bims-mikwok Biomed News
on Mitochondrial quality control
Issue of 2021‒04‒11
twenty-two papers selected by
Avinash N. Mukkala
University of Toronto

  1. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 640094
      Mitophagy and zymophagy are selective autophagy pathways early induced in acute pancreatitis that may explain the mild, auto limited, and more frequent clinical presentation of this disease. Adequate mitochondrial bioenergetics is necessary for cellular restoration mechanisms that are triggered during the mild disease. However, mitochondria and zymogen contents are direct targets of damage in acute pancreatitis. Cellular survival depends on the recovering possibility of mitochondrial function and efficient clearance of damaged mitochondria. This work aimed to analyze mitochondrial dynamics and function during selective autophagy in pancreatic acinar cells during mild experimental pancreatitis in rats. Also, using a cell model under the hyperstimulation of the G-coupled receptor for CCK (CCK-R), we aimed to investigate the mechanisms involved in these processes in the context of zymophagy. We found that during acute pancreatitis, mitochondrial O2 consumption and ATP production significantly decreased early after induction of acute pancreatitis, with a consequent decrease in the ATP/O ratio. Mitochondrial dysfunction was accompanied by changes in mitochondrial dynamics evidenced by optic atrophy 1 (OPA-1) and dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP-1) differential expression and ultrastructural features of mitochondrial fission, mitochondrial elongation, and mitophagy during the acute phase of experimental mild pancreatitis in rats. Mitophagy was also evaluated by confocal assay after transfection with the pMITO-RFP-GFP plasmid that specifically labels autophagic degradation of mitochondria and the expression and redistribution of the ubiquitin ligase Parkin1. Moreover, we report for the first time that vacuole membrane protein-1 (VMP1) is involved and required in the mitophagy process during acute pancreatitis, observable not only by repositioning around specific mitochondrial populations, but also by detection of mitochondria in autophagosomes specifically isolated with anti-VMP1 antibodies as well. Also, VMP1 downregulation avoided mitochondrial degradation confirming that VMP1 expression is required for mitophagy during acute pancreatitis. In conclusion, we identified a novel DRP1-Parkin1-VMP1 selective autophagy pathway, which mediates the selective degradation of damaged mitochondria by mitophagy in acute pancreatitis. The understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved to restore mitochondrial function, such as mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy, could be relevant in the development of novel therapeutic strategies in acute pancreatitis.
    Keywords:  DRP1; Parkin1; VMP1; autophagy; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial function; mitophagy; pancreatitis
  2. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Apr 06. 12(4): 358
      Mitochondria are indispensable organelles for maintaining cell energy metabolism, and also are necessary to retain cell biological function by transmitting information as signal organelles. Hypoxia, one of the important cellular stresses, can directly regulates mitochondrial metabolites and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mROS), which affects the nuclear gene expression through mitochondrial retrograde signal pathways, and also promotes the delivery of signal components into cytoplasm, causing cellular injury. In addition, mitochondria can also trigger adaptive mechanisms to maintain mitochondrial function in response to hypoxia. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), as a medium of information transmission between cells, can change the biological effects of receptor cells by the release of cargo, including nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, mitochondria, and their compositions. The secretion of EVs increases in cells under hypoxia, which indirectly changes the mitochondrial function through the uptake of contents by the receptor cells. In this review, we focus on the mitochondrial regulation indirectly through EVs under hypoxia, and the possible mechanisms that EVs cause the changes in mitochondrial function. Finally, we discuss the significance of this EV-mitochondria axis in hypoxic diseases.
