bims-mitdis Biomed News
on Mitochondrial disorders
Issue of 2021‒10‒03
forty-seven papers selected by
Catalina Vasilescu
University of Helsinki

  1. Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2021 Dec 03. 26 432-443
      Autosomal dominant optic atrophy (DOA) is the most common inherited optic neuropathy in the United Kingdom. DOA has an insidious onset in early childhood, typically presenting with bilateral, central visual loss caused by the preferential loss of retinal ganglion cells. 60%-70% of genetically confirmed DOA cases are associated with variants in OPA1, a ubiquitously expressed GTPase that regulates mitochondrial homeostasis through coordination of inner membrane fusion, maintenance of cristae structure, and regulation of bioenergetic output. Whether genetic correction of OPA1 pathogenic variants can alleviate disease-associated phenotypes remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate generation of patient-derived OPA1 c.1334G>A: p.R445H mutant induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), followed by correction of OPA1 through CRISPR-Cas9-guided homology-directed repair (HDR) and evaluate the effect of OPA1 correction on mitochondrial homeostasis. CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing demonstrated an efficient method of OPA1 correction, with successful gene correction in 57% of isolated iPSCs. Correction of OPA1 restored mitochondrial homeostasis, re-establishing the mitochondrial network and basal respiration and ATP production levels. In addition, correction of OPA1 re-established the levels of wild-type (WT) mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and reduced susceptibility to apoptotic stimuli. These data demonstrate that nuclear gene correction can restore mitochondrial homeostasis and improve mtDNA integrity in DOA patient-derived cells carrying an OPA1 variant.
    Keywords:  CRISPR; OPA1; apoptosis; bioenergetics; gene correction; gene editing; iPSC; mitochondria; optic atrophy; retinal ganglion cell
  2. Mitochondrion. 2021 Sep 24. pii: S1567-7249(21)00134-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Current knowledge of mitochondrial biology and function has provided tools and technologies that helped a better understanding of the molecular etiology of complex mitochondrial disorders. Dual genetic control of this subcellular organelle function regulates various signaling mechanisms which are essential for metabolism, bioenergetics, fatty acid biosynthesis, and DNA replication & repair. Understanding nuclear mitochondrial crosstalk through advanced genomics as well as clinical perspectives is the overall basis of mitochondrial research and medicine, also the sole objective of Society for Mitochondrial Medicine and Research (SMRM) - India. The eighth virtual international conference on 'Advances in Mitochondrial Medicine and Translational Research' was organized at the Manipal School of Life Sciences, MAHE, Manipal, India, during 6 - 7 November 2020. The aim of the virtual conference was to highlight the recent advances and future perspectives that represent comprehensive clinical and fundamental research interests in the area of mitochondrial biology of human diseases. To systematically present the various findings in mitochondrial biology, the meeting was themed with specific aspects comprising (a) mitochondrial disorders: clinical & genomic perspectives, (b) mitochondria in cancer, (c) mitochondrial metabolism & disorders, and (d) mitochondrial diseases & therapy. This report provides an overview of the recent advancements in the area of mitochondrial biology and medicine that was discussed at the conference.
    Keywords:  Anterograde and retrograde signaling; Cancer and mitochondria; Mitochondrial disorders; Mitochondrial metabolism; Therapeutics and mitochondria; miRNAs and mitochondria
  3. Cells. 2021 Aug 31. pii: 2255. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Mitochondrial disorders represent a large group of severe genetic disorders mainly impacting organ systems with high energy requirements. Leigh syndrome (LS) is a classic example of a mitochondrial disorder resulting from pathogenic mutations that disrupt oxidative phosphorylation capacities. Currently, evidence-based therapy directed towards treating LS is sparse. Recently, the cell-permeant substrates responsible for regulating the electron transport chain have gained attention as therapeutic agents for mitochondrial diseases. We explored the therapeutic effects of introducing tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) intermediate substrate, succinate, as a cell-permeable prodrug NV118, to alleviate some of the mitochondrial dysfunction in LS. The results suggest that a 24-hour treatment with prodrug NV118 elicited an upregulation of glycolysis and mitochondrial membrane potential while inhibiting intracellular reactive oxygen species in LS cells. The results from this study suggest an important role for TCA intermediates for treating mitochondrial dysfunction in LS. We show, here, that NV118 could serve as a therapeutic agent for LS resulting from mutations in mtDNA in complex I and complex V dysfunctions.
    Keywords:  TCA cycle; glycolysis; leigh syndrome; mitochondrial respiration; succinate prodrug
  4. Mitochondrion. 2021 Sep 27. pii: S1567-7249(21)00133-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial disorders are one of the most common neurometabolic disorders affecting all age groups. The phenotype-genotype heterogeneity in these disorders can be attributed to the dual genetic control on mitochondrial functions, posing a challenge for diagnosis. Though the advancement in the high-throughput sequencing and other omics platforms resulted in a "genetics-first" approach, the muscle biopsy remains the benchmark in most of the mitochondrial disorders. This review focuses on the myopathological aspects of primary mitochondrial disorders. The utility of muscle biopsy is not limited to analyse the structural abnormalities; rather it also proves to be a potential tool to understand the deranged sub-cellular functions.
