CLUH granules coordinate translation of mitochondrial proteins with mTORC1 signaling and mitophagy

David Pla-Martín, Désirée Schatton, Janica L. Wiederstein, Marie Charlotte Marx, Salim Khiati, Marcus Krüger, Elena I. Rugarli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Mitochondria house anabolic and catabolic processes that must be balanced and adjusted to meet cellular demands. The RNA-binding protein CLUH (clustered mitochondria homolog) binds mRNAs of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins and is highly expressed in the liver, where it regulates metabolic plasticity. Here, we show that in primary hepatocytes, CLUH coalesces in specific ribonucleoprotein particles that define the translational fate of target mRNAs, such as Pcx, Hadha, and Hmgcs2, to match nutrient availability. Moreover, CLUH granules play signaling roles, by recruiting mTOR kinase and the RNA-binding proteins G3BP1 and G3BP2. Upon starvation, CLUH regulates translation of Hmgcs2, involved in ketogenesis, inhibits mTORC1 activation and mitochondrial anabolic pathways, and promotes mitochondrial turnover, thus allowing efficient reprograming of metabolic function. In the absence of CLUH, a mitophagy block causes mitochondrial clustering that is rescued by rapamycin treatment or depletion of G3BP1 and G3BP2. Our data demonstrate that metabolic adaptation of liver mitochondria to nutrient availability depends on a compartmentalized CLUH-dependent post-transcriptional mechanism that controls both mTORC1 and G3BP signaling and ensures survival.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere102731
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - 4 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • CLUH
  • G3BP
  • RNA metabolism
  • mTORC1
  • mitochondria


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