Niemi et al analyzed a Pptc7 matrix phosphatase in mice in a recent issue of Nature Communications.
This paper addressed the functionality of phosphorylation in mitochondrial proteins. While mitochondrial proteins tend to have a lot of phosphorylation, it is also possible that protein dephosphorylation (the opposite process) may be significant in controlling various mitochondrial processes.
To test this, researchers deleted the matrix phosphatase Pptc7 from mice using the CRISPR-Cas9. As a result, mice were born with normal transcript levels but less mitochondria and protein in their tissues. They also had more phosphorylation in certain mitochondrial proteins. These mice developed hypoketonic hypoglycemia, had higher levels of acylcarnitines and serum lactate, and died shortly after being born.
Analyzing this data, researchers pinpointed that the protein translocase complex subunit Timm50 is probably a Pptc7 substrate whose phosphorylation lowers import activity. This data also demonstrates that Pptc7 is necessary for healthy mammalian mitochondrial processes, such as metabolism, and biogenesis after birth.