Dual regulation of SLC25A39 by AFG3L2 and iron controls mitochondrial glutathione homeostasis

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Organelle transporters define metabolic compartmentalization and how this metabolite transport process can be modulated is poorly explored. Here, we discovered that SLC25A39, a mitochondrial transporter critical for mitochondrial glutathione uptake, is a short-lived protein under dual regulation at the protein level. Co-immunoprecipitation mass spectrometry and CRISPR KO in cells identified that mitochondrial m -AAA protease AFG3L2 is responsible for degrading SLC25A39 through the matrix loop 1. SLC25A39 senses mitochondrial iron-sulfur cluster using four matrix cysteine residues and inhibits its degradation. SLC25A39 protein regulation is robust in developing and mature neurons. This dual transporter regulation, by protein quality control and metabolic sensing, allows modulating mitochondrial glutathione level in response to iron homeostasis, opening new avenues to explore regulation of metabolic compartmentalization. Neuronal SLC25A39 regulation connects mitochondrial protein quality control, glutathione and iron homeostasis, which were previously unrelated biochemical features in neurodegeneration.

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