  3. Sci Adv. 2021 Apr;pii: eabg4544. [Epub ahead of print]7(15):
      The serine/threonine kinase ULK1 mediates autophagy initiation in response to various cellular stresses, and genetic deletion of ULK1 leads to accumulation of damaged mitochondria. Here we identify Parkin, the core ubiquitin ligase in mitophagy, and PARK2 gene product mutated in familial Parkinson's disease, as a ULK1 substrate. Recent studies uncovered a nine residue ("ACT") domain important for Parkin activation, and we demonstrate that AMPK-dependent ULK1 rapidly phosphorylates conserved serine108 in the ACT domain in response to mitochondrial stress. Phosphorylation of Parkin Ser108 occurs maximally within five minutes of mitochondrial damage, unlike activation of PINK1 and TBK1, which is observed thirty to sixty minutes later. Mutation of the ULK1 phosphorylation sites in Parkin, genetic AMPK or ULK1 depletion, or pharmacologic ULK1 inhibition, all lead to delays in Parkin activation and defects in assays of Parkin function and downstream mitophagy events. These findings reveal an unexpected first step in the mitophagy cascade.
  4. PLoS Biol. 2021 Apr 07. 19(4): e3001166
      Neural stem cell (NSC) transplantation induces recovery in animal models of central nervous system (CNS) diseases. Although the replacement of lost endogenous cells was originally proposed as the primary healing mechanism of NSC grafts, it is now clear that transplanted NSCs operate via multiple mechanisms, including the horizontal exchange of therapeutic cargoes to host cells via extracellular vesicles (EVs). EVs are membrane particles trafficking nucleic acids, proteins, metabolites and metabolic enzymes, lipids, and entire organelles. However, the function and the contribution of these cargoes to the broad therapeutic effects of NSCs are yet to be fully understood. Mitochondrial dysfunction is an established feature of several inflammatory and degenerative CNS disorders, most of which are potentially treatable with exogenous stem cell therapeutics. Herein, we investigated the hypothesis that NSCs release and traffic functional mitochondria via EVs to restore mitochondrial function in target cells. Untargeted proteomics revealed a significant enrichment of mitochondrial proteins spontaneously released by NSCs in EVs. Morphological and functional analyses confirmed the presence of ultrastructurally intact mitochondria within EVs with conserved membrane potential and respiration. We found that the transfer of these mitochondria from EVs to mtDNA-deficient L929 Rho0 cells rescued mitochondrial function and increased Rho0 cell survival. Furthermore, the incorporation of mitochondria from EVs into inflammatory mononuclear phagocytes restored normal mitochondrial dynamics and cellular metabolism and reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory markers in target cells. When transplanted in an animal model of multiple sclerosis, exogenous NSCs actively transferred mitochondria to mononuclear phagocytes and induced a significant amelioration of clinical deficits. Our data provide the first evidence that NSCs deliver functional mitochondria to target cells via EVs, paving the way for the development of novel (a)cellular approaches aimed at restoring mitochondrial dysfunction not only in multiple sclerosis, but also in degenerative neurological diseases.
  5. EMBO Rep. 2021 Apr 06. e51532
      Ferroptosis has recently attracted much interest because of its relevance to human diseases such as cancer and ischemia-reperfusion injury. We have reported that prolonged severe cold stress induces lipid peroxidation-dependent ferroptosis, but the upstream mechanism remains unknown. Here, using genome-wide CRISPR screening, we found that a mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake regulator, mitochondrial calcium uptake 1 (MICU1), is required for generating lipid peroxide and subsequent ferroptosis under cold stress. Furthermore, the gatekeeping activity of MICU1 through mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) is suggested to be indispensable for cold stress-induced ferroptosis. MICU1 is required for mitochondrial Ca2+ increase, hyperpolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), and subsequent lipid peroxidation under cold stress. Collectively, these findings suggest that the MICU1-dependent mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis-MMP hyperpolarization axis is involved in cold stress-induced lipid peroxidation and ferroptosis.
