bims-mitdis Biomed News
on Mitochondrial Disorders
Issue of 2021‒02‒21
fifty papers selected by
Catalina Vasilescu
University of Helsinki

  1. Nat Commun. 2021 02 18. 12(1): 1135
      While >300 disease-causing variants have been identified in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymerase γ, no mitochondrial phenotypes have been associated with POLRMT, the RNA polymerase responsible for transcription of the mitochondrial genome. Here, we characterise the clinical and molecular nature of POLRMT variants in eight individuals from seven unrelated families. Patients present with global developmental delay, hypotonia, short stature, and speech/intellectual disability in childhood; one subject displayed an indolent progressive external ophthalmoplegia phenotype. Massive parallel sequencing of all subjects identifies recessive and dominant variants in the POLRMT gene. Patient fibroblasts have a defect in mitochondrial mRNA synthesis, but no mtDNA deletions or copy number abnormalities. The in vitro characterisation of the recombinant POLRMT mutants reveals variable, but deleterious effects on mitochondrial transcription. Together, our in vivo and in vitro functional studies of POLRMT variants establish defective mitochondrial transcription as an important disease mechanism.
  2. J Pathol. 2021 Feb 14.
      Mitochondria play essential roles in numerous metabolic pathways including the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate through oxidative phosphorylation. Clinically, mitochondrial diseases occur when there is mitochondrial dysfunction - manifesting at any age and affecting any organ system; tissues with high energy requirements, such as muscle and the brain, are often affected. The clinical heterogeneity is parallel to the degree of genetic heterogeneity associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. Around 10% of human genes are predicted to have a mitochondrial function, and defects in over 300 genes are reported to cause mitochondrial disease. Some involve the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA), but the vast majority occur within the nuclear genome. Except for a few specific genetic defects, there remains no cure for mitochondrial diseases which means that a genetic diagnosis is imperative for genetic counselling and the provision of reproductive options for at-risk families. Next-generation sequencing strategies, particularly exome and whole-genome sequencing, have revolutionised mitochondrial diagnostics such that the traditional muscle biopsy has largely been replaced with a minimally-invasive blood sample for an unbiased approach to genetic diagnosis. Where these genomic approaches have not identified a causative defect, or where there is insufficient support for pathogenicity, additional functional investigations are required. The application of supplementary 'omics' technologies, including transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics, has the potential to greatly improve diagnostic strategies. This review aims to demonstrate that, whilst a molecular diagnosis can be achieved for many cases through next-generation sequencing of blood DNA, the use of patient tissues and an integrated, multidisciplinary multi-omics approach is pivotal for diagnosing more challenging cases. Moreover, the analysis of clinically-relevant tissues from affected individuals remains crucial for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying mitochondrial pathology. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Mitochondrial pathology; genetic diagnosis; genomics; metabolomics; mitochondrial disease; proteomics
  3. Neurobiol Dis. 2021 Feb 11. pii: S0969-9961(21)00049-8. [Epub ahead of print] 105300
      Ganglioside-induced differentiation associated protein 1 (GDAP1) gene encodes a protein of the mitochondrial outer membrane and of the mitochondrial membrane contacts with the endoplasmic reticulum (MAMs) and lysosomes. Since mutations in GDAP1 cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth, an inherited motor and sensory neuropathy, its function is essential for peripheral nerve physiology. Our previous studies showed structural and functional defects in mitochondria and their contacts when GDAP1 is depleted. Nevertheless, the underlying axonal pathophysiological events remain unclear. Here, we have used embryonic motor neurons (eMNs) cultures from Gdap1 knockout (Gdap1-/-) mice to investigate in vivo mitochondria and calcium homeostasis in the axons. We imaged mitochondrial axonal transport and we found a defective pattern in the Gdap1-/- eMNs. We also detected pathological and functional mitochondria membrane abnormalities with a drop in ATP production and a deteriorated bioenergetic status. Another consequence of the loss of GDAP1 in the soma and axons of eMNs was the in vivo increase calcium levels in both basal conditions and during recovery after neuronal stimulation with glutamate. Further, we found that glutamate-stimulation of respiration was lower in Gdap1-/- eMNs showing that the basal bioenergetics failure jeopardizes a full respiratory response and prevents a rapid return of calcium to basal levels. Together, our results demonstrate that the loss of GDAP1 critically compromises the morphology and function of mitochondria and its relationship with calcium homeostasis in the soma and axons, offering important insight into the cellular mechanisms associated with axonal degeneration of GDAP1-related CMT neuropathies and the relevance that axon length may have.
    Keywords:  Axon; Bioenergetics; Calcium; Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease; Embryonic motor neurons; GDAP1; Mitochondria
  4. Nat Commun. 2021 Feb 19. 12(1): 1190
      DddA-derived cytosine base editors (DdCBEs), composed of the split interbacterial toxin DddAtox, transcription activator-like effector (TALE), and uracil glycosylase inhibitor (UGI), enable targeted C-to-T base conversions in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Here, we demonstrate highly efficient mtDNA editing in mouse embryos using custom-designed DdCBEs. We target the mitochondrial gene, MT-ND5 (ND5), which encodes a subunit of NADH dehydrogenase that catalyzes NADH dehydration and electron transfer to ubiquinone, to obtain several mtDNA mutations, including m.G12918A associated with human mitochondrial diseases and m.C12336T that incorporates a premature stop codon, creating mitochondrial disease models in mice and demonstrating a potential for the treatment of mitochondrial disorders.
  5. Sci Adv. 2021 Feb;pii: eabf0717. [Epub ahead of print]7(8):
      Induction of the one-carbon cycle is an early hallmark of mitochondrial dysfunction and cancer metabolism. Vital intermediary steps are localized to mitochondria, but it remains unclear how one-carbon availability connects to mitochondrial function. Here, we show that the one-carbon metabolite and methyl group donor S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) is pivotal for energy metabolism. A gradual decline in mitochondrial SAM (mitoSAM) causes hierarchical defects in fly and mouse, comprising loss of mitoSAM-dependent metabolites and impaired assembly of the oxidative phosphorylation system. Complex I stability and iron-sulfur cluster biosynthesis are directly controlled by mitoSAM levels, while other protein targets are predominantly methylated outside of the organelle before import. The mitoSAM pool follows its cytosolic production, establishing mitochondria as responsive receivers of one-carbon units. Thus, we demonstrate that cellular methylation potential is required for energy metabolism, with direct relevance for pathophysiology, aging, and cancer.
  6. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2021 Feb 16.
      Mitochondria are cellular organelles responsible for generation of chemical energy in the process called oxidative phosphorylation. They originate from a bacterial ancestor and maintain their own genome, which is expressed by designated, mitochondrial transcription and translation machineries that differ from those operating for nuclear gene expression. In particular, the mitochondrial protein synthesis machinery is structurally and functionally very different from that governing eukaryotic, cytosolic translation. Despite harbouring their own genetic information, mitochondria are far from being independent of the rest of the cell and, conversely, cellular fitness is closely linked to mitochondrial function. Mitochondria depend heavily on the import of nuclear-encoded proteins for gene expression and function, and hence engage in extensive inter-compartmental crosstalk to regulate their proteome. This connectivity allows mitochondria to adapt to changes in cellular conditions and also mediates responses to stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. With a focus on mammals and yeast, we review fundamental insights that have been made into the biogenesis, architecture and mechanisms of the mitochondrial translation apparatus in the past years owing to the emergence of numerous near-atomic structures and a considerable amount of biochemical work. Moreover, we discuss how cellular mitochondrial protein expression is regulated, including aspects of mRNA and tRNA maturation and stability, roles of auxiliary factors, such as translation regulators, that adapt mitochondrial translation rates, and the importance of inter-compartmental crosstalk with nuclear gene expression and cytosolic translation and how it enables integration of mitochondrial translation into the cellular context.
