bims-mecosi Biomed News
on Membrane contact sites
Issue of 2023‒03‒19
seven papers selected by
Verena Kohler
University of Graz

  1. Cell Rep. 2023 Mar 10. pii: S2211-1247(23)00249-8. [Epub ahead of print]42(3): 112238
      Depletion of Ca2+ from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) causes the ER Ca2+ sensor STIM1 to form membrane contact sites (MCSs) with the plasma membrane (PM). At the ER-PM MCS, STIM1 binds to Orai channels to induce cellular Ca2+ entry. The prevailing view of this sequential process is that STIM1 interacts with the PM and with Orai1 using two separate modules: a C-terminal polybasic domain (PBD) for the interaction with PM phosphoinositides and the STIM-Orai activation region (SOAR) for the interaction with Orai channels. Here, using electron and fluorescence microscopy and protein-lipid interaction assays, we show that oligomerization of the SOAR promotes direct interaction with PM phosphoinositides to trap STIM1 at ER-PM MCSs. The interaction depends on a cluster of conserved lysine residues within the SOAR and is co-regulated by the STIM1 coil-coiled 1 and inactivation domains. Collectively, our findings uncover a molecular mechanism for formation and regulation of ER-PM MCSs by STIM1.
    Keywords:  CP: Cell biology; CRAC channel; ER-PM contact sites; Orai1; SOAR; SOCE; STIM1; STIM2; calcium; membrane contact sites (MCSs); polyphosphoinositides
  2. Biol Open. 2023 Mar 13. pii: bio.059707. [Epub ahead of print]
      GDAP1 pathogenic variants cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, the most common hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy. CMT-GDAP1 can be axonal or demyelinating, with autosomal dominant or recessive inheritance, leading to phenotypic heterogeneity. Recessive GDAP1 variants cause a severe phenotype, whereas dominant variants are associated with a milder disease course. GDAP1 is an outer mitochondrial membrane protein involved in mitochondrial membrane contact sites (MCSs) with the plasmatic membrane, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and lysosomes. In GDAP1-deficient models, the pathophysiology includes morphological defects in mitochondrial network and ER, impaired Ca2+ homeostasis, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial MCSs defects. Nevertheless, the underlying pathophysiology of dominant variants is less understood. Here, we study the effect upon mitochondria-lysosome MCSs of two GDAP1 clinical variants located in the α-loop interaction domain of the protein. p.Thr157Pro dominant variant causes the increase in these MCSs that correlates with a hyper-fissioned mitochondrial network. In contrast, p.Arg161His recessive variant, which is predicted to significantly change the contact surface of GDAP1, causes decreased contacts with more elongated mitochondria. Given that mitochondria-lysosome MCSs regulate Ca2+ transfer from the lysosome to mitochondria, our results support that GDAP1 clinical variants have different consequences for Ca2+ handling and that could be primary insults determining differences in severity between dominant and recessive forms of the disease.
    Keywords:  Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT); GDAP1; Lysosome; Membrane Contact Sites (MCSs); Mitochondria
  3. Nat Commun. 2023 Mar 17. 14(1): 1504
      The Synaptotagmin-like Mitochondrial-lipid-binding Protein (SMP) domain is a newly identified lipid transfer module present in proteins that regulate lipid homeostasis at membrane contact sites (MCSs). However, how the SMP domain associates with the membrane to extract and unload lipids is unclear. Here, we performed in vitro DNA brick-assisted lipid transfer assays and in silico molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the molecular basis of the membrane association by the SMP domain of extended synaptotagmin (E-Syt), which tethers the tubular endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the plasma membrane (PM). We demonstrate that the SMP domain uses its tip region to recognize the extremely curved subdomain of tubular ER and the acidic-lipid-enriched PM for highly efficient lipid transfer. Supporting these findings, disruption of these mechanisms results in a defect in autophagosome biogenesis contributed by E-Syt. Our results suggest a model that provides a coherent picture of the action of the SMP domain at MCSs.
  4. Cell Death Dis. 2023 Mar 16. 14(3): 199
      During hypoxia, FUNDC1 acts as a mitophagy receptor and accumulates at the ER (endoplasmic reticulum)-mitochondria contact sites (EMC), also called mitochondria-associated membranes (MAM). In mitophagy, the ULK1 complex phosphorylates FUNDC1(S17) at the EMC site. However, how mitochondria sense the stress and send the signal from the inside to the outside of mitochondria to trigger mitophagy is still unclear. Mitochondrial Lon was reported to be localized at the EMC under stress although the function remained unknown. In this study, we explored the mechanism of how mitochondrial sensors of hypoxia trigger and stabilize the FUNDC1-ULK1 complex by Lon in the EMC for cell survival and cancer progression. We demonstrated that Lon is accumulated in the EMC and associated with FUNDC1-ULK1 complex to induce mitophagy via chaperone activity under hypoxia. Intriguingly, we found that Lon-induced mitophagy is through binding with mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCLX) to promote FUNDC1-ULK1-mediated mitophagy at the EMC site in vitro and in vivo. Accordingly, our findings highlight a novel mechanism responsible for mitophagy initiation under hypoxia by chaperone Lon in mitochondria through the interaction with FUNDC1-ULK1 complex at the EMC site. These findings provide a direct correlation between Lon and mitophagy on cell survival and cancer progression.