    Keywords:  CRISPR screening; Ca2+; MICU1; cold stress-induced ferroptosis; mitochondria
  6. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2021 Mar 31. pii: S0003-9861(21)00103-X. [Epub ahead of print]703 108853
      Generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS), lipid peroxidation, 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, and heat-shock protein (HSP) 47 after electron and X-ray irradiations were detected in the human neuroblastoma cell line SK-N-SH. After 10 Gy electron irradiation and 15 Gy X-ray irradiation, mitochondrial ROS production and lipid peroxidation were significantly increased. Additionally, we observed a significant increase in the levels of HSP47 after 3 and 10 Gy electron irradiation as well as 15 Gy X-ray irradiation. Furthermore, myristoylation and farnesylation were increased after 10 Gy electron and 15 Gy X-ray irradiations. We found that the level of HSP47 increased in the mitochondria after 10 Gy electron and 15 Gy X-ray irradiations. HSP47 coexisted with myristoylation and farnesylation. Furthermore, HSP47 overexpression increased mitochondrial ROS production. These results suggest that HSP47 plays an important role in mitochondria and induces mitochondrial ROS production in SK-N-SH cells.
    Keywords:  Electron and X-ray irradiation; Farnesylation; HSP47; Mitochondria; Myristoylation; Reactive oxygen species
  7. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 636295
      Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death and global health problems worldwide. Multiple factors are known to affect the cardiovascular system from lifestyles, genes, underlying comorbidities, and age. Requiring high workload, metabolism of the heart is largely dependent on continuous power supply via mitochondria through effective oxidative respiration. Mitochondria not only serve as cellular power plants, but are also involved in many critical cellular processes, including the generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and regulating cellular survival. To cope with environmental stress, mitochondrial function has been suggested to be essential during bioenergetics adaptation resulting in cardiac pathological remodeling. Thus, mitochondrial dysfunction has been advocated in various aspects of cardiovascular pathology including the response to ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, hypertension (HTN), and cardiovascular complications related to type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). Therefore, mitochondrial homeostasis through mitochondrial dynamics and quality control is pivotal in the maintenance of cardiac health. Impairment of the segregation of damaged components and degradation of unhealthy mitochondria through autophagic mechanisms may play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of various cardiac disorders. This article provides in-depth understanding of the current literature regarding mitochondrial remodeling and dynamics in cardiovascular diseases.
    Keywords:  cardiovascular disease; diabetic cardiomyopathy; hypertension; ischemic heart; mitochondria; mitochondrial haplogroup; mitophagy; nucleus
  8. Curr Clin Microbiol Rep. 2020 Dec;7(4): 115-123
      Purpose of Review: Metabolic rewiring of the host cell is required for optimal viral replication. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) has been observed to manipulate numerous mitochondrial functions. In this review, we describe the strategies and targets HCMV uses to control different aspects of mitochondrial function.Recent Findings: The mitochondria are instrumental in meeting the biosynthetic and bioenergetic needs of HCMV replication. This is achieved through altered metabolism and signaling pathways. Morphological changes mediated through biogenesis and fission/fusion dynamics contribute to strategies to avoid cell death, overcome oxidative stress, and maximize the biosynthetic and bioenergetic outputs of mitochondria.
    Summary: Emerging data suggests that cytomegalovirus relies on intact, functional host mitochondria for optimal replication. HCMV large size and slow replication kinetics create a dependency on mitochondria during replication. Targeting the host mitochondria is an attractive antiviral target.
    Keywords:  CMV; ETC; Membrane potential; Mitochondria; Oxidative phosphorylation; ROS
  9. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 16. pii: e2019046118. [Epub ahead of print]118(11):
      The brain requires continuously high energy production to maintain ion gradients and normal function. Mitochondria critically undergird brain energetics, and mitochondrial abnormalities feature prominently in neuropsychiatric disease. However, many unique aspects of brain mitochondria composition and function are poorly understood. Developing improved neuroprotective therapeutics thus requires more comprehensively understanding brain mitochondria, including accurately delineating protein composition and channel-transporter functional networks. However, obtaining pure mitochondria from the brain is especially challenging due to its distinctive lipid and cell structure properties. As a result, conflicting reports on protein localization to brain mitochondria abound. Here we illustrate this problem with the neuropsychiatric disease-associated L-type calcium channel Cav1.2α1 subunit previously observed in crude mitochondria. We applied a dual-process approach to obtain functionally intact versus compositionally pure brain mitochondria. One branch utilizes discontinuous density gradient centrifugation to isolate semipure mitochondria suitable for functional assays but unsuitable for protein localization because of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contamination. The other branch utilizes self-forming density gradient ultracentrifugation to remove ER and yield ultrapure mitochondria that are suitable for investigating protein localization but functionally compromised. Through this process, we evaluated brain mitochondria protein content and observed the absence of Cav1.2α1 and other previously reported mitochondrial proteins, including the NMDA receptor, ryanodine receptor 1, monocarboxylate transporter 1, excitatory amino acid transporter 1, and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase. Conversely, we confirmed mitochondrial localization of several plasma membrane proteins previously reported to also localize to mitochondria. We expect this dual-process isolation procedure will enhance understanding of brain mitochondria in both health and disease.