  7. Cell Calcium. 2021 Feb 01. pii: S0143-4160(21)00018-X. [Epub ahead of print]95 102364
      Human mitochondria are complex and highly dynamic biological systems, comprised of over a thousand parts and evolved to fully integrate into the specialized intracellular signaling networks and metabolic requirements of each cell and organ. Over the last two decades, several complementary, top-down computational and experimental approaches have been developed to identify, characterize and modulate the human mitochondrial system, demonstrating the power of integrating classical reductionist and discovery-driven analyses in order to de-orphanize hitherto unknown molecular components of mitochondrial machineries and pathways. To this goal, systematic, multiomics-based surveys of proteome composition, protein networks, and phenotype-to-pathway associations at the tissue, cell and organellar level have been largely exploited to predict the full complement of mitochondrial proteins and their functional interactions, therefore catalyzing data-driven hypotheses. Collectively, these multidisciplinary and integrative research approaches hold the potential to propel our understanding of mitochondrial biology and provide a systems-level framework to unraveling mitochondria-mediated and disease-spanning pathomechanisms.
    Keywords:  Functional associations; Integrative analyses; Mitochondrial system; Multiomics approaches
  8. Cell Metab. 2021 Feb 09. pii: S1550-4131(21)00013-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      The architecture of cristae provides a spatial mitochondrial organization that contains functional respiratory complexes. Several protein components including OPA1 and MICOS complex subunits organize cristae structure, but upstream regulatory mechanisms are largely unknown. Here, in vivo and in vitro reconstitution experiments show that the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) kinase PERK promotes cristae formation by increasing TOM70-assisted mitochondrial import of MIC19, a critical subunit of the MICOS complex. Cold stress or β-adrenergic stimulation activates PERK that phosphorylates O-linked N-acetylglucosamine transferase (OGT). Phosphorylated OGT glycosylates TOM70 on Ser94, enhancing MIC19 protein import into mitochondria and promoting cristae formation and respiration. In addition, PERK-activated OGT O-GlcNAcylates and attenuates CK2α activity, which mediates TOM70 Ser94 phosphorylation and decreases MIC19 mitochondrial protein import. We have identified a cold-stress inter-organelle PERK-OGT-TOM70 axis that increases cell respiration through mitochondrial protein import and subsequent cristae formation. These studies have significant implications in cellular bioenergetics and adaptations to stress conditions.
    Keywords:  MIC19; PERK-OGT axis; TOM70; brown adipocytes; cold stress; cristae biogenesis; mitochondrial protein import; respiration
  9. J Transl Med. 2021 Feb 16. 19(1): 71
      Skeletal muscle aging is associated with a decline in motor function and loss of muscle mass- a condition known as sarcopenia. The underlying mechanisms that drive this pathology are associated with a failure in energy generation in skeletal muscle, either from age-related decline in mitochondrial function, or from disuse. To an extent, lifelong exercise is efficacious in preserving the energetic properties of skeletal muscle and thus may delay the onset of sarcopenia. This review discusses the cellular and molecular changes in skeletal muscle mitochondria during the aging process and how different exercise modalities work to reverse these changes. A key factor that will be described is the efficiency of mitochondrial coupling-ATP production relative to O2 uptake in myocytes and how that efficiency is a main driver for age-associated decline in skeletal muscle function. With that, we postulate the most effective exercise modality and protocol for reversing the molecular hallmarks of skeletal muscle aging and staving off sarcopenia. Two other concepts pertinent to mitochondrial efficiency in exercise-trained skeletal muscle will be integrated in this review, including- mitophagy, the removal of dysfunctional mitochondrial via autophagy, as well as the implications of muscle fiber type changes with sarcopenia on mitochondrial function.
    Keywords:  Aging; Exercise; Mitochondria; Skeletal muscle
  10. Biochem Soc Trans. 2021 Feb 18. pii: BST20190232. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are pivotal for normal cellular physiology, as they perform a crucial role in diverse cellular functions and processes, including respiration and the regulation of bioenergetic and biosynthetic pathways, as well as regulating cellular signalling and transcriptional networks. In this way, mitochondria are central to the cell's homeostatic machinery, and as such mitochondrial dysfunction underlies the pathology of a diverse range of diseases including mitochondrial disease and cancer. Mitochondrial import pathways and targeting mechanisms provide the means to transport into mitochondria the hundreds of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins that are critical for the organelle's many functions. One such import pathway is the highly evolutionarily conserved disulfide relay system (DRS) within the mitochondrial intermembrane space (IMS), whereby proteins undergo a form of oxidation-dependent protein import. A central component of the DRS is the oxidoreductase coiled-coil-helix-coiled-coil-helix (CHCH) domain-containing protein 4 (CHCHD4, also known as MIA40), the human homologue of yeast Mia40. Here, we summarise the recent advances made to our understanding of the role of CHCHD4 and the DRS in physiology and disease, with a specific focus on the emerging importance of CHCHD4 in regulating the cellular response to low oxygen (hypoxia) and metabolism in cancer.
    Keywords:  CHCHD4; cancer; disulfide relay system; hypoxia; metabolism; mitochondria; mitochondrial import; oxidoreductase
  11. Hum Mutat. 2021 Feb 18.
      Hereditary lower motor neuron diseases (LMND) other than 5q-spinal muscular atrophy (5q-SMA) can be classified according to affected muscle groups. Proximal and distal forms of non-5q-SMA represent a clinically and genetically heterogeneous spectrum characterized by significant overlaps with axonal forms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. A consensus for the best approach to molecular diagnosis needs to be reached, especially in the light of continuous novel gene discovery and falling costs of next generation sequencing (NGS). We performed exome sequencing (ES) in 41 families presenting with non-5q-SMA or axonal CMT, 25 of which had undergone a previous negative neuromuscular disease (NMD) gene panel analysis. The total diagnostic yield of ES was 41%. Diagnostic success in the cohort with a previous NMD-panel analysis was significantly extended by ES, primarily due to novel gene associated-phenotypes and uncharacteristic phenotypic presentations. We recommend early ES for individuals with hereditary LMND presenting uncharacteristic or significantly overlapping features. As mitochondrial dysfunction was the underlying pathomechanism in 47% of the solved individuals, we highlight the sensitivity of the anterior horn cell and peripheral nerve to mitochondrial imbalance as well as the necessity to screen for mitochondrial disorders in individuals presenting predominant lower motor neuron symptoms. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  axonal CMT; exome sequencing; hereditary neuropathy; lower motor neuron disease; mitochondrial dysfunction; non-5q-SMA
  12. Mitochondrion. 2021 Feb 10. pii: S1567-7249(21)00008-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Inside mitochondria reside semi-autonomous genomes, called mtDNA. mtDNA is multi-copy per cell and mtDNA copy number can vary from hundreds to thousands of copies per cell. The variability of mtDNA copy number between tissues, combined with the lack of variability of copy number within a tissue, suggest a homeostatic copy number regulation mechanism. Mutations in the gene encoding the Caenorhabditis elegans hydroxylase, CLK-1, result in elevated mtDNA. CLK-1's canonical role in ubiquinone biosynthesis results in clk-1 mutants lacking ubiquinone. Importantly, clk-1 mutants also exhibit slowed biological timing phenotypes (pharyngeal pumping, defecation, development) and an activated stress response (UPRmt). These biological timing and stress phenotypes have been attributed to ubiquinone deficiency; however, it is unknown whether the mtDNA phenotype is also due to ubiquinone deficiency. To test this, in animals carrying the uncharacterized clk-1(ok1247) mutant allele, we supplemented with an exogenous ubiquinone precursor 2-4-dihydroxybenzoate (DHB), which has previously been shown to restore ubiquinone biosynthesis. We measured phenotypes as a function of DHB across a log-scale range. Unlike the biological timing and stress phenotypes, the elevated mtDNA phenotype was not rescued. Since CLK-1's canonical role is in ubiquinone biosynthesis and DHB does not rescue mtDNA copy number, we infer CLK-1 has an additional function in homeostatic mtDNA copy number regulation.
