Document Type


Publication Date



This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Cell Reports

Volume 21, Issue 6, November 2017, Pages 1667-1680

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2017.10.060. Copyright © Debattisti et al.


Mitochondrial distribution and motility are recognized as central to many cellular functions, but their regulation by signaling mechanisms remains to be elucidated. Here, we report that reactive oxygen species (ROS), either derived from an extracellular source or intracellularly generated, control mitochondrial distribution and function by dose-dependently, specifically, and reversibly decreasing mitochondrial motility in both rat hippocampal primary cultured neurons and cell lines. ROS decrease motility independently of cytoplasmic [Ca2+], mitochondrial membrane potential, or permeability transition pore opening, known effectors of oxidative stress. However, multiple lines of genetic and pharmacological evidence support that a ROS-activated mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), p38α, is required for the motility inhibition. Furthermore, anchoring mitochondria directly to kinesins without involvement of the physiological adaptors between the organelles and the motor protein prevents the H2O2-induced decrease in mitochondrial motility. Thus, ROS engage p38α and the motor adaptor complex to exert changes in mitochondrial motility, which likely has both physiological and pathophysiological relevance.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.