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Mitochondrial hitch-hiking of Pink1 mRNA supports axonal mitophagy.

Autophagy. 2022 May 3:1-2. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2022.2070332. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35470750.

Authors/Editors: Harbauer AB, Schwarz TL.
Publication Date: 2022


Mitostasis, the process of mitochondrial maintenance by biogenesis and degradative mechanisms, is challenged by the extreme length of axons. PINK1 (PTEN induced putative kinase 1) is a mitochondrial protein that targets damaged mitochondria for mitophagy. In reconciling the short half-life of PINK1 with the need for mitophagy of damaged axonal mitochondria, we found that axonal mitophagy depends on local translation of the Pink1 mRNA. Using live-cell imaging, we detected co-transport of the Pink1 mRNA on mitochondria in neurons, which is crucial for mitophagy in distal parts of the cell. Here we discuss how the coupling of the transcript of a short-lived mitochondrial protein to the movement of its target organelles contributes to our understanding of mitostasis in neurons.

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