    Keywords:  channel; mitochondria; neuropsychiatric disease; solute carrier; transporter
  10. FEBS Lett. 2021 Apr 10.
      Mitochondria play a key role in cellular signalling, metabolism and energetics. Proper architecture and remodelling of the inner mitochondrial membrane are essential for efficient respiration, apoptosis and quality control in the cell. Several protein complexes including mitochondrial contact site and cristae organising system (MICOS), F1 FO -ATP synthase, and Optic Atrophy 1 (OPA1), facilitate formation, maintenance and stability of cristae membranes. MICOS, the F1 FO -ATP synthase, OPA1 and inner membrane phospholipids such as cardiolipin and phosphatidylethanolamine interact with each other to organise the inner membrane ultra-structure and remodel cristae in response to the cell's demands. Functional alterations in these proteins or in the biosynthesis pathway of cardiolipin and phosphatidylethanolamine result in an aberrant inner membrane architecture and impair mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial dysfunction and abnormalities hallmark several human conditions and diseases including neurodegeneration, cardiomyopathies and diabetes mellitus. Yet, they have long been regarded as secondary pathological effects. This review discusses emerging evidence of a direct relationship between protein- and lipid-dependent regulation of the inner mitochondrial membrane morphology and diseases such as fatal encephalopathy, Leigh syndrome, Parkinson's disease, and cancer.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; MICOS; Mitochondria; Opa1; membrane dynamics; membrane morphology; mitochondrial morphology; mitochondrial ultra-structure
  11. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Apr 01. pii: S0891-5849(21)00196-9. [Epub ahead of print]168 55-69
      The paper examines the molecular mechanisms of the cytotoxicity of conjugates of betulinic acid with the penetrating cation F16. The in vitro experiments on rat thymocytes revealed that all the obtained F16-betulinic acid derivatives showed more than 10-fold higher cytotoxicity as compared to betulinic acid and F16. In this case, 0.5-1 μM of all conjugates showed mitochondria-targeted action, inducing superoxide overproduction and reducing the mitochondrial potential of cells. Experiments on isolated rat liver mitochondria revealed the ability of conjugates to dose-dependently reduce the membrane potential of organelles, as well as the intensity of respiration and oxidative phosphorylation, which is also accompanied by an increase in the production of hydrogen peroxide by mitochondria. It was shown that these actions of derivatives may be due to several effects: the reversion of ATP synthase, changes in the activity of complexes of the respiratory chain and permeabilization of the inner mitochondrial membrane. All compounds also demonstrated the ability to induce aggregation of isolated rat liver mitochondria. Using the model of lecithin liposomes, we found that the F6 conjugate (2 μM) induces the permeability of vesicle membranes for the fluorescent probe sulforhodamine B. High concentrations (25 μM) of the F6 derivative have been found to induce dynamic processes in the liposome membrane leading to aggregation and/or fusion of vesicle membranes. The paper discusses the relationship between the mitochondria-targeted effects of F16-betulinic acid conjugates and their cytotoxicity.
