Effects of mutations in mitochondrial dynamics-related genes on the mitochondrial response to ultraviolet C radiation in developing Caenorhabditis elegans.
We recently found that genes involved in mitochondrial dynamics and autophagy are required for removal of UVC-induced mitochondrial DNA damage. However, drp-1 and pink-1, unlike the autophagy and fusion genes tested, were not necessary for larval development after exposure. We hypothesized that increased fusion resulting from mutations in these genes facilitated recovery of mitochondrial function. In this work, we investigated this hypothesis by studying the effects of fis-1, fis-2, drp-1 and pink-1 mutations on mitochondrial responses to UVC exposure including ATP levels, mitochondrial DNA copy number, larval development and mitochondrial morphology. Our results suggest that mutations that promote highly networked mitochondria have the capacity to lessen the effects of mitochondrial genotoxicants on the function of this organelle.