    Keywords:  COX deficiency; Mitochondrial disorder; Muscle Biopsy; OXPHOS; Ragged Red fibers; Respiratory Chain Defect
  5. J Cell Biol. 2021 Nov 01. pii: e202103122. [Epub ahead of print]220(11):
      Mitochondrial function is integrated with cellular status through the regulation of opposing mitochondrial fusion and division events. Here we uncover a link between mitochondrial dynamics and lipid metabolism by examining the cellular role of mitochondrial carrier homologue 2 (MTCH2). MTCH2 is a modified outer mitochondrial membrane carrier protein implicated in intrinsic cell death and in the in vivo regulation of fatty acid metabolism. Our data indicate that MTCH2 is a selective effector of starvation-induced mitochondrial hyperfusion, a cytoprotective response to nutrient deprivation. We find that MTCH2 stimulates mitochondrial fusion in a manner dependent on the bioactive lipogenesis intermediate lysophosphatidic acid. We propose that MTCH2 monitors flux through the lipogenesis pathway and transmits this information to the mitochondrial fusion machinery to promote mitochondrial elongation, enhanced energy production, and cellular survival under homeostatic and starvation conditions. These findings will help resolve the roles of MTCH2 and mitochondria in tissue-specific lipid metabolism in animals.
  6. PLoS Genet. 2021 Sep 27. 17(9): e1009822
      Dopamine (DA) neurons of the midbrain are at risk to become affected by mitochondrial damage over time and mitochondrial defects have been frequently reported in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. However, the causal contribution of adult-onset mitochondrial dysfunction to PD remains uncertain. Here, we developed a mouse model lacking Mitofusin 2 (MFN2), a key regulator of mitochondrial network homeostasis, in adult midbrain DA neurons. The knockout mice develop severe and progressive DA neuron-specific mitochondrial dysfunction resulting in neurodegeneration and parkinsonism. To gain further insights into pathophysiological events, we performed transcriptomic analyses of isolated DA neurons and found that mitochondrial dysfunction triggers an early onset immune response, which precedes mitochondrial swelling, mtDNA depletion, respiratory chain deficiency and cell death. Our experiments show that the immune response is an early pathological event when mitochondrial dysfunction is induced in adult midbrain DA neurons and that neuronal death may be promoted non-cell autonomously by the cross-talk and activation of surrounding glial cells.
  7. Hum Mol Genet. 2021 Sep 30. pii: ddab289. [Epub ahead of print]
      The m.3243A>G mutation in the mitochondrial genome commonly causes retinal degeneration in patients with maternally inherited diabetes and deafness (MIDD) and mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS). Like other mitochondrial mutations, m.3243A>G is inherited from the mother with a variable proportion of wild type and mutant mitochondrial genomes in different cells. The mechanism by which the m.3243A>G variant in each tissue relates to the manifestation of disease phenotype is not fully understood. Using a digital PCR assay we found that the % m.3243G in skin derived dermal fibroblasts was positively correlated with that of blood from the same individual. The % m.3243G detected in fibroblast cultures remained constant over multiple passages and was negatively correlated with mtDNA copy number. Although the % m.3243G present in blood was not correlated with severity of vision loss, as quantified by Goldmann visual field, a significant negative correlation between % m.3243G and the age of onset of visual symptoms was detected. Together, these results indicate that precise measurement of % m.3243G in clinically accessible tissues such as skin and blood may yield information relevant to the management of retinal m.3243A>G associated disease.
  8. Sci Rep. 2021 Oct 01. 11(1): 19578
      Disease caused by mutations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are highly variable in both presentation and penetrance. Over the last 30 years, clinical recognition of this group of diseases has increased. It has been suggested that haplogroup background could influence the penetrance and presentation of disease-causing mutations; however, to date there is only one well-established example of such an effect: the increased penetrance of two Complex I Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy mutations on a haplogroup J background. This paper conducts the most extensive investigation to date into the importance of haplogroup context in the pathogenicity of mtDNA mutations in Complex I. We searched for proven human point mutations across more than 900 metazoans finding human disease-causing mutations and potential masking variants. We found more than a half of human pathogenic variants as compensated pathogenic deviations (CPD) in at least in one animal species from our multiple sequence alignments. Some variants were found in many species, and some were even the most prevalent amino acids across our dataset. Variants were also found in other primates, and in such cases, we looked for non-human amino acids in sites with high probability to interact with the CPD in folded protein. Using this "local interactions" approach allowed us to find potential masking substitutions in other amino acid sites. We suggest that the masking variants might arise in humans, resulting in variability of mutation effect in our species.
  9. Nat Commun. 2021 Sep 29. 12(1): 5715
      Nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins destined for the matrix have to be transported across two membranes. The TOM and TIM23 complexes facilitate the transport of precursor proteins with N-terminal targeting signals into the matrix. During transport, precursors are recognized by the TIM23 complex in the inner membrane for handover from the TOM complex. However, we have little knowledge on the organization of the TOM-TIM23 transition zone and on how precursor transfer between the translocases occurs. Here, we have designed a precursor protein that is stalled during matrix transport in a TOM-TIM23-spanning manner and enables purification of the translocation intermediate. Combining chemical cross-linking with mass spectrometric analyses and structural modeling allows us to map the molecular environment of the intermembrane space interface of TOM and TIM23 as well as the import motor interactions with amino acid resolution. Our analyses provide a framework for understanding presequence handover and translocation during matrix protein transport.
  10. Elife. 2021 Oct 01. pii: e72873. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Hypoxic adaptation mediated by HIF transcription factors requires mitochondria, which have been implicated in regulating HIF1α stability in hypoxia by distinct models that involve consuming oxygen or alternatively converting oxygen into the second messenger peroxide. Here, we use a ratiometric, peroxide reporter, HyPer to evaluate the role of peroxide in regulating HIF1α stability. We show that antioxidant enzymes are neither homeostatically induced nor are peroxide levels increased in hypoxia. Additionally, forced expression of diverse antioxidant enzymes, all of which diminish peroxide, had disparate effects on HIF1α protein stability. Moreover, decrease in lipid peroxides by glutathione peroxidase-4 or superoxide by mitochondrial SOD, failed to influence HIF1α protein stability. These data show that mitochondrial, cytosolic or lipid ROS were not necessary for HIF1α stability, and favor a model where mitochondria contribute to hypoxic adaptation as oxygen consumers.