    Keywords:  2-4-dihydroxybenzoate; CLK-1; COQ-7; Mitochondrial DNA; copy number; ubiquinone
  13. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Feb 15. 12(2): 182
      In this work, we have explored the subcellular localization of Bcl2, a major antiapoptotic protein. In U251 glioma cells, we found that Bcl2 is localized mainly in the ER and is translocated to MAM and mitochondria upon induction of apoptosis; this mitochondrial transfer was not restricted to the demonstrator cell line, even if cell-specific modulations exist. We found that the Bcl2/mitochondria interaction is controlled by TOM20, a protein that belongs to the protein import machinery of the mitochondrial outer membrane. The expression of a small domain of interaction of TOM20 with Bcl2 potentiates its anti-apoptotic properties, which suggests that the Bcl2-TOM20 interaction is proapoptotic. The role of MAM and TOM20 in Bcl2 apoptotic mitochondrial localization and function has been confirmed in a yeast model in which the ER-mitochondria encounter structure (ERMES) complex (required for MAM stability in yeast) has been disrupted. Bcl2-TOM20 interaction is thus an additional player in the control of apoptosis.
  14. Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2021 Feb 09. pii: S1353-8020(21)00043-2. [Epub ahead of print]84 98-104
      INTRODUCTION: Mitochondrial membrane protein-associated neurodegeneration (MPAN) is a rare neurological syndrome caused by pathogenic variants in the C19orf12 and is characterized by iron deposition in the basal ganglia and substantia nigra. Only a limited number of cohort studies were published to date and the prevalence of MPAN remains uncertain.METHODS: Recruited subjects with MPAN in Russia were diagnosed by whole-exome sequencing or Sanger sequencing of the C19orf12 gene. Data of over 14000 whole exome sequencing analyses was used to calculate the estimated disease frequency. RNA analysis was performed by RT-PCR. QSVanalyzer software was used to quantify the allelic disbalance.
    RESULTS: We describe the clinical and molecular characterizations of 17 patients with MPAN. DNA analysis detected three previously undescribed pathogenic/likely pathogenic variants in the C19orf12 gene. The estimated disease frequency was calculated to be 1:619150. We describe unusual clinical observations in several cases. One patient showed severe neurogenic muscle weakness along with a lack of marked spasticity or optic nerve atrophy. In another mild clinical case with the NM_001031726.3:c.204_214del (p.(Gly69Argfs*10)) variant in a heterozygous state, a marked allelic disbalance was observed on the RNA level with reduced expression level of the wild-type allele. Thus, this case became the first one of a possible regulatory variant causing MPAN.
    CONCLUSION: We reported a detailed clinical and molecular characterization of the third-largest MPAN cohort. We expanded the mutational and clinical spectrum of MPAN. Moreover, we calculated the estimated MPAN frequency in the Russian population for the first time.
    Keywords:  MPAN; MRI; NBIA; Pathogenic variants; Russian cohort
  15. Front Genet. 2020 ;11 598760
      Inborn errors of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation (FAO) comprise the most common group of disorders identified through expanded newborn screening mandated in all 50 states in the United States, affecting 1:10,000 newborns. While some of the morbidity in FAO disorders (FAODs) can be reduced if identified through screening, a significant gap remains between the ability to diagnose these disorders and the ability to treat them. At least 25 enzymes and specific transport proteins are responsible for carrying out the steps of mitochondrial fatty acid metabolism, with at least 22 associated genetic disorders. Common symptoms in long chain FAODs (LC-FAODs) in the first week of life include cardiac arrhythmias, hypoglycemia, and sudden death. Symptoms later in infancy and early childhood may relate to the liver or cardiac or skeletal muscle dysfunction, and include fasting or stress-related hypoketotic hypoglycemia or Reye-like syndrome, conduction abnormalities, arrhythmias, dilated or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and muscle weakness or fasting- and exercise-induced rhabdomyolysis. In adolescent or adult-onset disease, muscular symptoms, including rhabdomyolysis, and cardiomyopathy predominate. Unfortunately, progress in developing better therapeutic strategies has been slow and incremental. Supplementation with medium chain triglyceride (MCT; most often a mixture of C8-12 fatty acids containing triglycerides) oil provides a fat source that can be utilized by patients with long chain defects, but does not eliminate symptoms. Three mitochondrial metabolic pathways are required for efficient energy production in eukaryotic cells: oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), FAO, and the tricarboxylic (TCA) cycle, also called the Krebs cycle. Cell and mouse studies have identified a deficiency in TCA cycle intermediates in LC-FAODs, thought to be due to a depletion of odd chain carbon compounds in patients treated with a predominantly MCT fat source. Triheptanoin (triheptanoyl glycerol; UX007, Ultragenyx Pharmaceuticals) is chemically composed of three heptanoate (seven carbon fatty acid) molecules linked to glycerol through ester bonds that has the potential to replete TCA cycle intermediates through production of both acetyl-CoA and propionyl-CoA through medium chain FAO. Compassionate use, retrospective, and recently completed prospective studies demonstrate significant reduction of hypoglycemic events and improved cardiac function in LC-FAOD patients, but a less dramatic effect on muscle symptoms.
    Keywords:  anaplerosis; energy metabolism; fatty acid oxidation; fatty acid oxidation disorders; inborn errors of metabolism; metabolomics; tricarboxylic acid cycle; very long chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase
  16. EMBO Rep. 2021 Feb 15. e51635
      Mitochondria possess a small genome that codes for core subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation system and whose expression is essential for energy production. Information on the regulation and spatial organization of mitochondrial gene expression in the cellular context has been difficult to obtain. Here we devise an imaging approach to analyze mitochondrial translation within the context of single cells, by following the incorporation of clickable non-canonical amino acids. We apply this method to multiple cell types, including specialized cells such as cardiomyocytes and neurons, and monitor with spatial resolution mitochondrial translation in axons and dendrites. We also show that translation imaging allows to monitor mitochondrial protein expression in patient fibroblasts. Approaching mitochondrial translation with click chemistry opens new avenues to understand how mitochondrial biogenesis is integrated into the cellular context and can be used to assess mitochondrial gene expression in mitochondrial diseases.
    Keywords:  gene expression; hippocampal neuron; mitochondria; synapse; translation
  17. Biochim Biophys Acta Gen Subj. 2021 Feb 16. pii: S0304-4165(21)00033-7. [Epub ahead of print] 129874
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondria, which play a critical role in energy production by oxidative respiration, are highly dynamic organelles and their double membranes undergo frequent cycles of fusion and fission. Mitochondria are believed to be derived from the endosymbiosis of proteobacteria, and thus mitochondria still contain their own DNA, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Recently, the morphology and distribution of the mitochondrial membrane and mtDNA were reported to be cooperatively regulated during their dynamic movement. However, the molecular mechanism is unclear, because the involved molecules are poorly understood, and suitable techniques to analyze nucleoids have not been fully developed.RESULTS: To solve these problems, we examined the molecular mechanism of nucleoid dynamics by two approaches. First, we constructed a new probe to perform live imaging of nucleoid dynamics using the DNA-binding domain of transcription factor A of mitochondria (TFAM) and the photo-convertible fluorescent protein Kikume Green-Red (KikGR). Nucleoids were visualized stably for a long period of time using the new probe. Second, we searched for nucleoid regulation factors by small interfering RNA screening using HeLa cells, and identified a subset of MARCH family ubiquitin ligases that affect nucleoid morphology.
    CONCLUSION: The factors and probe reported in this study should be useful to reveal novel mechanisms of mitochondrial regulation.
    GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: The mtDNA dynamics should be concerned in the regulation of mitochondrial activity and quality control, concomitant with mitochondrial membrane dynamics.
