Proceedings of The Physiological Society

Mitochondria: Form and function (London, UK) (2017) Proc Physiol Soc 38, SA08

Research Symposium

Mitochondrial quality control in vivo

I. Ganley1

1. University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom.


Mitophagy, the autophagy of mitochondria, is thought to be an essential quality control (QC) mechanism of pathophysiological relevance in mammals. However, if and how mitophagy proceeds within specific cellular subtypes in vivo has remained unclear, largely due to a lack of tractable tools and models. To address this, we developed "mito-QC", a transgenic mouse with a pH-sensitive fluorescent mitochondrial signal. This allows the assessment of mitophagy and mitochondrial architecture in vivo. mito-QC revealed that mitophagy is a significant process in most tissues, even under basal conditions. However, within tissues it can be spatially restricted to distinct cell types, particularly those with high metabolic demands such as photoreceptor cells in the retina or proximal tubule cells in the kidney. Surprisingly, the mechanisms behind these instances of basal mitophagy are distinct from the classical starvation-induced autophagy pathway and do not require activation of PINK1, which previously was thought to be the key mitophagy-stimulating event.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements