Understanding mitochondrial dynamics using Drosophila melanogaster
Mentor:Manish Jaiswal, Postdoc, Baylor Collage of Medicine
Understanding mitochondrial dynamics using Drosophila melanogaster Author: Ismael Munoz Jr, University of California, San Diego Mentor: Manish Jaiswal, Dan and Jan Neurological Research Institute, Baylor College of Medicine Mitochondria are filamentous organelles that dynamically undergo fission and fusion. Defects in mitochondrial dynamics are implicated in neurological disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and metabolic dysfunction. Mitochondrial dynamics are controlled by the ubiquitin-proteasome system which maintains mitochondrial homeostasis via promoting turnover of fission and fusion proteins. Although it is known that Mitofusion 2 (Mfn2) is a key protein that participates in mitochondrial fusion, the interactions between many enzymes in the ubiquitin proteasome system and Mfn2 remains elusive. I performed RNAi knockdown, of genes known to cause protein degradation, in Drosophila melanogaster 3rd instar larvae wing imaginal disks to identify candidates that may degrade Marf, a homologue of mitofusion 2. I conducted over-expression of RNAi against individual genes in the posterior compartment of wing imaginal discs using UAS-GAL4 system and compared Marf levels with the anterior compartment. This technique allowed me to identify abnormal levels of Marf in over-expression of RNAi against four different genes. Since vihar-RNAi induced lower levels of Marf in the wing imaginal disks, we investigated the role of vihar in mitochondrial dynamics by over-expressing vihar-RNAi in the neuromuscular junction of fly larvae. Small mitochondria were observed. These findings are the starting point for further research of pathways that regulate Mfn2 and affect mitochondrial dynamics.