bims-mireme Biomed News
on Mitochondria in regenerative medicine
Issue of 2021‒03‒21
ten papers selected by
Brian Spurlock
University of Alabama at Birmingham

  1. SLAS Discov. 2021 Mar 16. 24725552211000671
      There is a critical need to develop high-throughput assays to identify compounds that offer therapy for individuals suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. Most brain disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases, share the common neuropathology of mitochondria dysfunction, which can lead to apoptosis of neurons, overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and other cellular neuropathologies characteristic of these diseases. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with a stable genomic insertion of the neurogenin-2 transcription factor under the control of the TetOn promoter can be differentiated into excitatory human neurons (i3Neurons) within 3 days of exposure to doxycycline. These neurons have been used to develop and validate a live-cell assay for parameters of mitochondrial dynamics and function using two compounds known to promote mitochondrial elongation in mouse neurons, 4-hydroxychalcone and 2,4-dihyrdroxychalcone. The assay involves plating the neurons in 384-well microtiter plates, treating them with known or unknown substances, and then capturing morphological information for the neuronal mitochondria using a lentivirus vector to express a mitochondrial-targeted fluorescence reporter. The i3Neuron cultures exposed to these two compounds for 24 h exhibit significantly decreased circularity and significantly increased length compared to controls, two morphological parameters correlated with increased mitochondrial health. The assay is rapid, with results obtained after a one-week-long i3Neuron culture or one month if neurons are co-cultured with astrocytes. This live-cell, mitochondrial phenotypic assay can be used for high-throughput screening or as an orthogonal assay for compounds obtained via other high-throughput screening campaigns.
    Keywords:  high-throughput assay; human neuron; iPSC; mitochondria
  2. Dev Neurobiol. 2021 Mar 16.
      Mitochondria are cellular organelles involved in generating energy to power various processes in the cell. Although the pivotal role of mitochondria in neurogenesis was demonstrated (first in animal models), very little is known about their role in human embryonic neurodevelopment and its pathology. In this respect human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) derived cerebral organoids provide a tractable, alternative model system of the early neural development and disease, that is responsive to pharmacological and genetic manipulations, not possible to apply in humans. Although the involvement of mitochondria in the pathogenesis and progression of neurodegenerative diseases and brain dysfunction has been demonstrated, the precise role they play in cell life and death remains unknown, compromising the development of new mitochondria-targeted approaches to treat human diseases. The cerebral organoid model of neurogenesis and disease in vitro provides an unprecedented opportunity to answer some of the most fundamental questions about mitochondrial function in early human neurodevelopment and neural pathology. Largely an unexplored territory due to the lack of tools and approaches, this review focuses on recent technological advancements in fluorescent and molecular tools, imaging systems, and computational approaches for quantitative and qualitative analysis of mitochondrial structure and function in three-dimensional cellular assemblies - cerebral organoids. Future developments in this direction will further facilitate our understanding of the important role or mitochondrial dynamics and energy requirements during early embryonic development. This in turn will provide a further understanding of how dysfunctional mitochondria contribute to disease processes.
    Keywords:  Cerebral Organoids; computational models; mitochondria imaging; mitochondrial dyes; reporter fluorescent proteins
  3. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2021 Mar 16. pii: S1084-9521(21)00030-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria were described as early as 1890 as ubiquitous intracellular structures by Ernster and Schatz (1981) [1]. Since then, the accretion of knowledge in the past century has revealed much of the molecular details of mitochondria, ranging from mitochondrial origin, structure, metabolism, genetics, and signaling, and their implications in health and disease. We now know that mitochondria are remarkably multifunctional and deeply intertwined with many vital cellular processes. They are quasi-self organelles that still possess remnants of its bacterial ancestry, including an independent genome. The mitochondrial free radical theory of aging (MFRTA), which postulated that aging is a product of oxidative damage to mitochondrial DNA, provided a conceptual framework that put mitochondria on the map of aging research. However, several studies have more recently challenged the general validity of the theory, favoring novel ideas based on emerging evidence to understand how mitochondria contribute to aging and age-related diseases. One prominent topic of investigation lies on the fact that mitochondria are not only production sites for bioenergetics and macromolecules, but also regulatory hubs that communicate and coordinate many vital physiological processes at the cellular and organismal level. The bi-directional communication and coordination between the co-evolved mitochondrial and nuclear genomes is especially interesting in terms of cellular regulation. Mitochondria are dynamic and adaptive, rendering their function sensitive to cellular context. Tissues with high energy demands, such as the brain, seem to be uniquely affected by age-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction, providing a foundation for the development of novel mitochondrial-based therapeutics and diagnostics.
