TSG101 negatively regulates mitochondrial biogenesis in axons

Tzu Huai Lin, Dana M. Bis-Brewer, Amy E. Sheehan, Louise N. Townsend, Daniel C. Maddison, Stephan Züchner, Gaynor A. Smith, Marc R. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


There is a tight association between mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases and axons that are particularly vulnerable to degeneration, but how mitochondria are maintained in axons to support their physiology remains poorly defined. In an in vivo forward genetic screen for mutants altering axonal mitochondria, we identified tsg101. Neurons mutant for tsg101 exhibited an increase in mitochondrial number and decrease in mitochondrial size. TSG101 is best known as a component of the endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) complexes; however, loss of most other ESCRT components did not affect mitochondrial numbers or size, suggesting TSG101 regulates mitochondrial biology in a noncanonical, ESCRT-independent manner. The TSG101-mutant phenotype was not caused by lack of mitophagy, and we found that autophagy blockade was detrimental only to the mitochondria in the cell bodies, arguing mitophagy and autophagy are dispensable for the regulation of mitochondria number in axons. Interestingly, TSG101 mitochondrial phenotypes were instead caused by activation of PGC-1./Nrf2-dependent mitochondrial biogenesis, which was mTOR independent and TFEB dependent and required the mitochondrial fission.fusion machinery. Our work identifies a role for TSG101 in inhibiting mitochondrial biogenesis, which is essential for the maintenance of mitochondrial numbers and sizes, in the axonal compartment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2018770118
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 18 2021


  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis
  • Neurodegeneration
  • TSG101

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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