Motoneurons are particularly sensitive to mutations in mitofusin-2 (MFN2) that cause the neurological disorder Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A (CMT2A). MFN2 is a mitochondrial outer membrane protein that, together with its homologue MFN1, fuses mitochondria in most tissues. In this issue of the JCI, Zhou and colleagues show that increasing MFN1 expression in neurons can curtail neurological defects in a CMT2A mouse model. These results show that the ratio of MFN1 to MFN2 can explain the tissue specificity of CMT2A and indicate that augmentation of MFN1 in the nervous system has potential as a possible therapeutic strategy for CMT2A.
Keiko Iwata, Luca Scorrano
The MFN-mediated fusion models.