Activation of mitochondrial fusion provides a new treatment for mitochondria-related diseases

Aliz Szabo, Katalin Sumegi, Katalin Fekete, Eniko Hocsak, Balazs Debreceni, Gyorgy Setalo, Krisztina Kovacs, Laszlo Deres, Andras Kengyel, Dominika Kovacs, Jozsef Mandl, Miklos Nyitrai, Mark A. Febbraio, Ferenc Gallyas, Balazs Sumegi

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61 Citations (Scopus)


Mitochondria fragmentation destabilizes mitochondrial membranes, promotes oxidative stress and facilitates cell death, thereby contributing to the development and the progression of several mitochondria-related diseases. Accordingly, compounds that reverse mitochondrial fragmentation could have therapeutic potential in treating such diseases. BGP-15, a hydroxylamine derivative, prevents insulin resistance in humans and protects against several oxidative stress-related diseases in animal models. Here we show that BGP-15 promotes mitochondrial fusion by activating optic atrophy 1 (OPA1), a GTPase dynamin protein that assist fusion of the inner mitochondrial membranes. Suppression of Mfn1, Mfn2 or OPA1 prevents BGP-15-induced mitochondrial fusion. BGP-15 activates Akt, S6K, mTOR, ERK1/2 and AS160, and reduces JNK phosphorylation which can contribute to its protective effects. Furthermore, BGP-15 protects lung structure, activates mitochondrial fusion, and stabilizes cristae membranes in vivo determined by electron microscopy in a model of pulmonary arterial hypertension. These data provide the first evidence that a drug promoting mitochondrial fusion in in vitro and in vivo systems can reduce or prevent the progression of mitochondria-related disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-96
Number of pages11
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • BGP-15
  • Mitochondrial fragmentation
  • Optic atrophy 1
  • Oxidative stress

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