    Keywords:  Live imaging; Mitochondrial fission; Mitochondrial fusion; Mitochondrial nucleoids; mtDNA dynamics; mtDNA probe
  18. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 615038
      Mitochondrial dysfunction is common to many organ system disorders, including skeletal muscle. Aging muscle and diseases of muscle are often accompanied by defective mitochondrial ATP production. This manuscript will focus on the pre-clinical evidence supporting the use of regular exercise to improve defective mitochondrial metabolism and function in skeletal muscle, through the stimulation of mitochondrial turnover. Examples from aging muscle, muscle-specific mutations and cancer cachexia will be discussed. We will also examine the effects of exercise on the important mitochondrial regulators PGC-1α, and Parkin, and summarize the effects of exercise to reverse mitochondrial dysfunction (e.g., ROS production, apoptotic susceptibility, cardiolipin synthesis) in muscle pathology. This paper will illustrate the breadth and benefits of exercise to serve as "mitochondrial medicine" with age and disease.
    Keywords:  aging; cancer; exercise as medicine; mitochondrial quality control; skeletal muscle
  19. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2021 Feb 16.
      Over 80 human diseases have been attributed to defects in complex lipid metabolism. A majority of them have been reported recently in the setting of rapid advances in genomic technology and their increased use in clinical settings. Lipids are ubiquitous in human biology and play roles in many cellular and intercellular processes. While inborn errors in lipid metabolism can affect every organ system with many examples of genetic heterogeneity and pleiotropy, the clinical manifestations of many of these disorders can be explained based on the disruption of the metabolic pathway involved. In this review, we will discuss the physiological function of major pathways in complex lipid metabolism, including non-lysosomal sphingolipid metabolism, acylceramide metabolism, de novo phospholipid synthesis, phospholipid remodeling, phosphatidylinositol metabolism, mitochondrial cardiolipin synthesis and remodeling, and ether lipid metabolism as well as common clinical phenotypes associated with each. Corresponding author name: Carlos R. Ferreira, This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  Complex Lipids; Mitochondrial Membrane Biogenesis; Phosphoinositides; Phospholipids; Sphingolipids
  20. PLoS Comput Biol. 2021 Feb 19. 17(2): e1007784
      Rare variants are thought to play an important role in the etiology of complex diseases and may explain a significant fraction of the missing heritability in genetic disease studies. Next-generation sequencing facilitates the association of rare variants in coding or regulatory regions with complex diseases in large cohorts at genome-wide scale. However, rare variant association studies (RVAS) still lack power when cohorts are small to medium-sized and if genetic variation explains a small fraction of phenotypic variance. Here we present a novel Bayesian rare variant Association Test using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximation (BATI). Unlike existing RVAS tests, BATI allows integration of individual or variant-specific features as covariates, while efficiently performing inference based on full model estimation. We demonstrate that BATI outperforms established RVAS methods on realistic, semi-synthetic whole-exome sequencing cohorts, especially when using meaningful biological context, such as functional annotation. We show that BATI achieves power above 70% in scenarios in which competing tests fail to identify risk genes, e.g. when risk variants in sum explain less than 0.5% of phenotypic variance. We have integrated BATI, together with five existing RVAS tests in the 'Rare Variant Genome Wide Association Study' (rvGWAS) framework for data analyzed by whole-exome or whole genome sequencing. rvGWAS supports rare variant association for genes or any other biological unit such as promoters, while allowing the analysis of essential functionalities like quality control or filtering. Applying rvGWAS to a Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia study we identified eight candidate predisposition genes, including EHMT2 and COPS7A.
  21. Hum Mol Genet. 2021 Feb 18. pii: ddab043. [Epub ahead of print]
      The human ATP synthase is an assembly of 29 subunits of 18 different types, of which only two (a and 8) are encoded in the mitochondrial genome. Subunit a, together with an oligomeric ring of c-subunit (c-ring), forms the proton pathway responsible for the transport of protons through the mitochondrial inner membrane, coupled to rotation of the c-ring and ATP synthesis. Neuromuscular diseases have been associated to a number of mutations in the gene encoding subunit a, ATP6. The most common, m.8993 T > G, leads to replacement of a strictly conserved leucine residue with arginine (aL156R). We previously showed that the equivalent mutation (aL173R) dramatically compromises respiratory growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and causes a 90% drop in the rate of mitochondrial ATP synthesis. Here we isolated revertants from the aL173R strain that show improved respiratory growth. Four first-site reversions at codon 173 (aL173M, aL173S, aL173K, and aL173W) and five second-site reversions at another codon (aR169M, aR169S, aA170P, aA170G, and aI216S) were identified. Based on the atomic structures of yeast ATP synthase and the biochemical properties of the revertant strains, we propose that the aL173R mutation is responsible for unfavorable electrostatic interactions that prevent the release of protons from the c-ring into a channel from which protons move from the c-ring to the mitochondrial matrix. The results provide further evidence that yeast aL173 (and thus human aL156) optimizes the exit of protons from ATP synthase, but is not essential despite its strict evolutionnary conservation.
  22. Mol Biol Cell. 2021 Feb 17. mbcE20110748
      For the biogenesis of mitochondria, hundreds of proteins need to be targeted from the cytosol into the various compartments of this organelle. The intramitochondrial targeting routes these proteins take to reach their respective location in the organelle are well understood. However, the early targeting processes, from cytosolic ribosomes to the membrane of the organelle, are still largely unknown. In this study, we present evidence that an integral membrane protein of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Ema19, plays a role in this process. Mutants lacking Ema19 show an increased stability of mitochondrial precursor proteins, indicating that Ema19 promotes the proteolytic degradation of non-productive precursors. The deletion of Ema19 improves the growth of respiration-deficient cells, suggesting that Ema19-mediated degradation can compete with productive protein import into mitochondria. Ema19 is the yeast representative of a conserved protein family. The human Ema19 homolog is known as sigma 2 receptor or TMEM97. Though its molecular function is not known, previous studies suggested a role of the sigma 2 receptor as a quality control factor in the ER, compatible with our observations about Ema19. More globally, our data provide an additional demonstration of the important role of the ER in mitochondrial protein targeting.
  23. Pediatr Res. 2021 Jan 27.
      BACKGROUND: There has been a growing interest in the association between mitochondrial dysfunction and sepsis. However, most studies have focused on mitochondrial structural damage, functional aspects, or the clinical phenotypes in sepsis. The purpose of this study was to evaluate mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) gene mutations in critically ill pediatric patients with septic shock.METHOD: Thirteen patients with severe sepsis or septic shock admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) of a tertiary children's hospital were enrolled in this prospective observational study. Clinical data from electronic medical records were obtained. Whole-blood samples were collected within 24 h of PICU admission to perform PBMC isolation, mtDNA extraction, and mtDNA sequencing using next-generation sequencing.
    RESULTS: mtDNA sequencing revealed mutations in 9 of the 13 patients, presenting 27 point mutations overall, with 15 (55.6%) located in the locus related to adenosine triphosphate production and superoxide metabolism, including electron transport.
    CONCLUSION: In this pilot study, significant numbers of mtDNA point mutations were detected in critically ill pediatric patients with septic shock. These mutations could provide promising evidence for mitochondrial dysfunction in sepsis and a basis for further large-scale studies.
    IMPACT: This study is the first to examine mitochondrial DNA mutations in pediatric patients with septic shock using next-generation sequencing. A high frequency of mitochondrial DNA mutations was detected in these patients indicating an association with septic shock. This pilot study may provide a potential explanation for the association between mitochondrial dysfunction and septic shock on a genetic basis.
  24. Science. 2021 Feb 19. 371(6531): 846-849
      Mitochondrial ribosomes (mitoribosomes) are tethered to the mitochondrial inner membrane to facilitate the cotranslational membrane insertion of the synthesized proteins. We report cryo-electron microscopy structures of human mitoribosomes with nascent polypeptide, bound to the insertase oxidase assembly 1-like (OXA1L) through three distinct contact sites. OXA1L binding is correlated with a series of conformational changes in the mitoribosomal large subunit that catalyze the delivery of newly synthesized polypeptides. The mechanism relies on the folding of mL45 inside the exit tunnel, forming two specific constriction sites that would limit helix formation of the nascent chain. A gap is formed between the exit and the membrane, making the newly synthesized proteins accessible. Our data elucidate the basis by which mitoribosomes interact with the OXA1L insertase to couple protein synthesis and membrane delivery.
