidia manipulate HMF and provide references for further understanding the interactions between these ubiquitous pathogens with host mitochondria.


Jian Luo, Jinzhi Xu, Chaolu Xie, Zuoming Zhao, Junrui Guo, Yuan Wen, Tian Li, Zeyang Zhou. Microsporidia Promote Host Mitochondrial Fragmentation by Modulating DRP1 Phosphorylation. International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 Jul 13;23(14)

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PMID: 35887094

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