Bax interacting factor-1 promotes survival and mitochondrial elongation in neurons

David B. Wang, Takuma Uo, Chizuru Kinoshita, Bryce L. Sopher, Rona J. Lee, Sean P. Murphy, Yoshito Kinoshita, Gwenn A. Garden, Hong Gang Wang, Richard S. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Bax-interacting factor 1 (Bif-1, also known as endophilin B1) is a multifunctional protein involved in the regulation of apoptosis, mitochondrial morphology, and autophagy. Previous studies in non-neuronal cells have shown that Bif-1 is proapoptotic and promotes mitochondrial fragmentation. However, the role of Bif-1 in postmitotic neurons has not been investigated. In contrast to non-neuronal cells, we now report that in neurons Bif-1 promotes viability and mitochondrial elongation. In mouse primary cortical neurons, Bif-1 knockdown exacerbated apoptosis induced by the DNA-damaging agent camptothecin. Neurons from Bif-1-deficient mice contained fragmented mitochondria and Bif-1 knockdown in wild-type neurons also resulted in fragmented mitochondria which were more depolarized, suggesting mitochondrial dysfunction. During ischemic stroke, Bif-1 expression was downregulated in the penumbra of wild-type mice. Consistent with Bif-1 being required for neuronal viability, Bif-1-deficient mice developed larger infarcts and an exaggerated astrogliosis response following ischemic stroke. Together, these data suggest that, in contrast to non-neuronal cells, Bif-1 is essential for the maintenance of mitochondrial morphology and function in neurons, and that loss of Bif-1 renders neurons more susceptible to apoptotic stress. These unique actions may relate to the presence of longer, neuron-specific Bif-1 isoforms, because only these forms of Bif-1 were able to rescue deficiencies caused by Bif-1 suppression. This finding not only demonstrates an unexpected role for Bif-1 in the nervous system but this work also establishes Bif-1 as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of neurological diseases, especially degenerative disorders characterized by alterations in mitochondrial dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2674-2683
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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