Cardiolipin externalization to the outer mitochondrial membrane acts as an elimination signal for mitophagy in neuronal cells

Charleen T. Chu, Jing Ji, Ruben K. Dagda, Jian Fei Jiang, Yulia Y. Tyurina, Alexandr A. Kapralov, Vladimir A. Tyurin, Naveena Yanamala, Indira H. Shrivastava, Dariush Mohammadyani, Kent Zhi Qiang Wang, Jianhui Zhu, Judith Klein-Seetharaman, Krishnakumar Balasubramanian, Andrew A. Amoscato, Grigory Borisenko, Zhentai Huang, Aaron M. Gusdon, Amin Cheikhi, Erin K. SteerRuth Wang, Catherine Baty, Simon Watkins, Ivet Bahar, Hülya Bayir, Valerian E. Kagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

735 Scopus citations


Recognition of injured mitochondria for degradation by macroautophagy is essential for cellular health, but the mechanisms remain poorly understood. Cardiolipin is an inner mitochondrial membrane phospholipid. We found that rotenone, staurosporine, 6-hydroxydopamine and other pro-mitophagy stimuli caused externalization of cardiolipin to the mitochondrial surface in primary cortical neurons and SH-SY5Y cells. RNAi knockdown of cardiolipin synthase or of phospholipid scramblase-3, which transports cardiolipin to the outer mitochondrial membrane, decreased the delivery of mitochondria to autophagosomes. Furthermore, we found that the autophagy protein microtubule-associated-protein-1 light chain 3 (LC3), which mediates both autophagosome formation and cargo recognition, contains cardiolipin-binding sites important for the engulfment of mitochondria by the autophagic system. Mutation of LC3 residues predicted as cardiolipin-interaction sites by computational modelling inhibited its participation in mitophagy. These data indicate that redistribution of cardiolipin serves as an 'eat-me' signal for the elimination of damaged mitochondria from neuronal cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1205
Number of pages9
JournalNature Cell Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Cardiolipin externalization to the outer mitochondrial membrane acts as an elimination signal for mitophagy in neuronal cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this