Roles for the lipid-signaling enzyme MitoPLD in mitochondrial dynamics, piRNA biogenesis, and spermatogenesis.
Phospholipase D (PLD), a superfamily of signaling enzymes that most commonly generate the lipid second messenger Phosphatidic Acid (PA), is found in diverse organisms from bacteria to man and functions in multiple cellular pathways. A fascinating member of the family, MitoPLD, is anchored to the mitochondrial surface and has two reported roles. In the first role, MitoPLD-generated PA regulates mitochondrial shape through facilitating mitochondrial fusion. In the second role, MitoPLD performs a critical function in a pathway that creates a specialized form of RNAi required by developing spermatocytes to suppress transposon mobilization during meiosis. This spermatocyte-specific RNAi, known as piRNA, is generated in the nuage, an electron-dense accumulation of RNA templates and processing proteins that localize adjacent to mitochondria in a structure also called intermitochondrial cement. In this review, we summarize recent findings on these roles for MitoPLD functions, highlighting directions that need to be pursued to define the underlying mechanisms.