The Putative Drp1 Inhibitor mdivi-1 Is a Reversible Mitochondrial Complex I Inhibitor that Modulates Reactive Oxygen Species

Evan A. Bordt, Pascaline Clerc, Brian A. Roelofs, Andrew J. Saladino, László Tretter, Vera Adam-Vizi, Edward Cherok, Ahmed Khalil, Nagendra Yadava, Shealinna X. Ge, T. Chase Francis, Nolan W. Kennedy, Lora K. Picton, Tanya Kumar, Sruti Uppuluri, Alexandrea M. Miller, Kie Itoh, Mariusz Karbowski, Hiromi Sesaki, R. Blake HillBrian M. Polster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


Mitochondrial fission mediated by the GTPase dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) is an attractive drug target in numerous maladies that range from heart disease to neurodegenerative disorders. The compound mdivi-1 is widely reported to inhibit Drp1-dependent fission, elongate mitochondria, and mitigate brain injury. Here, we show that mdivi-1 reversibly inhibits mitochondrial complex I-dependent O2 consumption and reverse electron transfer-mediated reactive oxygen species (ROS) production at concentrations (e.g., 50 μM) used to target mitochondrial fission. Respiratory inhibition is rescued by bypassing complex I using yeast NADH dehydrogenase Ndi1. Unexpectedly, respiratory impairment by mdivi-1 occurs without mitochondrial elongation, is not mimicked by Drp1 deletion, and is observed in Drp1-deficient fibroblasts. In addition, mdivi-1 poorly inhibits recombinant Drp1 GTPase activity (Ki > 1.2 mM). Overall, these results suggest that mdivi-1 is not a specific Drp1 inhibitor. The ability of mdivi-1 to reversibly inhibit complex I and modify mitochondrial ROS production may contribute to effects observed in disease models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-594.e6
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 27 2017


  • bioenergetics
  • brain
  • fission
  • fragmentation
  • mitochondria
  • neuron
  • respiration
  • reverse electron transfer
  • succinate
  • superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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