MICAL2PV suppresses the formation of tunneling nanotubes and modulates mitochondrial trafficking

Fei Wang, Xiaoping Chen, Haipeng Cheng, Lu Song, Jianghong Liu, Steve Caplan, Li Zhu*, Jane Y. Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Tunneling nanotubes (TNTs) are actin-rich structures that connect two or more cells and mediate cargo exchange between spatially separated cells. TNTs transport signaling molecules, vesicles, organelles, and even pathogens. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating TNT formation remain unclear and little is known about the endogenous mechanisms suppressing TNT formation in lung cancer cells. Here, we report that MICAL2PV, a splicing isoform of the neuronal guidance gene MICAL2, is a novel TNT regulator that suppresses TNT formation and modulates mitochondrial distribution. MICAL2PV interacts with mitochondrial Rho GTPase Miro2 and regulates subcellular mitochondrial trafficking. Moreover, down-regulation of MICAL2PV enhances survival of cells treated with chemotherapeutical drugs. The monooxygenase (MO) domain of MICAL2PV is required for its activity to inhibit TNT formation by depolymerizing F-actin. Our data demonstrate a previously unrecognized function of MICAL2 in TNT formation and mitochondrial trafficking. Furthermore, our study uncovers a role of the MICAL2PV-Miro2 axis in mitochondrial trafficking, providing a mechanistic explanation for MICAL2PV activity in suppressing TNT formation and in modulating mitochondrial subcellular distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere52006
JournalEMBO Reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 5 2021


  • F-actin
  • Miro2
  • lung cancer
  • mitochondria
  • tunneling nanotubes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry


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