    Keywords:  cell biology; neuroscience
  11. Metabolites. 2021 Sep 17. pii: 636. [Epub ahead of print]11(9):
      The mitochondrial prohibitin (PHB) complex, composed of PHB-1 and PHB-2, is an evolutionarily conserved context-dependent modulator of longevity. This extremely intriguing phenotype has been linked to alterations in mitochondrial function and lipid metabolism. The true biochemical function of the mitochondrial PHB complex remains elusive, but it has been shown to affect membrane lipid composition. Recent work, using large-scale biochemical approaches, has highlighted a broad effect of PHB on the C. elegans metabolic network. Collectively, the biochemical data support the notion that PHB modulates, at least partially, worm longevity through the moderation of fat utilisation and energy production via the mitochondrial respiratory chain. Herein, we review, in a systematic manner, recent biochemical insights into the impact of PHB on the C. elegans metabolome.
    Keywords:  ageing; metabolism; mitochondrial prohibitin complex
  12. Neurol Sci. 2021 Sep 28.
      Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases (ARSs) are highly conserved enzymes that link amino acids to their cognate tRNAs. Thirty-seven ARSs are known and their deficiencies cause various genetic disorders. Variants in some ARSs are associated with the autosomal dominant inherited form of axonal neuropathy, including Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. Variants of genes encoding ARSs often cause disorders in an autosomal recessive fashion. The clinical features of cytosolic ARS deficiencies are more variable, including systemic features. Deficiencies of ARSs localized in the mitochondria are often associated with neurological disorders including Leigh and early-onset epileptic syndromes. Whole exome sequencing (WES) is an efficient way to identify the genes causing various symptoms in patients. We identified 4 pedigrees with novel compound heterozygous variants in ARS genes (WARS1, MARS1, AARS2, and PARS2) by WES. Some unique manifestations were noted. The number of patients with ARSs has been increasing since the application of WES. Our findings broaden the known genetic and clinical spectrum associated with ARS variants.
    Keywords:  AARS2; Aminoacyl tRNA synthetases; MARS1; PARS2; WARS1
  13. Cells. 2021 Sep 08. pii: 2348. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Acetylation is a post-translational modification that regulates the activity of enzymes fundamentally involved in cellular and mitochondrial bioenergetic metabolism. NAD+ dependent deacetylase sirtuin 3 (SIRT3) is localized to mitochondria where it plays a key role in regulating acetylation of TCA cycle enzymes and the mitochondrial respiratory complexes. Although the SIRT3 target proteins in mitochondria have been identified, the effect of SIRT3 activity on mitochondrial glucose metabolism in the brain remains elusive. The impact of abolished SIRT3 activity on glucose metabolism was determined in SIRT3 knockout (KO) and wild type (WT) mice injected with [1,6-13C]glucose using ex vivo 13C-NMR spectroscopy. The 1H-NMR spectra and amino acid analysis showed no differences in the concentration of lactate, glutamate, alanine, succinate, or aspartate between SIRT3 KO and WT mice. However, glutamine, total creatine (Cr), and GABA were lower in SIRT3 KO brain. Incorporation of label from [1,6-13C]glucose metabolism into lactate or alanine was not affected in SIRT3 KO brain. However, the incorporation of the label into all isotopomers of glutamate, glutamine, GABA and aspartate was lower in SIRT3 KO brain, reflecting decreased activity of mitochondrial and TCA cycle metabolism in both neurons and astrocytes. This is most likely due to hyperacetylation of mitochondrial enzymes due to suppressed SIRT3 activity in the brain of SIRT3 KO mice. Thus, the absence of Sirt3 results in impaired mitochondrial oxidative energy metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis in the brain. Since the SIRT3 activity is NAD+ dependent, these results might parallel changes in glucose metabolism under pathologic reduction in mitochondrial NAD+ pools.
    Keywords:  13C-NMR spectroscopy; NAD+; SIRT3; [1,6-13C]glucose; acetylation; knock out mouse; metabolism; mitochondria
  14. Genes (Basel). 2021 Aug 29. pii: 1348. [Epub ahead of print]12(9):
      Mitochondria are very important intracellular organelles because they have various functions. They produce ATP, are involved in cell signaling and cell death, and are a major source of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Mitochondria have their own DNA (mtDNA) and mutation of mtDNA or change the mtDNA copy numbers leads to disease, cancer chemo/radioresistance and aging including longevity. In this review, we discuss the mtDNA mutation, mitochondrial disease, longevity, and importance of mitochondrial dysfunction in cancer first. In the later part, we particularly focus on the role in cancer resistance and the mitochondrial condition such as mtDNA copy number, mitochondrial membrane potential, ROS levels, and ATP production. We suggest a therapeutic strategy employing mitochondrial transplantation (mtTP) for treatment-resistant cancer.
    Keywords:  cancer radioresistance; clinically relevant radioresistant (CRR) cells; mitochondria; mitochondrial DNA
  15. Cells. 2021 Sep 13. pii: 2402. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Accumulation of α-synuclein (α-syn) into Lewy bodies (LBs) and mitochondrial abnormalities are the two cardinal pathobiological features of Parkinson's disease (PD), which are associated with the loss of dopaminergic neurons. Although α-syn accumulates in many different cellular and mouse models, these models generally lack LB features. Here, we generated midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neuronal cultures from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from familial PD (fPD) patients and healthy controls. We show that mDA neuronal cultures from fPD patients with A53T mutation and α-syn gene (SNCA) triplication display pathological α-syn deposits, which spatially and morphologically resemble LBs. Importantly, we did not find any apparent accumulation of pathological α-syn in mDA neuronal culture derived from a healthy donor. Furthermore, we show that there are morphological abnormalities in the mitochondrial network in mDA neuronal cultures from fPD patients. Consequently, these cells were more susceptible to mitochondrial damage compared with healthy donor-derived mDA neuronal cultures. Our results indicate that the iPSC-derived mDA neuronal culture platform can be used to investigate the spatiotemporal appearance of LBs, as well as their composition, architecture, and relationship with mitochondrial abnormalities.
