C9orf72 regulates energy homeostasis by stabilizing mitochondrial complex I assembly

Tao Wang, Honghe Liu, Kie Itoh, Sungtaek Oh, Liang Zhao, Daisuke Murata, Hiromi Sesaki, Thomas Hartung, Chan Hyun Na, Jiou Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The haploinsufficiency of C9orf72 is implicated in the most common forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), but the full spectrum of C9orf72 functions remains to be established. Here, we report that C9orf72 is a mitochondrial inner-membrane-associated protein regulating cellular energy homeostasis via its critical role in the control of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). The translocation of C9orf72 from the cytosol to the inter-membrane space is mediated by the redox-sensitive AIFM1/CHCHD4 pathway. In mitochondria, C9orf72 specifically stabilizes translocase of inner mitochondrial membrane domain containing 1 (TIMMDC1), a crucial factor for the assembly of OXPHOS complex I. C9orf72 directly recruits the prohibitin complex to inhibit the m-AAA protease-dependent degradation of TIMMDC1. The mitochondrial complex I function is impaired in C9orf72-linked ALS/FTD patient-derived neurons. These results reveal a previously unknown function of C9orf72 in mitochondria and suggest that defective energy metabolism may underlie the pathogenesis of relevant diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-546.e9
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2 2021


  • ALS
  • C9orf72
  • FTD
  • complex I
  • mitochondrial import
  • mitochondrion
  • neurodegeneration
  • oxidative phosphorylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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