Proper distribution of mitochondria within axons and at synapses is critical for neuronal function. While one-third of axonal mitochondria are mobile, a large proportion remains in a stationary phase. However, the mechanisms controlling mitochondrial docking within axons remain elusive. Here, we report a role for axon-targeted syntaphilin (SNPH) in mitochondrial docking through its interaction with microtubules. Axonal mitochondria that contain exogenously or endogenously expressed SNPH lose mobility. Deletion of the mouse snph gene results in a substantially higher proportion of axonal mitochondria in the mobile state and reduces the density of mitochondria in axons. The snph mutant neurons exhibit enhanced short-term facilitation during prolonged stimulation, probably by affecting calcium signaling at presynaptic boutons. This phenotype is fully rescued by reintroducing the snph gene into the mutant neurons. These findings demonstrate a molecular mechanism for controlling mitochondrial docking in axons that has a physiological impact on synaptic function.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)