  25. Nature. 2021 02;590(7846): 480-485
      Obesity increases the risk of mortality because of metabolic sequelae such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease1. Thermogenesis by adipocytes can counteract obesity and metabolic diseases2,3. In thermogenic fat, creatine liberates a molar excess of mitochondrial ADP-purportedly via a phosphorylation cycle4-to drive thermogenic respiration. However, the proteins that control this futile creatine cycle are unknown. Here we show that creatine kinase B (CKB) is indispensable for thermogenesis resulting from the futile creatine cycle, during which it traffics to mitochondria using an internal mitochondrial targeting sequence. CKB is powerfully induced by thermogenic stimuli in both mouse and human adipocytes. Adipocyte-selective inactivation of Ckb in mice diminishes thermogenic capacity, increases predisposition to obesity, and disrupts glucose homeostasis. CKB is therefore a key effector of the futile creatine cycle.
  26. Nature. 2021 Jan 27.
      Many sequence variants have been linked to complex human traits and diseases1, but deciphering their biological functions remains challenging, as most of them reside in noncoding DNA. Here we have systematically assessed the binding of 270 human transcription factors to 95,886 noncoding variants in the human genome using an ultra-high-throughput multiplex protein-DNA binding assay, termed single-nucleotide polymorphism evaluation by systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SNP-SELEX). The resulting 828 million measurements of transcription factor-DNA interactions enable estimation of the relative affinity of these transcription factors to each variant in vitro and evaluation of the current methods to predict the effects of noncoding variants on transcription factor binding. We show that the position weight matrices of most transcription factors lack sufficient predictive power, whereas the support vector machine combined with the gapped k-mer representation show much improved performance, when assessed on results from independent SNP-SELEX experiments involving a new set of 61,020 sequence variants. We report highly predictive models for 94 human transcription factors and demonstrate their utility in genome-wide association studies and understanding of the molecular pathways involved in diverse human traits and diseases.
  27. Elife. 2021 Feb 16. pii: e64690. [Epub ahead of print]10
      The mitochondrial carrier family protein SLC25A3 transports both copper and phosphate in mammals yet in Saccharomyces cerevisiae the transport of these substrates is partitioned across two paralogs: PIC2 and MIR1. To understand the ancestral state of copper and phosphate transport in mitochondria, we explored the evolutionary relationships of PIC2 and MIR1 orthologs across the eukaryotic tree of life. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that PIC2-like and MIR1-like orthologs are present in all major eukaryotic supergroups, indicating an ancient gene duplication created these paralogs. To link this phylogenetic signal to protein function, we used structural modelling and site-directed mutagenesis to identify residues involved in copper and phosphate transport. Based on these analyses, we generated a L175A variant of mouse SLC25A3 that retains the ability to transport copper but not phosphate. This work highlights the utility of using an evolutionary framework to uncover amino acids involved in substrate recognition by mitochondrial carrier family proteins.
    Keywords:  S. cerevisiae; biochemistry; chemical biology; evolutionary biology; mouse
  28. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 624823
      Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is a progressive, peripheral neuropathy and the most commonly inherited neurological disorder. Clinical manifestations of CMT mutations are typically limited to peripheral neurons, the longest cells in the body. Currently, mutations in at least 80 different genes are associated with CMT and new mutations are regularly being discovered. A large portion of the proteins mutated in axonal CMT have documented roles in mitochondrial mobility, suggesting that organelle trafficking defects may be a common underlying disease mechanism. This review will focus on the potential role of altered mitochondrial mobility in the pathogenesis of axonal CMT, highlighting the conceptional challenges and potential experimental and therapeutic opportunities presented by this "impaired mobility" model of the disease.
    Keywords:  Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease; axonal transport deficiency; cytoskeleton; mitochondria; neurodegeneration; organelle transport
  29. Curr Mol Med. 2021 Feb 17.
      The aging process deteriorates organs' function at different levels, causing its progressive decline to resist stress, damage, and disease. In addition to alterations in metabolic control and gene expression, the rate of aging has been connected with the generation of high amounts of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). The essential perspective in free radical biology is that reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals are toxic, mostly cause direct biological damage to targets, and are thus a major cause of oxidative stress. Different enzymatic and non-enzymatic compounds in the cells have roles in neutralizing this toxicity. Oxidative damage in aging is mostly high in particular molecular targets, such as mitochondrial DNA and aconitase, and oxidative stress in mitochondria can cause tissue aging across intrinsic apoptosis. Mitochondria's function and morphology are impaired through aging, following a decrease in the membrane potential by an increase in peroxide generation and size of the organelles. Telomeres may be the significant trigger of replicative senescence. Oxidative stress accelerates telomere loss, whereas antioxidants slow it down. Oxidative stress is a crucial modulator of telomere shortening, and that telomere-driven replicative senescence is mainly a stress response. The age-linked mitochondrial DNA mutation and protein dysfunction aggregate in some organs like the brain and skeletal muscle, thus contributing considerably to these post-mitotic tissues' aging. The aging process is mostly due to accumulated damage done by harmful species in some macromolecules such proteins, DNA, and lipids. The degradation of non-functional, oxidized proteins is a crucial part of the antioxidant defenses of cells, in which the clearance of these proteins occurs through autophagy in the cells, which is known as mitophagy for mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Aging; Senescence; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Reactive oxygen species
  30. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 634137
      Essential hypertension (EH) is one of the most common cardiovascular diseases worldwide, entailing a high level of morbidity. EH is a multifactorial disease influenced by both genetic and environmental factors, including mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genotype. Previous studies identified mtDNA mutations that are associated with maternally inherited hypertension, including tRNAIle m.4263A>G, m.4291T>C, m.4295A>G, tRNAMet m.4435A>G, tRNAAla m.5655A>G, and tRNAMet/tRNAGln m.4401A>G, et al. These mtDNA mutations alter tRNA structure, thereby leading to metabolic disorders. Metabolic defects associated with mitochondrial tRNAs affect protein synthesis, cause oxidative phosphorylation defects, reduced ATP synthesis, and increase production of reactive oxygen species. In this review we discuss known mutations of tRNA genes encoded by mtDNA and the potential mechanisms by which these mutations may contribute to hypertension.
    Keywords:  hypertension; maternal; mtDNA; mutation; tRNA
  31. Front Genet. 2020 ;11 610386
      Genome instability is associated with myriad human diseases and is a well-known feature of both cancer and neurodegenerative disease. Until recently, the ability to assess DNA damage-the principal driver of genome instability-was limited to relatively imprecise methods or restricted to studying predefined genomic regions. Recently, new techniques for detecting DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) and single strand breaks (SSBs) with next-generation sequencing on a genome-wide scale with single nucleotide resolution have emerged. With these new tools, efforts are underway to define the "breakome" in normal aging and disease. Here, we compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of these technologies and their potential application to studying neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  DNA damage; aging; double strand break (DSB); genome instability; neurodegeneration; neurodegenerative disease; single strand break (SSB)
  32. Anesth Analg. 2021 Jan 15.
      BACKGROUND: Children with mitochondrial disease undergo anesthesia for a wide array of surgical procedures. However, multiple medications used for their perioperative care can affect mitochondrial function. Defects in function of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) can lead to a profound hypersensitivity to sevoflurane in children. We studied the sensitivities to sevoflurane, during mask induction and maintenance of general anesthesia, in children presenting for muscle biopsies for diagnosis of mitochondrial disease.METHODS: In this multicenter study, 91 children, aged 6 months to 16 years, presented to the operating room for diagnostic muscle biopsy for presumptive mitochondrial disease. General anesthesia was induced by a slow increase of inhaled sevoflurane concentration. The primary end point, end-tidal (ET) sevoflurane necessary to achieve a bispectral index (BIS) of 60, was recorded. Secondary end points were maximal sevoflurane used to maintain a BIS between 40 and 60 during the case, and maximum and minimum heart rate and blood pressures. After induction, general anesthesia was maintained according to the preferences of the providers directing the cases. Primary data were analyzed comparing data from patients with complex I deficiencies to other groups using nonparametric statistics in SPSS v.27.
