Screen for mitochondrial DNA copy number maintenance genes reveals essential role for ATP synthase

Atsushi Fukuoh, Giuseppe Cannino, Mike Gerards, Suzanne Buckley, Selena Kazancioglu, Filippo Scialo, Eero Lihavainen, Andre Ribeiro, Eric Dufour, Howard T. Jacobs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Web of Science)


The machinery of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance is only partially characterized and is of wide interest due to its involvement in disease. To identify novel components of this machinery, plus other cellular pathways required for mtDNA viability, we implemented a genome-wide RNAi screen in Drosophila S2 cells, assaying for loss of fluorescence of mtDNA nucleoids stained with the DNA-intercalating agent PicoGreen. In addition to previously characterized components of the mtDNA replication and transcription machineries, positives included many proteins of the cytosolic proteasome and ribosome (but not the mitoribosome), three proteins involved in vesicle transport, some other factors involved in mitochondrial biogenesis or nuclear gene expression, >?30 mainly uncharacterized proteins and most subunits of ATP synthase (but no other OXPHOS complex). ATP synthase knockdown precipitated a burst of mitochondrial ROS production, followed by copy number depletion involving increased mitochondrial turnover, not dependent on the canonical autophagy machinery. Our findings will inform future studies of the apparatus and regulation of mtDNA maintenance, and the role of mitochondrial bioenergetics and signaling in modulating mtDNA copy number. ? 2014 The Authors. Published under the terms of the CC BY 4.0 license.
Original languageEnglish
Article number734
JournalMolecular Systems Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • complex V
  • DNA replication
  • mitochondrial biogenesis
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • mitophagy
  • nuclease
  • nucleoid
  • reactive oxygen species

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