    Keywords:  Betulinic acid; F16; Liposomes; Membrane aggregation; Mitochondria; Oxidative phosphorylation; ROS; Thymocytes
  12. Nat Commun. 2021 04 07. 12(1): 2091
      Complex animals build specialised muscles to match specific biomechanical and energetic needs. Hence, composition and architecture of sarcomeres and mitochondria are muscle type specific. However, mechanisms coordinating mitochondria with sarcomere morphogenesis are elusive. Here we use Drosophila muscles to demonstrate that myofibril and mitochondria morphogenesis are intimately linked. In flight muscles, the muscle selector spalt instructs mitochondria to intercalate between myofibrils, which in turn mechanically constrain mitochondria into elongated shapes. Conversely in cross-striated leg muscles, mitochondria networks surround myofibril bundles, contacting myofibrils only with thin extensions. To investigate the mechanism causing these differences, we manipulated mitochondrial dynamics and found that increased mitochondrial fusion during myofibril assembly prevents mitochondrial intercalation in flight muscles. Strikingly, this causes the expression of cross-striated muscle specific sarcomeric proteins. Consequently, flight muscle myofibrils convert towards a partially cross-striated architecture. Together, these data suggest a biomechanical feedback mechanism downstream of spalt synchronizing mitochondria with myofibril morphogenesis.
  13. Nat Metab. 2021 Apr 08.
      Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+) is vital to produce NADPH, a principal supplier of reducing power for biosynthesis of macromolecules and protection against oxidative stress. NADPH exists in separate pools, in both the cytosol and mitochondria; however, the cellular functions of mitochondrial NADPH are incompletely described. Here, we find that decreasing mitochondrial NADP(H) levels through depletion of NAD kinase 2 (NADK2), an enzyme responsible for production of mitochondrial NADP+, renders cells uniquely proline auxotrophic. Cells with NADK2 deletion fail to synthesize proline, due to mitochondrial NADPH deficiency. We uncover the requirement of mitochondrial NADPH and NADK2 activity for the generation of the pyrroline-5-carboxylate metabolite intermediate as the bottleneck step in the proline biosynthesis pathway. Notably, after NADK2 deletion, proline is required to support nucleotide and protein synthesis, making proline essential for the growth and proliferation of NADK2-deficient cells. Thus, we highlight proline auxotrophy in mammalian cells and discover that mitochondrial NADPH is essential to enable proline biosynthesis.
  14. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 611922
      Mitochondria are crucial bioenergetics powerhouses and biosynthetic hubs within cells, which can generate and sequester toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) in response to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress-stimulated ROS production results in ATP depletion and the opening of mitochondrial permeability transition pores, leading to mitochondria dysfunction and cellular apoptosis. Mitochondrial loss of function is also a key driver in the acquisition of a senescence-associated secretory phenotype that drives senescent cells into a pro-inflammatory state. Maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis is crucial for retaining the contractile phenotype of the vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), the most prominent cells of the vasculature. Loss of this contractile phenotype is associated with the loss of mitochondrial function and a metabolic shift to glycolysis. Emerging evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction may play a direct role in vascular calcification and the underlying pathologies including (1) impairment of mitochondrial function by mineral dysregulation i.e., calcium and phosphate overload in patients with end-stage renal disease and (2) presence of increased ROS in patients with calcific aortic valve disease, atherosclerosis, type-II diabetes and chronic kidney disease. In this review, we discuss the cause and consequence of mitochondrial dysfunction in vascular calcification and underlying pathologies; the role of autophagy and mitophagy pathways in preventing mitochondrial dysfunction during vascular calcification and finally we discuss mitochondrial ROS, DRP1, and HIF-1 as potential novel markers and therapeutic targets for maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis in vascular calcification.
