Mitofusin-2 (Mfn-2) is a dynamin-like protein that is involved in the rearrangement of the outer mitochondrial membrane. Research using various experimental systems has shown that Mfn-2 is a mediator of mitochondrial fusion, an evolutionarily conserved process responsible for the surveillance of mitochondrial homeostasis. Here, we find that cardiac myocyte mitochondria lacking Mfn-2 are pleiomorphic and have the propensity to become enlarged. Consistent with an underlying mild mitochondrial dysfunction, Mfn-2-deficient mice display modest cardiac hypertrophy accompanied by slight functional deterioration. The absence of Mfn-2 is associated with a marked delay in mitochondrial permeability transition downstream of Ca2+ stimulation or due to local generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Consequently, Mfn-2-deficient adult cardiomyocytes are protected from a number of cell death-inducing stimuli and Mfn-2 knockout hearts display better recovery following reperfusion injury. We conclude that in cardiac myocytes, Mfn-2 controls mitochondrial morphogenesis and serves to predispose cells to mitochondrial permeability transition and to trigger cell death
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