    RESULTS: The median sevoflurane concentration to reach BIS of 60 during inductions (ET sevoflurane % [BIS = 60]) was significantly lower for patients with complex I defects (0.98%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.5-1.4) compared to complex II (1.95%; 95% CI, 1.2-2.7; P < .001), complex III (2.0%; 95% CI, 0.7-3.5; P < .001), complex IV (2.0%; 95% CI, 1.7-3.2; P < .001), and normal groups (2.2%; 95% CI, 1.8-3.0; P < .001). The sevoflurane sensitivities of complex I patients did not reach significance when compared to patients diagnosed with mitochondrial disease but without an identifiable ETC abnormality (P = .172). Correlation of complex I activity with ET sevoflurane % (BIS = 60) gave a Spearman's coefficient of 0.505 (P < .001). The differences in sensitivities between groups were less during the maintenance of the anesthetic than during induction.
    CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that patients with complex I dysfunction are hypersensitive to sevoflurane compared to normal patients. Hypersensitivity was less common in patients presenting with other mitochondrial defects or without a mitochondrial diagnosis.
  33. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2224 47-60
      Like bacterial and cytoplasmic ribosomes, mitoribosomes are large ribonucleoprotein complexes with molecular weights in the range of several million Daltons. Traditionally, studying the assembly of such high molecular weight complexes is done using ultracentrifugation through linear density gradients, which remains the method of choice due to its versatility and superior resolving power in the high molecular weight range. Here, we present a protocol for the analysis of mitoribosomal assembly in heart mitochondrial extracts using linear density sucrose gradients that we have previously employed to characterize the essential role of different mitochondrial proteins in mitoribosomal biogenesis. This protocol details in a stepwise manner a typical mitoribosomal assembly analysis starting with isolation of mitochondria, preparation and ultracentrifugation of the gradients, fractionation and ending with SDS-PAGE, and immunoblotting of the gradient fractions. Even though we provide an example with heart mitochondria, this protocol can be directly applied to virtually all mouse tissues, as well as cultured cells, with little to no modifications.
    Keywords:  55S; Heart-specific knockout mice; Mitoribosome; Sedimentation analysis; Sucrose gradient; mt-LSU; mt-SSU
  34. Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2021 Feb 16. 6(1): 65
      As the crucial powerhouse for cell metabolism and tissue survival, the mitochondrion frequently undergoes morphological or positional changes when responding to various stresses and energy demands. In addition to intracellular changes, mitochondria can also be transferred intercellularly. Besides restoring stressed cells and damaged tissues due to mitochondrial dysfunction, the intercellular mitochondrial transfer also occurs under physiological conditions. In this review, the phenomenon of mitochondrial transfer is described according to its function under both physiological and pathological conditions, including tissue homeostasis, damaged tissue repair, tumor progression, and immunoregulation. Then, the mechanisms that contribute to this process are summarized, such as the trigger factors and transfer routes. Furthermore, various perspectives are explored to better understand the mysteries of cell-cell mitochondrial trafficking. In addition, potential therapeutic strategies for mitochondria-targeted application to rescue tissue damage and degeneration, as well as the inhibition of tumor progression, are discussed.
  35. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Feb 23. pii: e1921481118. [Epub ahead of print]118(8):
      Behaviors that rely on the hippocampus are particularly susceptible to chronological aging, with many aged animals (including humans) maintaining cognition at a young adult-like level, but many others the same age showing marked impairments. It is unclear whether the ability to maintain cognition over time is attributable to brain maintenance, sufficient cognitive reserve, compensatory changes in network function, or some combination thereof. While network dysfunction within the hippocampal circuit of aged, learning-impaired animals is well-documented, its neurobiological substrates remain elusive. Here we show that the synaptic architecture of hippocampal regions CA1 and CA3 is maintained in a young adult-like state in aged rats that performed comparably to their young adult counterparts in both trace eyeblink conditioning and Morris water maze learning. In contrast, among learning-impaired, but equally aged rats, we found that a redistribution of synaptic weights amplifies the influence of autoassociational connections among CA3 pyramidal neurons, yet reduces the synaptic input onto these same neurons from the dentate gyrus. Notably, synapses within hippocampal region CA1 showed no group differences regardless of cognitive ability. Taking the data together, we find the imbalanced synaptic weights within hippocampal CA3 provide a substrate that can explain the abnormal firing characteristics of both CA3 and CA1 pyramidal neurons in aged, learning-impaired rats. Furthermore, our work provides some clarity with regard to how some animals cognitively age successfully, while others' lifespans outlast their "mindspans."
    Keywords:  aging; cognition; hippocampus; synapse
  36. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2021 Feb 03. pii: S1090-3798(21)00012-X. [Epub ahead of print]31 31-37
      INTRODUCTION: The phenotypic variability of NARS2 associated disease is vast, yet not thoroughly explored. We present the phenotypic and genetic features of 2 siblings with early-onset mitochondrial encephalopathy due to pathogenic variant in NARS2, along with the results from a systematic literature review.AIMS: To better delineate the phenotypic variability and natural history of NARS2 associated disease.
    METHODS: The clinical and radiological phenotype, along with the results from the morphological and biochemical investigations from the muscle biopsy as well as the postmortem investigations, where applicable, are presented. Genetic analysis was performed with next-generation sequencing.
    RESULTS: Together with these 2 patients, we have diagnosed and followed 3 Scandinavian patients with the same homozygous p. Pro214Leu variant in NARS2 who presented with phenotypic features of early-onset mitochondrial encephalopathy and variable disease course. Another 14 patients with pathogenic variants in NARS2 were identified in the literature. We found that sensorineural hearing impairment is a cardinal feature of early-onset NARS2 associated disease, either isolated or in combination with central nervous system disease. Early-onset mitochondrial encephalopathy due to NARS2 variants shared phenotypic features of Alpers or Leigh syndrome and was characterized by more severe disease course and poorer survival compared to the other NARS2 associated phenotypes.
    CONCLUSION: NARS2 variants present with a spectrum of clinical severity from a severe, infantile-onset, progressive disease to a mild, non-progressive disease, without strong association between the genotype and the disease outcome.
    Keywords:  Alpers; Encephalopathy; Epilepsy; Leigh; Mitochondrial; NARS2; tRNA
  37. Sci Transl Med. 2021 Feb 17. pii: eaav5928. [Epub ahead of print]13(581):
      The accumulation of DNA and nuclear components in blood and their recognition by autoantibodies play a central role in the pathophysiology of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Despite the efforts, the sources of circulating autoantigens in SLE are still unclear. Here, we show that in SLE, platelets release mitochondrial DNA, the majority of which is associated with the extracellular mitochondrial organelle. Mitochondrial release in patients with SLE correlates with platelet degranulation. This process requires the stimulation of platelet FcγRIIA, a receptor for immune complexes. Because mice lack FcγRIIA and murine platelets are completely devoid of receptor capable of binding IgG-containing immune complexes, we used transgenic mice expressing FcγRIIA for our in vivo investigations. FcγRIIA expression in lupus-prone mice led to the recruitment of platelets in kidneys and to the release of mitochondria in vivo. Using a reporter mouse with red fluorescent protein targeted to the mitochondrion, we confirmed platelets as a source of extracellular mitochondria driven by FcγRIIA and its cosignaling by the fibrinogen receptor α2bβ3 in vivo. These findings suggest that platelets might be a key source of mitochondrial antigens in SLE and might be a therapeutic target for treating SLE.
