COX17 acetylation via MOF–KANSL complex promotes mitochondrial integrity and function
Reversible acetylation of mitochondrial proteins is a regulatory mechanism central to adaptive metabolic responses. Yet, how such functionally relevant protein acetylation is achieved remains unexplored. Here we reveal an unprecedented role of the MYST family lysine acetyltransferase MOF in energy metabolism via mitochondrial protein acetylation. Loss of MOF–KANSL complex members leads to mitochondrial defects including fragmentation, reduced cristae density and impaired mitochondrial electron transport chain complex IV integrity in primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts. We demonstrate COX17, a complex IV assembly factor, as a bona fide acetylation target of MOF. Loss of COX17 or expression of its non-acetylatable mutant phenocopies the mitochondrial defects observed upon MOF depletion. The acetylation-mimetic COX17 rescues these defects and maintains complex IV activity even in the absence of MOF, suggesting an activatory role of mitochondrial electron transport chain protein acetylation. Fibroblasts from patients with MOF syndrome who have intellectual disability also revealed respiratory defects that could be restored by alternative oxidase, acetylation-mimetic COX17 or mitochondrially targeted MOF. Overall, our findings highlight the critical role of MOF–KANSL complex in mitochondrial physiology and provide new insights into MOF syndrome.