    Keywords:  Lewy bodies; Parkinson’s disease; dopaminergic neurons; iPSC; mitochondria; α-synuclein aggregates
  16. EMBO Rep. 2021 Sep 30. e52727
      The classical view of oxidative phosphorylation is that a proton motive force (PMF) generated by the respiratory chain complexes fuels ATP synthesis via ATP synthase. Yet, under glycolytic conditions, ATP synthase in its reverse mode also can contribute to the PMF. Here, we dissected these two functions of ATP synthase and the role of its inhibitory factor 1 (IF1) under different metabolic conditions. pH profiles of mitochondrial sub-compartments were recorded with high spatial resolution in live mammalian cells by positioning a pH sensor directly at ATP synthase's F1 and FO subunits, complex IV and in the matrix. Our results clearly show that ATP synthase activity substantially controls the PMF and that IF1 is essential under OXPHOS conditions to prevent reverse ATP synthase activity due to an almost negligible ΔpH. In addition, we show how this changes lateral, transmembrane, and radial pH gradients in glycolytic and respiratory cells.
    Keywords:  IF1; Mitochondrial F1FO ATP synthase; local pH measurements; proton motive force; ΔpH
  17. Life Sci Alliance. 2021 Dec;pii: e202101182. [Epub ahead of print]4(12):
      The mitochondrial unfolded protein response (mitoUPR) is an evolutionarily conserved pathway that responds to mitochondria insults through transcriptional changes, mediated by the transcription factor ATFS-1/ATF-5, which acts to restore mitochondrial homeostasis. In this work, we characterized the role of ATFS-1 in responding to organismal stress. We found that activation of ATFS-1 is sufficient to cause up-regulation of genes involved in multiple stress response pathways including the DAF-16-mediated stress response pathway, the cytosolic unfolded protein response, the endoplasmic reticulum unfolded protein response, the SKN-1-mediated oxidative stress response pathway, the HIF-1-mediated hypoxia response pathway, the p38-mediated innate immune response pathway, and antioxidant genes. Constitutive activation of ATFS-1 increases resistance to multiple acute exogenous stressors, whereas disruption of atfs-1 decreases stress resistance. Although ATFS-1-dependent genes are up-regulated in multiple long-lived mutants, constitutive activation of ATFS-1 decreases lifespan in wild-type animals. Overall, our work demonstrates that ATFS-1 serves a vital role in organismal survival of acute stressors through its ability to activate multiple stress response pathways but that chronic ATFS-1 activation is detrimental for longevity.
  18. Cells. 2021 Sep 19. pii: 2484. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      With the nucleus as an exception, mitochondria are the only animal cell organelles containing their own genetic information, called mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). During oocyte maturation, the mtDNA copy number dramatically increases and the distribution of mitochondria changes significantly. As oocyte maturation requires a large amount of ATP for continuous transcription and translation, the availability of the right number of functional mitochondria is crucial. There is a correlation between the quality of oocytes and both the amount of mtDNA and the amount of ATP. Suboptimal conditions of in vitro maturation (IVM) might lead to changes in the mitochondrial morphology as well as alternations in the expression of genes encoding proteins associated with mitochondrial function. Dysfunctional mitochondria have a lower ability to counteract reactive oxygen species (ROS) production which leads to oxidative stress. The mitochondrial function might be improved with the application of antioxidants and significant expectations are laid on the development of new IVM systems supplemented with mitochondria-targeted reagents. Different types of antioxidants have been tested already on animal models and human rescue IVM oocytes, showing promising results. This review focuses on the recent observations on oocytes' intracellular mitochondrial distribution and on mitochondrial genomes during their maturation, both in vivo and in vitro. Recent mitochondrial supplementation studies, aiming to improve oocyte developmental potential, are summarized.
    Keywords:  IVM; mitochondria distribution; mitochondrial supplementation reagents; mtDNA copy number; oocyte maturation
  19. Biology (Basel). 2021 Sep 17. pii: 927. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Mitochondria have distinct architectural features and biochemical functions consistent with cell-specific bioenergetic needs. However, as imaging and isolation techniques advance, heterogeneity amongst mitochondria has been observed to occur within the same cell. Moreover, mitochondrial heterogeneity is associated with functional differences in metabolic signaling, fuel utilization, and triglyceride synthesis. These phenotypic associations suggest that mitochondrial subpopulations and heterogeneity influence the risk of metabolic diseases. This review examines the current literature regarding mitochondrial heterogeneity in the pancreatic beta-cell and renal proximal tubules as they exist in the pathological and physiological states; specifically, pathological states of glucolipotoxicity, progression of type 2 diabetes, and kidney diseases. Emphasis will be placed on the benefits of balancing mitochondrial heterogeneity and how the disruption of balancing heterogeneity leads to impaired tissue function and disease onset.
    Keywords:  calcium; heterogeneity; kidney diseases; lipotoxicity; membrane potential; mitochondria; morphology; subpopulations; type 2 diabetes
  20. Elife. 2021 Sep 30. pii: e73062. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Astrocytes are essential cells of the central nervous system, characterized by dynamic relationships with neurons that range from functional metabolic interactions and regulation of neuronal firing activities, to the release of neurotrophic and neuroprotective factors. In Parkinson's disease (PD), dopaminergic neurons are progressively lost during the course of the disease, but the effects of PD on astrocytes and astrocyte-to-neuron communication remains largely unknown. This study focuses on the effects of the PD-related mutation LRRK2 G2019S in astrocytes generated from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells. We report the alteration of extracellular vesicle (EV) biogenesis in astrocytes, and we identify the abnormal accumulation of key PD-related proteins within multi vesicular bodies (MVBs). We found that dopaminergic neurons internalize astrocyte-secreted EVs and that LRRK2 G2019S EVs are abnormally enriched in neurites and fail to provide full neurotrophic support to dopaminergic neurons. Thus, dysfunctional astrocyte-to-neuron communication via altered EV biological properties may participate in the progression of PD.
