Defunctionalizing intracellular organelles such as mitochondria and peroxisomes with engineered phospholipase A/acyltransferases

Satoshi Watanabe, Yuta Nihongaki, Kie Itoh, Toru Uyama, Satoshi Toda, Shigeki Watanabe, Takanari Inoue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organelles vitally achieve multifaceted functions to maintain cellular homeostasis. Genetic and pharmacological approaches to manipulate individual organelles are powerful in probing their physiological roles. However, many of them are either slow in action, limited to certain organelles, or rely on toxic agents. Here, we design a generalizable molecular tool utilizing phospholipase A/acyltransferases (PLAATs) for rapid defunctionalization of organelles via remodeling of the membrane phospholipids. In particular, we identify catalytically active PLAAT truncates with minimal unfavorable characteristics. Chemically-induced translocation of the optimized PLAAT to the mitochondria surface results in their rapid deformation in a phospholipase activity dependent manner, followed by loss of luminal proteins as well as dissipated membrane potential, thus invalidating the functionality. To demonstrate wide applicability, we then adapt the molecular tool in peroxisomes, and observe leakage of matrix-resident functional proteins. The technique is compatible with optogenetic control, viral delivery and operation in primary neuronal cultures. Due to such versatility, the PLAAT strategy should prove useful in studying organelle biology of diverse contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4413
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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