  38. Front Neurol. 2020 ;11 628014
      Purpose: The photopic negative response (PhNR) is an electrophysiological method that provides retinal ganglion cell function assessment using full-field stimulation that does not require clear optics or refractive correction. The purpose of this study was to assess ganglion cell function by PhNR in affected and asymptomatic carriers from Brazilian families with LHON. Methods: Individuals either under suspicion or previously diagnosed with LHON and their family members were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. Screening for the most frequent LHON mtDNA mutations was performed. Visual acuity, color discrimination, visual fields, pattern-reversal visual evoked potentials (PRVEP), full-field electroretinography and PhNR were tested. A control group of healthy subjects was included. Full-field ERG PhNR were recorded using red (640 nm) flashes at 1 cd.s/m2, on blue (470 nm) rod saturating background. PhNR amplitude (μV) was measured using baseline-to-trough (BT). Optical coherence tomography scans of both the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and ganglion cell complex (GCC) were measured. PhNR amplitudes among affected, carriers and controls were compared by Kruskal-Wallis test followed by post-hoc Dunn test. The associations between PhNR amplitude and OCT parameters were analyzed by Spearman rank correlation. Results: Participants were 24 LHON affected patients (23 males, mean age=30.5 ± 11.4 yrs) from 19 families with the following genotype: m.11778G>A [N = 15 (62%), 14 males]; m.14484T>C [N = 5 (21%), all males] and m.3460G>A [N = 4 (17%), all males] and 14 carriers [13 females, mean age: 43.2 ± 13.3 yrs; m.11778G>A (N = 11); m.3460G>A (N = 2) and m.14484T>C (N = 1)]. Controls were eight females and seven males (mean age: 32.6 ± 11.5 yrs). PhNR amplitudes were significantly reduced (p = 0.0001) in LHON affected (-5.96 ± 3.37 μV) compared to carriers (-16.53 ± 3.40 μV) and controls (-23.91 ± 4.83; p < 0.0001) and in carriers compared to controls (p = 0.01). A significant negative correlation was found between PhNR amplitude and total macular ganglion cell thickness (r = -0.62, p < 0.05). Severe abnormalities in color discrimination, visual fields and PRVEPs were found in affected and subclinical abnormalities in carriers. Conclusions: In this cohort of Brazilian families with LHON the photopic negative response was severely reduced in affected patients and mildly reduced in asymptomatic carriers suggesting possible subclinical abnormalities in the latter. These findings were similar among pathogenic mutations.
    Keywords:  electroretinography; leber's hereditary optic neuropathy; photopic negative response; retinal ganglion cell; visual evoked cortical potentials
  39. J Clin Invest. 2021 Feb 15. pii: 139496. [Epub ahead of print]131(4):
      Skeletal muscle is a major determinant of systemic metabolic homeostasis that plays a critical role in glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. By contrast, despite being a major user of fatty acids, and evidence that muscular disorders can lead to abnormal lipid deposition (e.g., nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in myopathies), our understanding of skeletal muscle regulation of systemic lipid homeostasis is not well understood. Here we show that skeletal muscle Krüppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) coordinates pathways central to systemic lipid homeostasis under basal conditions and in response to nutrient overload. Mice with skeletal muscle-specific KLF15 deletion demonstrated (a) reduced expression of key targets involved in lipid uptake, mitochondrial transport, and utilization, (b) elevated circulating lipids, (c) insulin resistance/glucose intolerance, and (d) increased lipid deposition in white adipose tissue and liver. Strikingly, a diet rich in short-chain fatty acids bypassed these defects in lipid flux and ameliorated aspects of metabolic dysregulation. Together, these findings establish skeletal muscle control of lipid flux as critical to systemic lipid homeostasis and metabolic health.
    Keywords:  Fatty acid oxidation; Metabolism; Muscle Biology; Obesity; Skeletal muscle
  40. Neuron. 2021 Jan 21. pii: S0896-6273(21)00005-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Astrocytes metabolically interact with neighboring neurons by providing multiple substances to neurons. How astrocytes regulate neural functions via altering the neuronal metabolic state remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that astrocytic ApoE vectors a variety of microRNAs (miRNAs), and these miRNAs specifically silence genes involved in neuronal cholesterol biosynthesis, ultimately accounting for accumulation of the pathway-initiating substrate acetyl-CoA. Consequently, histone acetylation is promoted, and transcription is activated in neurons. Functionally, we demonstrate that ApoE-mediated neuronal histone acetylation leads to increased H3K27ac enrichment in the promoters of multiple neuronal immediate early genes and subsequently to enhanced memory consolidation in mice. Importantly, human ApoE4 vectors lower levels of miRNAs than ApoE3 and therefore is less capable of metabolic and epigenetic regulation in neurons. Collectively, our findings define an astrocytic ApoE-mediated neuronal epigenetic mechanism as a novel means through which astrocytes modulate brain connectivity and function.
    Keywords:  ApoE; acetyl-CoA; cholesterol metabolism; histone acetylation; memory consolidation; miRNA
  41. Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2021 Feb 16. 9 203-224
      Our understanding of the interactions between the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes is becoming increasingly important as they are extensively involved in establishing early development and developmental progression. Evidence from various biological systems indicates the interdependency between the genomes, which requires a high degree of compatibility and synchrony to ensure effective cellular function throughout development and in the resultant offspring. During development, waves of DNA demethylation, de novo methylation, and maintenance methylation act on the nuclear genome and typify oogenesis and pre- and postimplantation development. At the same time, significant changes in mitochondrial DNA copy number influence the metabolic status of the developing organism in a typically cell-type-specific manner. Collectively, at any given stage in development, these actions establish genomic balance that ensures each developmental milestone is met and that the organism's program for life is established.
    Keywords:  DNA methylation; copy number; embryo; mitochondrial DNA; mtDNA; oocyte; tumor
  42. Biol Open. 2021 Feb 16. pii: bio.058516. [Epub ahead of print]
      Phosphatidylethanolamine is an abundant component of most cellular membranes whose physical and chemical properties modulate multiple aspects of organelle membrane dynamics. An evolutionarily ancient mechanism for producing phosphatidylethanolamine is to decarboxylate phosphatidylserine and the enzyme catalyzing this reaction, phosphatidylserine decarboxylase, localizes to the inner membrane of the mitochondrion. We characterize a second form of phosphatidylserine decarboxylase, termed PISD-LD, that is generated by alternative splicing of PISD pre-mRNA and localizes to lipid droplets and to mitochondria. Sub-cellular targeting is controlled by a common segment of PISD-LD that is distinct from the catalytic domain and is regulated by nutritional state. Growth conditions that promote neutral lipid storage in lipid droplets favors targeting to lipid droplets, while targeting to mitochondria is favored by conditions that promote consumption of lipid droplets. Depletion of both forms of phosphatidylserine decarboxylase impairs triacylglycerol synthesis when cells are challenged with free fatty acid, indicating a crucial role phosphatidylserine decarboxylase in neutral lipid storage. The results reveal a previously unappreciated role for phosphatidylserine decarboxylase in lipid droplet biogenesis.
    Keywords:  Lipid droplet; Mitochondrion; Phosphatidylethanolamine; Phosphatidylserine; Phosphatidylserine decarboxylase
  43. Immunometabolism. 2021 ;pii: e210008. [Epub ahead of print]3(1):
      One of the most fascinating aspects of mitochondria is their remarkable ability to accumulate and store large amounts of calcium in the presence of phosphate leading to mitochondrial calcification. In this paper, we briefly address the mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial calcium homeostasis followed by the extensive review on the formation and characterization of intramitochondrial calcium phosphate granules leading to mitochondrial calcification and its relevance to physiological and pathological calcifications of body tissues.