    Keywords:  cell biology; human; mouse; neuroscience
  21. Cells. 2021 Aug 24. pii: 2177. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is widely used as an imaging modality to provide high-resolution details of subcellular components within cells and tissues. Mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are organelles of particular interest to those investigating metabolic disorders. A straightforward method for quantifying and characterizing particular aspects of these organelles would be a useful tool. In this protocol, we outline how to accurately assess the morphology of these important subcellular structures using open source software ImageJ, originally developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Specifically, we detail how to obtain mitochondrial length, width, area, and circularity, in addition to assessing cristae morphology and measuring mito/endoplasmic reticulum (ER) interactions. These procedures provide useful tools for quantifying and characterizing key features of sub-cellular morphology, leading to accurate and reproducible measurements and visualizations of mitochondria and ER.
    Keywords:  ImageJ; Mitochondria Endoplasmic Reticulum Contacts (MERCs); TEM analysis; TEM quantification; cristae; image analysis; image processing; mitochondria
  22. Circulation. 2021 Sep 29.
      Background: The integrated stress response (ISR) is an evolutionarily conserved process to cope with intracellular and extracellular disturbances. Myocardial infarction is a leading cause of death worldwide. Coronary artery reperfusion is the most effective means to mitigate cardiac damage of myocardial infarction, which however causes additional reperfusion injury. This study aimed to investigate the role of the ISR in myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). Methods: Cardiac-specific gain- and loss-of-function approaches for the ISR were employed in vivo. Myocardial I/R was achieved by the ligation of the cardiac left anterior descending artery for 45 minutes, followed by reperfusion for different times. Cardiac function was assessed by echocardiography. Additionally, cultured H9c2 cells, primary rat cardiomyocytes, and mouse embryonic fibroblasts were used to dissect underlying molecular mechanisms. Moreover, tandem mass tag (TMT) labeling and mass spectrometry was conducted to identify protein targets of the ISR. Pharmacological means were tested to manipulate the ISR for therapeutic exploration. Results: We show that the PERK/eIF2α axis of the ISR is strongly induced by I/R in cardiomyocytes in vitro and in vivo. We further reveal a physiological role of PERK/eIF2α signaling by showing that acute activation of PERK in the heart confers robust cardioprotection against reperfusion injury. In contrast, cardiac-specific deletion of PERK aggravates cardiac responses to reperfusion. Mechanistically, the ISR directly targets mitochondrial complexes via translational suppression. We identify NDUFAF2, an assembly factor of mitochondrial complex I, as a selective target of PERK. Overexpression of PERK suppresses the protein expression of NDUFAF2 while PERK inhibition causes an increase of NDUFAF2. Silencing of NDUFAF2 significantly rescues cardiac cell survival from PERK knockdown under I/R. Further, we show that activation of PERK/eIF2α signaling reduces mitochondrial complex-derived reactive oxygen species and improves cardiac cell survival in response to I/R. Moreover, pharmacological stimulation of the ISR protects the heart against reperfusion damage, even after the restoration of occluded coronary artery, highlighting a clinical relevance for myocardial infarction treatment. Conclusions: These studies suggest that the ISR improves cell survival and mitigate reperfusion damage by selectively suppressing mitochondrial protein synthesis and reducing oxidative stress in the heart.
  23. FASEB J. 2021 Oct;35(10): e21891
      In humans, insulin resistance has been linked to an impaired metabolic transition from fasting to feeding (metabolic flexibility; MetFlex). Previous studies suggest that mitochondrial dynamics response is a putative determinant of MetFlex; however, this has not been studied in humans. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the mitochondrial dynamics response in the metabolic transition from fasting to feeding in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Six male subjects fasted for 16 h (fasting), immediately after which they consumed a 75-g oral glucose load (glucose). In both fasting and glucose conditions, blood samples were taken to obtain PBMCs. Mitochondrial dynamics were assessed by electron microscopy images. We exposed in vitro acetoacetate-treated PBMCs to the specific IP3R inhibitor Xestospongin B (XeB) to reduce IP3R-mediated mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation. This allowed us to evaluate the role of ER-mitochondria Ca2+ exchange in the mitochondrial dynamic response to substrate availability. To determine whether PBMCs could be used in obesity context (low MetFlex), we measured mitochondrial dynamics in mouse spleen-derived lymphocytes from WT and ob/ob mice. We demonstrated that the transition from fasting to feeding reduces mitochondria-ER interactions, induces mitochondrial fission and reduces mitochondrial cristae density in human PBMCs. In addition, we demonstrated that IP3R activity is key in the mitochondrial dynamics response when PBMCs are treated with a fasting-substrate in vitro. In murine mononuclear-cells, we confirmed that mitochondria-ER interactions are regulated in the fasted-fed transition and we further highlight mitochondria-ER miscommunication in PBMCs of diabetic mice. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the fasting/feeding transition reduces mitochondria-ER interactions, induces mitochondrial fission and reduces mitochondrial cristae density in human PBMCs, and that IP3R activity may potentially play a central role.
