Neuropeptide mediates the transduction of mitochondrial stress signal between tissues

DEC . 22 2016
Peking University, Dec. 22, 2016: To cope with the dynamic and complex environment, living systems evolve several organelle-specific stress responses to maintain cellular homeostasis. Mitochondrion is one of the essential organelle within the cell. It plays critical roles in numerous biological processes including energy metabolism and the regulation of cell death. The proper function of mitochondria is actively challenged by intrinsic insults and extrinsic stimuli. Proper maintenance of mitochondrial function through mitochondrial stress response is crucial for the survival of organisms. Failure to appropriately respond to mitochondrial stress could result in multiple diseases such as neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders.
Multi-cellular organisms need to coordinate multiple tissues to defend mitochondrial challenge. Intriguingly, mitochondrial stress response seems to be controlled by only a subset of cells, particularly neurons. However, the mechanism by which the nervous system senses stress and communicates to the distal tissues to induce stress response remains unknown.
Dr. Liu Ying’s research group at the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Peking University published a cover story titled “Neuropeptide signal cell non-autonomous mitochondrial unfolded protein response” in Cell Research on Oct. 2016. In this study, they specifically impaired mitochondrial function only in neurons in roundworms named C. elegans and observed the activation of mitochondrial stress response in the intestine. It suggests that a neuroendocrine might be required for the transmission of mitochondrial stress signal between tissues. Liu group then carried out a screen and found that neuropeptide FLP-2 participates in the delivery of mitochondrial stress signal. The discovery may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of mitochondrial disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. [Cell Research2016 Nov;26(11):1182-1196]
Cover image: Neuronal cells sense mitochondrial damage and send a warning signal to the intestine cell to activate mitochondrial stress response in the distal tissue.

Edited by: Zhang Jiang
Source: Institute of Molecular Medicine