    Keywords:  VSMCs; calcification; mitochondria; mitophagy; oxidative phoshorylation
  15. Redox Biol. 2021 Mar 31. pii: S2213-2317(21)00099-9. [Epub ahead of print]41 101951
      Sulforaphane (SFN) is a phytochemical compound extracted from cruciferous plants, like broccoli or cauliflower. Its isothiocyanate group renders SFN reactive, thus allowing post-translational modification of cellular proteins to regulate their function with the potential for biological and therapeutic actions. SFN and stabilized variants recently received regulatory approval for clinical studies in humans for the treatment of neurological disorders and cancer. Potential unwanted side effects of SFN on heart function have not been investigated yet. The present study characterizes the impact of SFN on cardiomyocyte contractile function in cardiac preparations from neonatal rat, adult mouse and human induced-pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. This revealed a SFN-mediated negative inotropic effect, when administered either acutely or chronically, with an impairment of the Frank-Starling response to stretch activation. A direct effect of SFN on myofilament function was excluded in chemically permeabilized mouse trabeculae. However, SFN pretreatment increased lactate formation and enhanced the mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species accompanied by a significant reduction in the mitochondrial membrane potential. Transmission electron microscopy revealed disturbed sarcomeric organization and inflated mitochondria with whorled membrane shape in response to SFN exposure. Interestingly, administration of the alternative energy source l-glutamine to the medium that bypasses the uptake route of pyruvate into the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid cycle improved force development in SFN-treated EHTs, suggesting indeed mitochondrial dysfunction as a contributor of SFN-mediated contractile dysfunction. Taken together, the data from the present study suggest that SFN might impact negatively on cardiac contractility in patients with cardiovascular co-morbidities undergoing SFN supplementation therapy. Therefore, cardiac function should be monitored regularly to avoid the onset of cardiotoxic side effects.
    Keywords:  Contractile and mitochondrial function; Engineered heart tissue; Sulforaphane
  16. Cell Rep. 2021 Apr 06. pii: S2211-1247(21)00256-4. [Epub ahead of print]35(1): 108942
      Metabolic support was long considered to be the only developmental function of hematopoiesis, a view that is gradually changing. Here, we disclose a mechanism triggered during neurulation that programs brain development by donation of sacrificial yolk sac erythroblasts to neuroepithelial cells. At embryonic day (E) 8.5, neuroepithelial cells transiently integrate with the endothelium of yolk sac blood vessels and cannibalize intravascular erythroblasts as transient heme-rich endosymbionts. This cannibalistic behavior instructs precocious neuronal differentiation of neuroepithelial cells in the proximity of blood vessels. By experiments in vitro, we show that access to erythroblastic heme accelerates the pace of neurogenesis by induction of a truncated neurogenic differentiation program from a poised state. Mechanistically, the poised state is invoked by activation of the mitochondrial electron transport chain that leads to amplified production of reactive oxygen species in addition to omnipresent guanosine triphosphate (GTP) with consequential upregulation of pro-differentiation β-catenin.
    Keywords:  cannibalization; erythroblasts; heme; mitochondria; neurogenesis; neurulation; yolk sac
  17. J Cell Physiol. 2021 Apr 06.
      Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to osteoarthritis (OA) onset and progress. Mitochondrial dynamics, coupled with mitophagy, is critical for the maintenance of mitochondrial fitness, involving many cellular processes, such as proliferation and apoptosis. Excessive mechanical stress induces chondrocyte apoptosis; however, the effects of mechanical stress on mitochondrial dynamics remain elusive. In this study, we performed fluorescence staining, flow cytometry, transmission electron microscope, Western blot analysis, and RNA-sequencing to assess the effects of different strength of mechanical stimulation on mitochondrial functions of chondrocyte treated with interleukin-1β (IL-1β). We found that moderate mechanical stress reduced the IL-1β-induced apoptosis by maintaining mitochondrial function and scavenging the reactive oxygen species, while excessive mechanical stress induced strong mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis. Moreover, RNAsequencing revealed that mitophagy and mitochondrial dynamics were involved in the regulation of mechanical stress on chondrocyte biology. In addition to the elevated mitophagy, moderate mechanical stress also promoted mitochondrial dynamics by enhancing the expression of MFN1/2 and OPA1 and the translocation of dynamin-related protein 1 from the cytoplasm to the mitochondria. However, an uncoupling of mitochondrial dynamics, characterized by strongly elevated fission, resulted in the unfavorable apoptosis of excessive mechanical stress-stimulated chondrocytes. This study revealed the effects of mechanical stress upon mitochondrial dynamics in chondrocyte.