    Keywords:  calcification; calcium; mitochondria; phosphate
  44. Nat Methods. 2021 Feb 15.
      Current proteomic approaches disassemble and digest nucleosome particles, blurring readouts of the 'histone code'. To preserve nucleosome-level information, we developed Nuc-MS, which displays the landscape of histone variants and their post-translational modifications (PTMs) in a single mass spectrum. Combined with immunoprecipitation, Nuc-MS quantified nucleosome co-occupancy of histone H3.3 with variant H2A.Z (sixfold over bulk) and the co-occurrence of oncogenic H3.3K27M with euchromatic marks (for example, a >15-fold enrichment of dimethylated H3K79me2). Nuc-MS is highly concordant with chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing (ChIP-seq) and offers a new readout of nucleosome-level biology.
  45. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2021 Feb 17. 12(1): 140
      Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells that show self-renewal, multi-directional differentiation, and paracrine and immune regulation. As a result of these properties, the MSCs have great clinical application prospects, especially in the regeneration of injured tissues, functional reconstruction, and cell therapy. However, the transplanted MSCs are prone to ageing and apoptosis and have a difficult to control direction differentiation. Therefore, it is necessary to effectively regulate the functions of the MSCs to promote their desired effects. In recent years, it has been found that mitochondria, the main organelles responsible for energy metabolism and adenosine triphosphate production in cells, play a key role in regulating different functions of the MSCs through various mechanisms. Thus, mitochondria could act as effective targets for regulating and promoting the functions of the MSCs. In this review, we discuss the research status and current understanding of the role and mechanism of mitochondrial energy metabolism, morphology, transfer modes, and dynamics on MSC functions.
    Keywords:  Energy metabolism; Mesenchymal stem cells; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial transfer; Reactive oxygen species
  46. Mol Cell. 2021 Feb 18. pii: S1097-2765(21)00089-7. [Epub ahead of print]81(4): 642-644
      Luengo et al. (2020) demonstrate that pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) overactivation blunts NAD+ regeneration by overcharging the mitochondrial membrane potential and driving ATP synthesis beyond demand. Under these conditions, some cells prioritize aerobic glycolysis to meet the need for oxidized cofactors in biosynthetic metabolism.
  47. Front Immunol. 2020 ;11 589259
      Post-translational modifications, including O-GlcNAcylation, play fundamental roles in modulating cellular events, including transcription, signal transduction, and immune signaling. Several molecular targets of O-GlcNAcylation associated with pathogen-induced innate immune responses have been identified; however, the direct regulatory mechanisms linking O-GlcNAcylation with antiviral RIG-I-like receptor signaling are not fully understood. In this study, we found that cellular levels of O-GlcNAcylation decline in response to infection with Sendai virus. We identified a heavily O-GlcNAcylated serine-rich region between amino acids 249-257 of the mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS); modification at this site disrupts MAVS aggregation and prevents MAVS-mediated activation and signaling. O-GlcNAcylation of the serine-rich region of MAVS also suppresses its interaction with TRAF3; this prevents IRF3 activation and production of interferon-β. Taken together, these results suggest that O-GlcNAcylation of MAVS may be a master regulatory event that promotes host defense against RNA viruses.
    Keywords:  O-linked N-Acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc); RIG-I-like receptors signaling; host defense mechanism; innate immunity; mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein
  48. BMC Bioinformatics. 2021 Feb 18. 22(1): 77
      BACKGROUND: Somatic variant callers are used to find mutations in sequencing data from cancer samples. They are very sensitive and have high recall, but also may produce low precision data with a large proportion of false positives. Further ad hoc filtering is commonly performed after variant calling and before further analysis. Improving the filtering of somatic variants in a reproducible way represents an unmet need. We have developed Filters for Next Generation Sequencing (FiNGS), software written specifically to address these filtering issues.RESULTS: Developed and tested using publicly available sequencing data sets, we demonstrate that FiNGS reliably improves upon the precision of default variant caller outputs and performs better than other tools designed for the same task.
    CONCLUSIONS: FiNGS provides researchers with a tool to reproducibly filter somatic variants that is simple to both deploy and use, with filters and thresholds that are fully configurable by the user. It ingests and emits standard variant call format (VCF) files and will slot into existing sequencing pipelines. It allows users to develop and implement their own filtering strategies and simple sharing of these with others.
    Keywords:  Cancer; DNA; Filtering; Genomics; Mutations; Next generation sequencing; Quality control; Sequence analysis; Sequencing; Snvs
  49. Circulation. 2021 Feb 17.
      Background: Heart failure is a leading cause of death worldwide and is associated with the rising prevalence of obesity, hypertension and diabetes. O-GlcNAcylation is a post-translational modification of intracellular proteins and serves as a metabolic rheostat for cellular stress. The total levels of O-GlcNAcylation are determined by nutrient and metabolic flux, in addition to the net activity of two enzymes, O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) and O-GlcNAcase (OGA). Failing myocardium is marked by increased O-GlcNAcylation, but it is unknown if excessive O-GlcNAcylation contributes to cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Methods: We developed two new transgenic mouse models with myocardial overexpression of OGT and OGA to control O-GlcNAcylation independent of pathological stress. Results: We found that OGT transgenic hearts showed increased O-GlcNAcylation, and developed severe dilated cardiomyopathy, ventricular arrhythmias and premature death. In contrast, OGA transgenic hearts had lower O-GlcNAcylation but identical cardiac function to wild type littermate controls. Additionally, OGA transgenic hearts were resistant to pathological stress induced by pressure overload with attenuated myocardial O-GlcNAcylation levels after stress and decreased pathological hypertrophy compared to wild type controls. Interbreeding OGT with OGA transgenic mice rescued cardiomyopathy and premature death, despite persistent elevation of myocardial OGT. Transcriptomic and functional studies revealed disrupted mitochondrial energetics with impairment of complex I activity in hearts from OGT transgenic mice. Complex I activity was rescued by OGA transgenic interbreeding, suggesting an important role for mitochondrial complex I in O-GlcNAc mediated cardiac pathology. Conclusions: Our data provide evidence that excessive O-GlcNAcylation causes cardiomyopathy, at least in part, due to defective energetics. Enhanced OGA activity is well tolerated and attenuation of O-GlcNAcylation is beneficial against pressure overload induced pathologic remodeling and heart failure. These findings suggest attenuation of excessive O-GlcNAcylation may represent a novel therapeutic approach for cardiomyopathy.
    Keywords:  Dilated cardiomyopathy; O-GlcNAcylation; mitochondrial energetics; mouse model
  50. Front Pharmacol. 2020 ;11 616834
      Patients with a deficiency in very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD), an enzyme that is involved in the mitochondrial beta-oxidation of long-chain fatty acids, are at risk for developing cardiac arrhythmias. In human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs), VLCAD deficiency (VLCADD) results in a series of abnormalities, including: 1) accumulation of long-chain acylcarnitines, 2) action potential shortening, 3) higher systolic and diastolic intracellular Ca2+ concentrations, and 4) development of delayed afterdepolarizations. In the fatty acid oxidation process, carnitine is required for bidirectional transport of acyl groups across the mitochondrial membrane. Supplementation has been suggested as potential therapeutic approach in VLCADD, but its benefits are debated. Here, we studied the effects of carnitine supplementation on the long-chain acylcarnitine levels and performed electrophysiological analyses in VLCADD patient-derived hiPSC-CMs with a ACADVL gene mutation (p.Val283Ala/p.Glu381del). Under standard culture conditions, VLCADD hiPSC-CMs showed high concentrations of long-chain acylcarnitines, short action potentials, and high delayed afterdepolarizations occurrence. Incubation of the hiPSC-CMs with 400 µM L-carnitine for 48 h led to increased long-chain acylcarnitine levels both in medium and cells. In addition, carnitine supplementation neither restored abnormal action potential parameters nor the increased occurrence of delayed afterdepolarizations in VLCADD hiPSC-CMs. We conclude that long-chain acylcarnitine accumulation and electrophysiological abnormalities in VLCADD hiPSC-CMs are not normalized by carnitine supplementation, indicating that this treatment is unlikely to be beneficial against cardiac arrhythmias in VLCADD patients.
    Keywords:  action potential; acylcarnitines; arrhythmia < cardiovascular; carnitine; human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes; patients; treatment; very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase