Complement triggers relocation of Mortalin/GRP75 from mitochondria to the plasma membrane

Niv Mazkereth, Francesco Rocca, Jennifer Rose Schubert, Claudia Geisler, Yaron Hillman, Alexander Egner, Zvi Fishelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mortalin/GRP75 is a ubiquitously expressed mitochondrial chaperon that is overexpressed in cancer. Mortalin protects cells from complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) and facilitates elimination of the complement C5b-9 complexes from the cell surface. We performed a nanoscopical study aimed at imaging the distribution of the C5b-9 complexes in the plasma membrane and the postulated relocation of mortalin from the mitochondria to the plasma membrane. To gain a resolution of 35 nm, the locations of the C5b-9 complex and mortalin were imaged with a STED (Stimulated Emission Depletion) microscope at sub-diffraction resolution. Early changes in the spatial distribution of the C5b-9 on the cell surface are described. Juxtaposition of the labeled mortalin and C5b-9 at the plasma membrane region within minutes after complement attack is evident. Microscopical analysis of the distribution of mortalin in the vicinity of the mitochondria of complement-treated cells shows a more diffused pattern relative to control cells, proposing exit of mortalin from the mitochondria in response to complement-induced stress. In support, analysis of cytoplasmic mortalin by immunoblotting shows enhanced level of mortalin in the cytoplasm in complement-treated cells. Our data demonstrates that cells can sense complement activation at the plasma membrane and in response, swiftly send mortalin to this region in order to deactivate it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1395-1406
Number of pages12
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • C5b-9
  • Cell death
  • Complement resistance
  • Mitochondria
  • Mortalin
  • Nanoscopy
  • STED-microscopy


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