OPA1 Isoforms in the Hierarchical Organization of Mitochondrial Functions

Valentina Del Dotto, Prashant Mishra, Sara Vidoni, Mario Fogazza, Alessandra Maresca, Leonardo Caporali, J. Michael McCaffery, Martina Cappelletti, Enrico Baruffini, Guy Lenaers, David Chan, Michela Rugolo, Valerio Carelli, Claudia Zanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


OPA1 is a GTPase that controls mitochondrial fusion, cristae integrity, and mtDNA maintenance. In humans, eight isoforms are expressed as combinations of long and short forms, but it is unclear whether OPA1 functions are associated with specific isoforms and/or domains. To address this, we expressed each of the eight isoforms or different constructs of isoform 1 in Opa1−/− MEFs. We observed that any isoform could restore cristae structure, mtDNA abundance, and energetic efficiency independently of mitochondrial network morphology. Long forms supported mitochondrial fusion; short forms were better able to restore energetic efficiency. The complete rescue of mitochondrial network morphology required a balance of long and short forms of at least two isoforms, as shown by combinatorial isoform silencing and co-expression experiments. Thus, multiple OPA1 isoforms are required for mitochondrial dynamics, while any single isoform can support all other functions. These findings will be useful in designing gene therapies for patients with OPA1 haploinsufficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2557-2571
Number of pages15
JournalCell Reports
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 20 2017


  • OPA1 isoforms
  • OPA1 long-short form balance
  • dominant optic atrophy
  • mitochondrial network dynamics
  • mtDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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