Mitochondria have their own ATP-dependent proteases that maintain the functional state of the organelle. All multicellular eukaryotes, including filamentous fungi, possess the same set of mitochondrial proteases, unlike in unicellular yeasts, where ClpXP, one of the two matricial proteases, is absent. Despite the presence of ClpXP in the filamentous fungus Podospora anserina, deletion of the gene encoding the other matricial protease, PaLon1, leads to lethality at high and low temperatures, indicating that PaLON1 plays a main role in protein quality control. Under normal physiological conditions, the PaLon1 deletion is viable but decreases life span. PaLon1 deletion also leads to defects in two steps during development, ascospore germination and sexual reproduction, which suggests that PaLON1 ensures important regulatory functions during fungal development. Mitochondrial Lon proteases are composed of a central ATPase domain flanked by a large non-catalytic N-domain and a C-terminal protease domain. We found that three mutations in the N-domain of PaLON1 affected fungal life cycle, PaLON1 protein expression and mitochondrial proteolytic activity, which reveals the functional importance of the N-domain of the mitochondrial Lon protease. All PaLon1 mutations affected the C-terminal part of the N-domain. Considering that the C-terminal part is predicted to have an α helical arrangement in which the number, length and position of the helices are conserved with the solved structure of its bacterial homologs, we propose that this all-helical structure participates in Lon substrate interaction. © 2012 Adam et al.
Adam, C., Picard, M., Déquard-Chablat, M., Sellem, C. H., Denmat, S. H. L., & Contamine, V. (2012). Biological roles of the podospora anserina mitochondrial lon protease and the importance of its N-domain. PLoS ONE, 7(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0038138