Autophagy restricts mitochondrial DNA damage-induced release of ENDOG (endonuclease G) to regulate genome stability

Tung Chao, Hsueh Tzu Shih, Shih Chin Hsu, Pei Jer Chen, Yu Shan Fan, Yung Ming Jeng, Zhao Qing Shen, Ting Fen Tsai, Zee Fen Chang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Genotoxic insult causes nuclear and mitochondrial DNA damages with macroautophagy/autophagy induction. The role of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage in the requirement of autophagy for nuclear DNA (nDNA) stability is unclear. Using site-specific DNA damage approaches, we show that specific nDNA damage alone does not require autophagy for repair unless in the presence of mtDNA damage. We provide evidence that after IR exposure-induced mtDNA and nDNA damages, autophagy suppression causes non-apoptotic mitochondrial permeability, by which mitochondrial ENDOG (endonuclease G) is released and translocated to nuclei to sustain nDNA damage in a TET (tet methylcytosine dioxygenase)-dependent manner. Furthermore, blocking lysosome function is sufficient to increase the amount of mtDNA leakage to the cytosol, accompanied by ENDOG-free mitochondrial puncta formation with concurrent ENDOG nuclear accumulation. We proposed that autophagy eliminates the mitochondria specified by mtDNA damage-driven mitochondrial permeability to prevent ENDOG-mediated genome instability. Finally, we showed that HBx, a hepatitis B viral protein capable of suppressing autophagy, also causes mitochondrial permeability-dependent ENDOG mis-localization in nuclei and is linked to hepatitis B virus (HBV)-mediated hepatocellular carcinoma development. Abbreviations: 3-MA: 3-methyladenine; 5-hmC: 5-hydroxymethylcytosine; ACTB: actin beta; ATG5: autophagy related 5; ATM: ATM serine/threonine kinase; DFFB/CAD: DNA fragmentation factor subunit beta; cmtDNA: cytosolic mitochondrial DNA; ConA: concanamycin A; CQ: chloroquine; CsA: cyclosporin A; Dox: doxycycline; DSB: double-strand break; ENDOG: endonuclease G; GFP: green fluorescent protein; Gy: gray; H2AX: H2A.X variant histone; HBV: hepatitis B virus; HBx: hepatitis B virus X protein; HCC: hepatocellular carcinoma; I-PpoI: intron-encoded endonuclease; IR: ionizing radiation; MAP1LC3/LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MOMP: mitochondrial outer membrane permeability; mPTP: mitochondrial permeability transition pore; mtDNA: mitochondrial DNA; nDNA: nuclear DNA; 4-OHT: 4-hydroxytamoxifen; rDNA: ribosomal DNA; ROS: reactive oxygen species; SQSTM1/p62: sequestosome 1; TET: tet methylcytosine dioxygenase; TFAM: transcription factor A, mitochondrial; TOMM20: translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 20; VDAC: voltage dependent anion channel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3444-3460
Number of pages17
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Autophagy
  • TET
  • endonuclease G
  • genome instability
  • mitochondrial DNA
  • mitochondrial permeability


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