    Keywords:  mechanical stress; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrion; osteoarthritis
  18. FEBS J. 2021 Apr 09.
      Mitochondrial dysfunction mediated by CCCP (carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenyl hydrazone), an inhibitor of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, evokes the integrated stress response (ISR), which is analyzed here by eIF2α phosphorylation and expression profiles of ATF4 and CHOP proteins. Our findings suggest that the CCCP-induced ISR pathway is mediated by activation of HRI kinase, but not by GCN2, PERK, or PKR. Also, CCCP activates AMPK, a cellular energy sensor, and AKT, a regulator implicated in cell survival, and suppresses phosphorylation of mTORC1 substrates eIF4E-BP1 and S6K. CCCP also downregulates translation and promotes autophagy, leading to non-caspase-mediated cell death in HepG2 cells. All these events are neutralized by NAC, an anti-ROS, suggesting that CCCP-induced mitochondrial dysfunction promotes oxidative stress. ISRIB, an inhibitor of the ISR pathway, mitigates CCCP-induced expression of ATF4 and CHOP, activation of AKT, and autophagy, similar to NAC. However, it fails to reverse CCCP-induced AMPK activation, suggesting that CCCP-induced autophagy is dependent on ISR and independent of AMPK activation. ISRIB restores partly, inhibition in eIF4E-BP1 phosphorylation, promotes eIF2α phosphorylation, albeit slowly, and mitigates suppression of translation accordingly, in CCCP-treated cells. These findings are consistent with the idea that CCCP-induced oxidative stress leading to eIF2α phosphorylation and ATF4 expression, which is known to stimulate genes involved in autophagy, play a pro-survival role together with AKT activation and regulate mTOR-mediated eIF4E-BP1 phosphorylation.
    Keywords:  AKT; AMPK; ISRIB; Mitochondrial dysfunction; UPR; eIF4E-BP1
  19. mBio. 2021 04 06. pii: e00540-21. [Epub ahead of print]12(2):
      Pyruvate is the final metabolite of glycolysis and can be converted into acetyl coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) in mitochondria, where it is used as the substrate for the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Pyruvate availability in mitochondria depends on its active transport through the heterocomplex formed by the mitochondrial pyruvate carriers 1 and 2 (MPC1/MPC2). We report here studies on MPC1/MPC2 of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease. Endogenous tagging of T. cruzi MPC1 (TcMPC1) and TcMPC2 with 3×c-Myc showed that both encoded proteins colocalize with MitoTracker to the mitochondria of epimastigotes. Individual knockout (KO) of TcMPC1 and TcMPC2 genes using CRISPR/Cas9 was confirmed by PCR and Southern blot analyses. Digitonin-permeabilized TcMPC1-KO and TcMPC2-KO epimastigotes showed reduced O2 consumption rates when pyruvate, but not succinate, was used as the mitochondrial substrate, while α-ketoglutarate increased their O2 consumption rates due to an increase in α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase activity. Defective mitochondrial pyruvate import resulted in decreased Ca2+ uptake. The inhibitors UK5099 and malonate impaired pyruvate-driven oxygen consumption in permeabilized control cells. Inhibition of succinate dehydrogenase by malonate indicated that pyruvate needs to be converted into succinate to increase respiration. TcMPC1-KO and TcMPC2-KO epimastigotes showed little growth differences in standard or low-glucose culture medium. However, the ability of trypomastigotes to infect tissue culture cells and replicate as intracellular amastigotes was decreased in TcMPC-KOs. Overall, T. cruzi MPC1 and MPC2 are essential for cellular respiration in the presence of pyruvate, invasion of host cells, and replication of amastigotes.IMPORTANCE Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of Chagas disease. Pyruvate is the end product of glycolysis, and its transport into the mitochondrion is mediated by the mitochondrial pyruvate carrier (MPC) subunits. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 technique, we generated individual T. cruzi MPC1 (TcMPC1) and TcMPC2 knockouts and demonstrated that they are essential for pyruvate-driven respiration. Interestingly, although glycolysis was reported as not an important source of energy for the infective stages, MPC was essential for normal host cell invasion and intracellular replication.