    Keywords:  fasting; mitochondria-ER interaction; mitochondrial cristae; mitochondrial fusion; mitochondrial morphology; obesity
  24. Front Physiol. 2021 ;12 734976
      Mitochondria are essential organelles that generate most of the chemical energy to power the cell through ATP production, thus regulating cell homeostasis. Although mitochondria have their own independent genome, most of the mitochondrial proteins are encoded by nuclear genes. An extensive bidirectional communication network between mitochondria and the nucleus has been discovered, thus making them semi-autonomous organelles. The nucleus-to-mitochondria signaling pathway, called Anterograde Signaling Pathway can be deduced, since the majority of mitochondrial proteins are encoded in the nucleus, less is known about the opposite pathway, the so-called mitochondria-to-nucleus retrograde signaling pathway. Several studies have demonstrated that non-coding RNAs are essential "messengers" of this communication between the nucleus and the mitochondria and that they might have a central role in the coordination of important mitochondrial biological processes. In particular, the finding of numerous miRNAs in mitochondria, also known as mitomiRs, enabled insights into their role in mitochondrial gene transcription. MitomiRs could act as important mediators of this complex crosstalk between the nucleus and the mitochondria. Mitochondrial homeostasis is critical for the physiological processes of the cell. Disruption at any stage in their metabolism, dynamics and bioenergetics could lead to the production of considerable amounts of reactive oxygen species and increased mitochondrial permeability, which are among the hallmarks of cellular senescence. Extensive changes in mitomiR expression and distribution have been demonstrated in senescent cells, those could possibly lead to an alteration in mitochondrial homeostasis. Here, we discuss the emerging putative roles of mitomiRs in the bidirectional communication pathways between mitochondria and the nucleus, with a focus on the senescence-associated mitomiRs.
    Keywords:  microRNA; mitochondria; mitomiRs; mitonuclear communication; senescence
  25. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2021 Sep 29. 16(1): 403
      BACKGROUND: Thiamine metabolism dysfunction syndrome 4 (THMD4, OMIM #613710) is an autosomal recessive inherited disease caused by the deficiency of SLC25A19 that encodes the mitochondrial thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) transporter. This disorder is characterized by bilateral striatal degradation and progressive polyneuropathy with the onset of fever of unknown origin. The limited number of reported cases and lack of functional annotation of related gene variants continue to limit diagnosis.RESULTS: We report three cases of encephalopathy from two unrelated pedigrees with basal ganglia signal changes after fever of unknown origin. To distinguish this from other types of encephalopathy, such as acute necrotizing encephalopathy, exome sequencing was performed, and four novel heterozygous variations, namely, c.169G>A (p.Ala57Thr), c.383C>T (p.Ala128Val), c.76G>A (p.Gly26Arg), and c.745T>A (p.Phe249Ile), were identified in SLC25A19. All variants were confirmed using Sanger sequencing. To determine the pathogenicity of these variants, functional studies were performed. We found that mitochondrial TPP levels were significantly decreased in the presence of SLC25A19 variants, indicating that TPP transport activities of mutated SLC25A19 proteins were impaired. Thus, combining clinical phenotype, genetic analysis, and functional studies, these variants were deemed as likely pathogenic.
    CONCLUSIONS: Exome sequencing analysis enables molecular diagnosis as well as provides potential etiology. Further studies will enable the elucidation of SLC25A19 protein function. Our investigation supplied key molecular evidence for the precise diagnosis of and clinical decision-making for a rare disease.
    Keywords:  Compound heterozygosity; Exome sequencing; Functional study; SLC25A19; Thiamine metabolism dysfunction syndrome 4; Thiamine pyrophosphate
  26. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Sep 14. pii: 9929. [Epub ahead of print]22(18):
      SLC25A36 is a pyrimidine nucleotide carrier playing an important role in maintaining mitochondrial biogenesis. Deficiencies in SLC25A36 in mouse embryonic stem cells have been associated with mtDNA depletion as well as mitochondrial dysfunction. In human beings, diseases triggered by SLC25A36 mutations have not been described yet. We report the first known case of SLC25A36 deficiency in a 12-year-old patient with hypothyroidism, hyperinsulinism, hyperammonemia, chronical obstipation, short stature, along with language and general developmental delay. Whole exome analysis identified the homozygous mutation c.803dupT, p.Ser269llefs*35 in the SLC25A36 gene. Functional analysis of mutant SLC25A36 protein in proteoliposomes showed a virtually abolished transport activity. Immunoblotting results suggest that the mutant SLC25A36 protein in the patient undergoes fast degradation. Supplementation with oral uridine led to an improvement of thyroid function and obstipation, increase of growth and developmental progress. Our findings suggest an important role of SLC25A36 in hormonal regulations and oral uridine as a safe and effective treatment.
    Keywords:  SLC25A33; SLC25A36; bypass therapy; mitochondrial solute carrier; pyrimidine nucleotide carrier; uridine
  27. Cells. 2021 Sep 18. pii: 2463. [Epub ahead of print]10(9):
      Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) can undergo unlimited self-renewal and can differentiate into all the cell types present in our body, including cardiomyocytes. Therefore, PSCs can be an excellent source of cardiomyocytes for future regenerative medicine and medical research studies. However, cardiomyocytes obtained from PSC differentiation culture are regarded as immature structurally, electrophysiologically, metabolically, and functionally. Mitochondria are organelles responsible for various cellular functions such as energy metabolism, different catabolic and anabolic processes, calcium fluxes, and various signaling pathways. Cells can respond to cellular needs to increase the mitochondrial mass by mitochondrial biogenesis. On the other hand, cells can also degrade mitochondria through mitophagy. Mitochondria are also dynamic organelles that undergo continuous fusion and fission events. In this review, we aim to summarize previous findings on the changes of mitochondrial biogenesis, mitophagy, and mitochondrial dynamics during the maturation of cardiomyocytes. In addition, we intend to summarize whether changes in these processes would affect the maturation of cardiomyocytes. Lastly, we aim to discuss unanswered questions in the field and to provide insights for the possible strategies of enhancing the maturation of PSC-derived cardiomyocytes.
