Regulation of Mitochondrial Respiratory Chain Complex Levels, Organization, and Function by Arginyltransferase 1

Chunhua Jiang, Balaji T. Moorthy, Devang M. Patel, Akhilesh Kumar, William M. Morgan, Belkis Alfonso, Jingyu Huang, Theodore J. Lampidis, Daniel G. Isom, Antoni Barrientos, Flavia Fontanesi, Fangliang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Arginyltransferase 1 (ATE1) is an evolutionary-conserved eukaryotic protein that localizes to the cytosol and nucleus. It is the only known enzyme in metazoans and fungi that catalyzes posttranslational arginylation. Lack of arginylation has been linked to an array of human disorders, including cancer, by altering the response to stress and the regulation of metabolism and apoptosis. Although mitochondria play relevant roles in these processes in health and disease, a causal relationship between ATE1 activity and mitochondrial biology has yet to be established. Here, we report a phylogenetic analysis that traces the roots of ATE1 to alpha-proteobacteria, the mitochondrion microbial ancestor. We then demonstrate that a small fraction of ATE1 localizes within mitochondria. Furthermore, the absence of ATE1 influences the levels, organization, and function of respiratory chain complexes in mouse cells. Specifically, ATE1-KO mouse embryonic fibroblasts have increased levels of respiratory supercomplexes I+III2+IVn. However, they have decreased mitochondrial respiration owing to severely lowered complex II levels, which leads to accumulation of succinate and downstream metabolic effects. Taken together, our findings establish a novel pathway for mitochondrial function regulation that might explain ATE1-dependent effects in various disease conditions, including cancer and aging, in which metabolic shifts are part of the pathogenic or deleterious underlying mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number603688
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Dec 21 2020


  • arginylation
  • arginyltransferase
  • biogenesis
  • mitochondria
  • respiration
  • respiratory chain complexes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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