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Pptc7 is an essential phosphatase for promoting mammalian mitochondrial metabolism and biogenesis

By Natalie M. Niemi, Gary M. Wilson, Katherine A. Overmyer, F.-Nora Vögtle, Danielle C Lohman, Kathryn L Schueler, Alan D. Attie, Chris Meisinger, Joshua J. Coon, David J. Pagliarini

Posted 25 Sep 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/426247 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11047-6)

Mitochondrial proteins are replete with phosphorylation; however, the origin, abundance, and functional relevance of these modifications are largely unclear. Nonetheless, mitochondria possess multiple resident phosphatases, suggesting that protein dephosphorylation may be broadly important for mitochondrial activities. To explore this, we deleted the poorly characterized matrix phosphatase Pptc7 from mice using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Strikingly, Pptc7-/- mice exhibited marked hypoketotic hypoglycemia, elevated acylcarnitines, and lactic acidosis, and died soon after birth. Pptc7-/- tissues had significantly diminished mitochondrial size and protein content despite normal transcript levels, but consistently elevated phosphorylation on select mitochondrial proteins. These putative Pptc7 substrates include the protein translocase complex subunit Timm50, whose phosphorylation reduced import activity. We further find that phosphorylation in or near the mitochondrial targeting sequences of multiple proteins can disrupt their import rates and matrix processing. Overall, our data define Pptc7 as a protein phosphatase essential for proper mitochondrial function and biogenesis during the extrauterine transition.

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