    Keywords:  cardiomyocytes; maturation; mitochondria; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitochondrial dynamics; mitophagy; pluripotent stem cells
  28. BMC Bioinformatics. 2021 Sep 28. 22(1): 468
      BACKGROUND: The advent of population-scale genome projects has revolutionized our biological understanding of parasitic protozoa. However, while hundreds to thousands of nuclear genomes of parasitic protozoa have been generated and analyzed, information about the diversity, structure and evolution of their mitochondrial genomes remains fragmentary, mainly because of their extraordinary complexity. Indeed, unicellular flagellates of the order Kinetoplastida contain structurally the most complex mitochondrial genome of all eukaryotes, organized as a giant network of homogeneous maxicircles and heterogeneous minicircles. We recently developed KOMICS, an analysis toolkit that automates the assembly and circularization of the mitochondrial genomes of Kinetoplastid parasites. While this tool overcomes the limitation of extracting mitochondrial assemblies from Next-Generation Sequencing datasets, interpreting and visualizing the genetic (dis)similarity within and between samples remains a time-consuming process.RESULTS: Here, we present a new analysis toolkit-rKOMICS-to streamline the analyses of minicircle sequence diversity in population-scale genome projects. rKOMICS is a user-friendly R package that has simple installation requirements and that is applicable to all 27 trypanosomatid genera. Once minicircle sequence alignments are generated, rKOMICS allows to examine, summarize and visualize minicircle sequence diversity within and between samples through the analyses of minicircle sequence clusters. We showcase the functionalities of the (r)KOMICS tool suite using a whole-genome sequencing dataset from a recently published study on the history of diversification of the Leishmania braziliensis species complex in Peru. Analyses of population diversity and structure highlighted differences in minicircle sequence richness and composition between Leishmania subspecies, and between subpopulations within subspecies.
    CONCLUSION: The rKOMICS package establishes a critical framework to manipulate, explore and extract biologically relevant information from mitochondrial minicircle assemblies in tens to hundreds of samples simultaneously and efficiently. This should facilitate research that aims to develop new molecular markers for identifying species-specific minicircles, or to study the ancestry of parasites for complementary insights into their evolutionary history.
    Keywords:  Assembly; Clustering; Kinetoplast; Leishmania; Minicircles; Parasites; Sequencing; Trypanosoma
  29. Genes (Basel). 2021 Aug 24. pii: 1295. [Epub ahead of print]12(9):
      Mitochondria are dynamic organelles undergoing continuous fusion and fission with Drp1, encoded by the DNM1L gene, required for mitochondrial fragmentation. DNM1L dominant pathogenic variants lead to progressive neurological disorders with early exitus. Herein we report on the case of a boy affected by epileptic encephalopathy carrying two heterozygous variants (in cis) of the DNM1L gene: a pathogenic variant (PV) c.1085G>A (p.Gly362Asp) accompanied with a variant of unknown significance (VUS) c.1535T>C (p.Ile512Thr). Amplicon sequencing of the mother's DNA revealed the presence of the PV and VUS in 5% of cells, with the remaining cells presenting only VUS. Functional investigations performed on the patient and his mother's cells unveiled altered mitochondrial respiratory chain activities, network architecture and Ca2+ homeostasis as compared with healthy unrelated subjects' samples. Modelling Drp1 harbouring the two variants, separately or in combination, resulted in structural changes as compared with Wt protein. Considering the clinical history of the mother, PV transmission by a maternal germline mosaicism mechanism is proposed. Altered Drp1 function leads to changes in the mitochondrial structure and bioenergetics as well as in Ca2+ homeostasis. The novel VUS might be a modifier that synergistically worsens the phenotype when associated with the PV.
    Keywords:  DNM1L; Drp1; encephalopathy; genetic mosaicism; mitochondrial fission
  30. Am J Hum Genet. 2021 Sep 21. pii: S0002-9297(21)00341-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      ABHD16A (abhydrolase domain-containing protein 16A, phospholipase) encodes the major phosphatidylserine (PS) lipase in the brain. PS lipase synthesizes lysophosphatidylserine, an important signaling lipid that functions in the mammalian central nervous system. ABHD16A has not yet been associated with a human disease. In this report, we present a cohort of 11 affected individuals from six unrelated families with a complicated form of hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) who carry bi-allelic deleterious variants in ABHD16A. Affected individuals present with a similar phenotype consisting of global developmental delay/intellectual disability, progressive spasticity affecting the upper and lower limbs, and corpus callosum and white matter anomalies. Immunoblot analysis on extracts from fibroblasts from four affected individuals demonstrated little to no ABHD16A protein levels compared to controls. Our findings add ABHD16A to the growing list of lipid genes in which dysregulation can cause complicated forms of HSP and begin to describe the molecular etiology of this condition.
    Keywords:  ABHD16A; hereditary spastic paraplegia; intellectual disability; lysophosphatidylserine
  31. Mitochondrion. 2021 Sep 24. pii: S1567-7249(21)00131-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      MitoLink is a generic, scalable and modular web-based workflow system developed to study genotype-phenotype correlations in human mitochondrial diseases. MitoLink integrates applications for assessment of genomic variation and currently houses genome-wide datasets from GenomeAsia Pilot project, gnomAD, ClinVar and DisGenNet. In this study, a reference list of nearly 3975 proteins (both nuclear and mitochondrial encoded) with mitochondrial function is reported. This protein set is mapped to disease associated variants in the GenomeAsia Project and DisGenNet and evaluated for pathogenicity as defined by ClinVar. Observations of shared genetic components in potential comorbidities are discussed from gene-disease network in Asian population, however, the platform is generic and can be applied to any population dataset. MitoLink is a unique customized workflow system that allows for systematic storage, extraction, analysis and visualization of genomic variation to understand genotype-phenotype correlations for mitochondrial diseases. Given the modularity of tool and data integration, MitoLink is a scalable system that can accommodate a diverse set of applications linked via standard data structure within the framework of Galaxy. MitoLink is built on FAIR principles and supports creation of reproducible workflows towards understanding genotype-phenotype correlations across several disease phenotypes globally.