    Keywords:  Aging; Communication; Genomic instability; Immunity; Inflammation; Longevity; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial-derived peptides; Mitonuclear; Oxidative stress
  4. Blood Adv. 2021 Mar 23. 5(6): 1706-1718
      Blood platelets are essential for controlling hemostasis. They are released by megakaryocytes (MKs) located in the bone marrow, upon extension of cytoplasmic protrusions into the lumen of bone marrow sinusoids. Their number increases in postpulmonary capillaries, suggesting a role for oxygen gradient in thrombopoiesis (ie, platelet biogenesis). In this study, we show that initiation of thrombopoiesis from human mature MKs was enhanced under hyperoxia or during pro-oxidant treatments, whereas antioxidants dampened it. Quenching mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) with MitoTEMPO decreased thrombopoiesis, whereas genetically enhancing mtROS by deacetylation-null sirtuin-3 expression increased it. Blocking cytosolic ROS production by NOX inhibitors had no impact. Classification according to the cell roundness index delineated 3 stages of thrombopoiesis in mature MKs. Early-stage round MKs exhibited the highest index, which correlated with low mtROS levels, a mitochondrial tubular network, and the mitochondrial recruitment of the fission activator Drp1. Intermediate MKs at the onset of thrombopoiesis showed high mtROS levels and small, well-delineated mitochondria. Terminal MKs showed the lowest roundness index and long proplatelet extensions. Inhibiting Drp1-dependent mitochondrial fission of mature MKs by Mdivi-1 favored a tubular mitochondrial network and lowered both mtROS levels and intermediate MKs proportion, whereas enhancing Drp1 activity genetically had opposite effects. Reciprocally, quenching mtROS limited mitochondrial fission in round MKs. These data demonstrate a functional coupling between ROS and mitochondrial fission in MKs, which is crucial for the onset of thrombopoiesis. They provide new molecular cues that control initiation of platelet biogenesis and may help elucidate some unexplained thrombocytopenia.
  5. Anal Chem. 2021 Mar 17.
      Temperature in mitochondria can be a critical indicator of cell metabolism. Given the highly dynamic and inhomogeneous nature of mitochondria, it remains a big challenge to quantitatively monitor the local temperature changes during different cellular processes. To implement this task, we extend our strategy on mitochondria-anchored thermometers from "on-off" probe Mito-TEM to a ratiometric probe Mito-TEM 2.0 based on the Förster resonance energy transfer mechanism. Mito-TEM 2.0 exhibits not only a sensitive response to temperature through the ratiometric changes of dual emissions but also the specific immobilization in mitochondria via covalent bonds. Both characters support accurate and reliable detection of local temperature for a long time, even in malfunctioning mitochondria. By applying Mito-TEM 2.0 in fluorescence ratiometric imaging of cells and zebrafishes, we make a breakthrough in the quantitative visualization of mitochondrial temperature rises in different inflammation states.
  6. Analyst. 2021 Mar 15.
      Accurate and specific analysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) expression levels in living cells can provide valuable information for understanding cell metabolism, physiological activities and pathologic mechanisms. Herein, DNA nanolantern-based split aptamer nanoprobes are prepared and demonstrated to work well for in situ analysis of ATP expression in living cells. The nanoprobes, which carry multiple split aptamer units on the surface, are easily and inexpensively prepared by a "one-pot" assembly reaction of four short oligonucleotide strands. A series of characterization experiments verify that the nanoprobes have good monodispersity, strong biostability, high cell internalization efficiency, and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based ratiometric response to ATP in the concentration range covering the entire intracellular ATP expression level. By changing the intracellular ATP level via different treatments, the nanoprobes are demonstrated to show excellent performance in intracellular ATP expression analysis, giving a highly ATP concentration-dependent ratiometric fluorescence signal output. ATP-induced formation of large-sized DNA aggregates not only amplifies the FRET signal output, but also makes in situ ATP-imaging analysis in living cells possible. In situ responsive crosslinking of nanoprobes also makes them capable of lighting up the mitochondria of living cells. By simply changing the split aptamer sequence, the proposed DNA nanolantern-based split aptamer strategy might be easily extended to other targets.