  5. J Cell Biochem. 2023 Mar 16.
      The coordinated interaction between mitochondria and lysosomes, mainly manifested by mitophagy, mitochondria-derived vesicles, and direct physical contact, is essential for maintaining cellular life activities. The VPS39 subunit of the homotypic fusion and protein sorting complex could play a key role in the regulation of organelle dynamics, such as endolysosomal trafficking and mitochondria-vacuole/lysosome crosstalk, thus contributing to a variety of physiological functions. The abnormalities of VPS39 and related subunits have been reported to be involved in the pathological process of some diseases. Here, we analyze the potential mechanisms and the existing problems of VPS39 in regulating organelle dynamics, which, in turn, regulate physiological functions and disease pathogenesis, so as to provide new clues for facilitating the discovery of therapeutic targets for mitochondrial and lysosomal diseases.
    Keywords:  HOPS complex; VPS39; diseases; endolysosomal trafficking; mitochondria-lysosome crosstalk
  6. Curr Biol. 2023 Mar 08. pii: S0960-9822(23)00199-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial cristae expand the surface area of respiratory membranes and ultimately allow for the evolutionary scaling of respiration with cell volume across eukaryotes. The discovery of Mic60 homologs among alphaproteobacteria, the closest extant relatives of mitochondria, suggested that cristae might have evolved from bacterial intracytoplasmic membranes (ICMs). Here, we investigated the predicted structure and function of alphaproteobacterial Mic60, and a protein encoded by an adjacent gene Orf52, in two distantly related purple alphaproteobacteria, Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Rhodopseudomonas palustris. In addition, we assessed the potential physical interactors of Mic60 and Orf52 in R. sphaeroides. We show that the three α helices of mitochondrial Mic60's mitofilin domain, as well as its adjacent membrane-binding amphipathic helix, are present in alphaproteobacterial Mic60. The disruption of Mic60 and Orf52 caused photoheterotrophic growth defects, which are most severe under low light conditions, and both their disruption and overexpression led to enlarged ICMs in both studied alphaproteobacteria. We also found that alphaproteobacterial Mic60 physically interacts with BamA, the homolog of Sam50, one of the main physical interactors of eukaryotic Mic60. This interaction, responsible for making contact sites at mitochondrial envelopes, has been conserved in modern alphaproteobacteria despite more than a billion years of evolutionary divergence. Our results suggest a role for Mic60 in photosynthetic ICM development and contact site formation at alphaproteobacterial envelopes. Overall, we provide support for the hypothesis that mitochondrial cristae evolved from alphaproteobacterial ICMs and have therefore improved our understanding of the nature of the mitochondrial ancestor.
    Keywords:  Cereibacter; MICOS; Rhodobacter; Rhodopseudomonas; chromatophores; endosymbosis; eukaryogenesis; eukaryote; purple bacteria
  7. Discov Ment Health. 2023 ;3(1): 8
      We compared transcriptomic profiles of cerebral organoids differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells of eight schizophrenia and eight bipolar disorder patients to identify genes that were differentially expressed in cerebral organoids between two disorders. Gene ontology analysis showed relative up-regulation in schizophrenia organoids of genes related to response to cytokines, antigen binding and clathrin-coated vesicles, while showing up-regulation in bipolar disorder of genes involved in calcium binding. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed enrichment in schizophrenia of genes involved in mitochondrial and oxidative phosphorylation while showing enrichment in bipolar disorder of genes involved in long term potentiation and neuro-transporters. We compared mitochondrial function in cerebral organoids from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder subjects and found that while schizophrenia organoids showed deficits in basal oxygen consumption rate and ATP production when compared to healthy control organoids, while bipolar disorder organoids did not show these deficits. Gene ontology analyses also revealed enrichment in bipolar disorder of genes in ion binding and regulation of transport. Experiments examining the interaction between mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum in cortical neurons from bipolar disorder subjects showed a significantly lower number of contact sites between mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum when compared to cortical neurons from schizophrenia patients. These results point to disease-specific deficits in mitochondrial respiration in schizophrenia and in mitochondrial-endoplasmic reticulum interactions in bipolar disorder.Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s44192-023-00031-8.