Mitochondria-eating protein (Spata18)

Key regulator of mitochondrial quality that mediates the repairing or degradation of unhealthy mitochondria in response to mitochondrial damage. Mediator of mitochondrial protein catabolic process (also named MALM) by mediating the degradation of damaged proteins inside mitochondria by promoting the accumulation in the mitochondrial matrix of hydrolases that are characteristic of the lysosomal lumen.

Also involved in mitochondrion degradation of damaged mitochondria by promoting the formation of vacuole-like structures (called MIV), which engulf and degrade unhealthy mitochondria by amassing lysosomes. May have a role in spermatogenesis, especially in cell differentiation from late elongate spermatids to mature spermatozoa (By similarity).