  7. Mutagenesis. 2021 Mar 19. pii: geab011. [Epub ahead of print]
      Previous studies have indicated important roles for NIMA-related kinase 1 (NEK1) in modulating DNA damage checkpoints and DNA repair capacity. To broadly assess the contributions of NEK1 to genotoxic stress and mitochondrial functions, we characterized several relevant phenotypes of NEK1 CRISPR knockout (KO) and WT HAP1 cells. Our studies revealed that NEK1 KO cells resulted in increased apoptosis and hypersensitivity to the alkylator methyl methanesulfonate, the radiomimetic bleomycin, and UVC light, yet increased resistance to the crosslinker cisplatin. Mitochondrial functionalities were also altered in NEK1 KO cells, with phenotypes of reduced mitophagy, increased total mitochondria, elevated levels of reactive oxygen species, impaired complex I activity, and higher amounts of mitochondrial DNA damage. RNA-seq transcriptome analysis coupled with qRT-PCR studies comparing NEK1 KO cells with NEK1 overexpressing cells revealed that the expression of genes involved in DNA repair pathways, such as base excision repair, nucleotide excision repair, and double-strand break repair, are altered in a way that might influence genotoxin resistance. Together, our studies underline and further support that NEK1 serves as a hub signaling kinase in response to DNA damage, modulating DNA repair capacity, mitochondrial activity and cell fate determination.
    Keywords:  DNA Damage; DNA Repair; Mitochondria; NEK1
  8. FEBS Lett. 2021 Mar 20.
      In animals, mitochondria are mainly organised into an interconnected tubular network extending across the cell along a cytoskeletal scaffold. Mitochondrial fission and fusion, as well as distribution along cytoskeletal tracks, are counterbalancing mechanisms acting in concert to maintain a mitochondrial network tuned to cellular function. Balanced mitochondrial dynamics permits quality control of the network including biogenesis and turnover, distribution of mtDNA, and are tuned to metabolic status. Cellular and organismal health relies on a delicate balance between fission and fusion and large rearrangements in the mitochondrial network can be seen in response to cellular insults and disease. Indeed, dysfunction in the major components of the fission and fusion machineries including Dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), Mitofusins 1 and 2 (MFN1, MFN2) and Optic atrophy protein 1 (OPA1) and ensuing imbalance of mitochondrial dynamics can lead to neurodegenerative disease. Altered mitochondrial dynamics is also seen in more common diseases. In this review, the machinery involved in mitochondrial dynamics and their dysfunction in disease will be discussed.
    Keywords:  membrane dynamics; mitochondria; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrial fission; mitochondrial fusion; organelles; oxidative phosphorylation
  9. Cytotherapy. 2021 Mar 13. pii: S1465-3249(20)30848-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      With the redefinition of osteoarthritis (OA) and the understanding that the joint behaves as an organ, OA is now considered a systemic illness with a low grade of chronic inflammation. Mitochondrial dysfunction is well documented in OA and has the capacity to alter chondrocyte and synoviocyte function. Transmitochondrial cybrids are suggested as a useful cellular model to study mitochondrial biology in vitro, as they carry different mitochondrial variants with the same nuclear background. The aim of this work was to study mitochondrial and metabolic function of cybrids with mitochondrial DNA from healthy (N) and OA donors. In this work, the authors demonstrate that cybrids from OA patients behave differently from cybrids from N donors in several mitochondrial parameters. Furthermore, OA cybrids behave similarly to OA chondrocytes. These results enhance our understanding of the role of mitochondria in the degeneration process of OA and present cybrids as a useful model to study OA pathogenesis.
    Keywords:  chondrocytes; cybrids; metabolism; mitochondria; mtDNA; osteoarthritis
  10. Wellcome Open Res. 2020 ;5 226
      Mitochondrial vitality is critical to cellular function, with mitochondrial dysfunction linked to a growing number of human diseases. Tissue and cellular heterogeneity, in terms of genetics, dynamics and function means that increasingly mitochondrial research is conducted at the single cell level. Whilst there are several technologies that are currently available for single-cell analysis, each with their advantages, they cannot be easily adapted to study mitochondria with subcellular resolution. Here we review the current techniques and strategies for mitochondrial isolation, critically discussing each technology's limitations for future mitochondrial research. Finally, we highlight and discuss the recent breakthroughs in sub-cellular isolation techniques, with a particular focus on nanotechnologies that enable the isolation of mitochondria from subcellular compartments. This allows isolation of mitochondria with unprecedented spatial precision with minimal disruption to mitochondria and their immediate cellular environment.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; heterogeneity; mitochondrial isolation; mtDNA; nanobiopsy; nanoprobes; nanotweezers.; subcellular