Mitochondria adapt to different energetic demands reshaping their proteome. Mitochondrial proteases are emerging as key regulators of these adaptive processes. Here, we use a multiproteomic approach to demonstrate the regulation of the m-AAA protease AFG3L2 by the mitochondrial proton gradient, coupling mitochondrial protein turnover to the energetic status of mitochondria. We identify TMBIM5 (previously also known as GHITM or MICS1) as a Ca2+/H+ exchanger in the mitochondrial inner membrane, which binds to and inhibits the m-AAA protease. TMBIM5 ensures cell survival and respiration, allowing Ca2+ efflux from mitochondria and limiting mitochondrial hyperpolarization. Persistent hyperpolarization, however, triggers degradation of TMBIM5 and activation of the m-AAA protease. The m-AAA protease broadly remodels the mitochondrial proteome and mediates the proteolytic breakdown of respiratory complex I to confine ROS production and oxidative damage in hyperpolarized mitochondria. TMBIM5 thus integrates mitochondrial Ca2+ signaling and the energetic status of mitochondria with protein turnover rates to reshape the mitochondrial proteome and adjust the cellular metabolism.
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