    Keywords:  Trypanosoma cruzi; mitochondria; oxygen consumption; pyruvate carrier
  20. Front Genet. 2021 ;12 636294
      It has been postulated that mitochondrial dysfunction has a significant role in the underlying pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BD). Mitochondrial functioning plays an important role in regulating synaptic transmission, brain function, and cognition. Neuronal activity is energy dependent and neurons are particularly sensitive to changes in bioenergetic fluctuations, suggesting that mitochondria regulate fundamental aspects of brain function. Vigorous evidence supports the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in the etiology of BD, including dysregulated oxidative phosphorylation, general decrease of energy, altered brain bioenergetics, co-morbidity with mitochondrial disorders, and association with genetic variants in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes. Despite these advances, the underlying etiology of mitochondrial dysfunction in BD is unclear. A plausible evolutionary explanation is that mitochondrial-nuclear (mitonuclear) incompatibility leads to a desynchronization of machinery required for efficient electron transport and cellular energy production. Approximately 1,200 genes, encoded from both nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, are essential for mitochondrial function. Studies suggest that mitochondrial and nuclear genomes co-evolve, and the coordinated expression of these interacting gene products are essential for optimal organism function. Incompatibilities between mtDNA and nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes results in inefficiency in electron flow down the respiratory chain, differential oxidative phosphorylation efficiency, increased release of free radicals, altered intracellular Ca2+ signaling, and reduction of catalytic sites and ATP production. This review explores the role of mitonuclear incompatibility in BD susceptibility and resilience against environmental stressors.
    Keywords:  bipolar disorder; epistasis; genetics; mitonuclear coadaptation; mitonuclear coevolution; mitonuclear incompatibility; mitonuclear interaction
  21. Cell Rep. 2021 Apr 06. pii: S2211-1247(21)00250-3. [Epub ahead of print]35(1): 108936
      Most mitochondrial proteins are synthesized as precursors in the cytosol and post-translationally transported into mitochondria. The mitochondrial surface protein Tom70 acts at the interface of the cytosol and mitochondria. In vitro import experiments identified Tom70 as targeting receptor, particularly for hydrophobic carriers. Using in vivo methods and high-content screens, we revisit the question of Tom70 function and considerably expand the set of Tom70-dependent mitochondrial proteins. We demonstrate that the crucial activity of Tom70 is its ability to recruit cytosolic chaperones to the outer membrane. Indeed, tethering an unrelated chaperone-binding domain onto the mitochondrial surface complements most of the defects caused by Tom70 deletion. Tom70-mediated chaperone recruitment reduces the proteotoxicity of mitochondrial precursor proteins, particularly of hydrophobic inner membrane proteins. Thus, our work suggests that the predominant function of Tom70 is to tether cytosolic chaperones to the outer mitochondrial membrane, rather than to serve as a mitochondrion-specifying targeting receptor.
    Keywords:  Tom70; chaperones; mitochondria; outer membrane; protein translocation; proteostasis; prototoxicity
  22. Sci Transl Med. 2021 Apr 07. pii: eabb0319. [Epub ahead of print]13(588):
      Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common muscular dystrophy, and despite advances in genetic and pharmacological disease-modifying treatments, its management remains a major challenge. Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to DMD, yet the mechanisms by which this occurs remain elusive. Our data in experimental models and patients with DMD show that reduced expression of genes involved in mitochondrial autophagy, or mitophagy, contributes to mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitophagy markers were reduced in skeletal muscle and in muscle stem cells (MuSCs) of a mouse model of DMD. Administration of the mitophagy activator urolithin A (UA) rescued mitophagy in DMD worms and mice and in primary myoblasts from patients with DMD, increased skeletal muscle respiratory capacity, and improved MuSCs' regenerative ability, resulting in the recovery of muscle function and increased survival in DMD mouse models. These data indicate that restoration of mitophagy alleviates symptoms of DMD and suggest that UA may have potential therapeutic applications for muscular dystrophies.