    Keywords:  NGS; galaxy workflow; genome Asia; genome variation; genotype-phenotype; mitochondrial diseases
  32. Autophagy. 2021 Sep 29. 1-24
      Owing to the dominant functions of mitochondria in multiple cellular metabolisms and distinct types of regulated cell death, maintaining a functional mitochondrial network is fundamental for the cellular homeostasis and body fitness in response to physiological adaptations and stressed conditions. The process of mitophagy, in which the dysfunctional or superfluous mitochondria are selectively engulfed by autophagosome and subsequently degraded in lysosome, has been well formulated as one of the major mechanisms for mitochondrial quality control. To date, the PINK1-PRKN-dependent and receptors (including proteins and lipids)-dependent pathways have been characterized to determine the mitophagy in mammalian cells. The mitophagy is highly responsive to the dynamics of endogenous metabolites, including iron-, calcium-, glycolysis-TCA-, NAD+-, amino acids-, fatty acids-, and cAMP-associated metabolites. Herein, we summarize the recent advances toward the molecular details of mitophagy regulation in mammalian cells. We also highlight the key regulations of mammalian mitophagy by endogenous metabolites, shed new light on the bidirectional interplay between mitophagy and cellular metabolisms, with attempting to provide a perspective insight into the nutritional intervention of metabolic disorders with mitophagy deficit.Abbreviations: acetyl-CoA: acetyl-coenzyme A; ACO1: aconitase 1; ADCYs: adenylate cyclases; AMPK: AMP-activated protein kinase; ATM: ATM serine/threonine kinase; BCL2L1: BCL2 like 1; BCL2L13: BCL2 like 13; BNIP3: BCL2 interacting protein 3; BNIP3L: BCL2 interacting protein 3 like; Ca2+: calcium ion; CALCOCO2: calcium binding and coiled-coil domain 2; CANX: calnexin; CO: carbon monoxide; CYCS: cytochrome c, somatic; DFP: deferiprone; DNM1L: dynamin 1 like; ER: endoplasmic reticulum; FKBP8: FKBP prolyl isomerase 8; FOXO3: forkhead box O3; FTMT: ferritin mitochondrial; FUNDC1: FUN14 domain containing 1; GABA: γ-aminobutyric acid; GSH: glutathione; HIF1A: hypoxia inducible factor 1 subunit alpha; IMMT: inner membrane mitochondrial protein; IRP1: iron regulatory protein 1; ISC: iron-sulfur cluster; ITPR2: inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate type 2 receptor; KMO: kynurenine 3-monooxygenase; LIR: LC3 interacting region; MAM: mitochondria-associated membrane; MAP1LC3: microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3; MFNs: mitofusins; mitophagy: mitochondrial autophagy; mPTP: mitochondrial permeability transition pore; MTOR: mechanistic target of rapamycin kinase; NAD+: nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide; NAM: nicotinamide; NMN: nicotinamide mononucleotide; NO: nitric oxide; NPA: Niemann-Pick type A; NR: nicotinamide riboside; NR4A1: nuclear receptor subfamily 4 group A member 1; NRF1: nuclear respiratory factor 1; OPA1: OPA1 mitochondrial dynamin like GTPase; OPTN: optineurin; PARL: presenilin associated rhomboid like; PARPs: poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases; PC: phosphatidylcholine; PHB2: prohibitin 2; PINK1: PTEN induced kinase 1; PPARG: peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma; PPARGC1A: PPARG coactivator 1 alpha; PRKA: protein kinase AMP-activated; PRKDC: protein kinase, DNA-activated, catalytic subunit; PRKN: parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase; RHOT: ras homolog family member T; ROS: reactive oxygen species; SIRTs: sirtuins; STK11: serine/threonine kinase 11; TCA: tricarboxylic acid; TP53: tumor protein p53; ULK1: unc-51 like autophagy activating kinase 1; VDAC1: voltage dependent anion channel 1.
    Keywords:  Cell metabolism; metabolite; mitochondria; mitophagy; mitophagy receptor
  33. Genes (Basel). 2021 Sep 18. pii: 1439. [Epub ahead of print]12(9):
      Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the leading liver chronic disease featuring hepatic steatosis. Mitochondrial β-oxidation participates in the derangement of lipid metabolism at the basis of NAFLD, and mitochondrial oxidative stress contributes to the onset of the disease. We evaluated the presence and effects of mitochondrial oxidative stress in the liver from rats fed a high-fat plus fructose (HF-F) diet inducing NAFLD. Supplementation with dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a multitarget antioxidant, was tested for efficacy in delaying NAFLD. A marked mitochondrial oxidative stress was originated by all diets, as demonstrated by the decrease in Superoxide Dismutase 2 (SOD2) and Peroxiredoxin III (PrxIII) amounts. All diets induced a decrease in mitochondrial DNA content and an increase in its oxidative damage. The diets negatively affected mitochondrial biogenesis as shown by decreased peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ co-activator-1α (PGC-1α), mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), and the COX-IV subunit from the cytochrome c oxidase complex. The reduced amounts of Beclin-1 and lipidated LC3 II form of the microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) unveiled the diet-related autophagy's decrease. The DHEA supplementation did not prevent the diet-induced changes. These results demonstrate the relevance of mitochondrial oxidative stress and the sequential dysfunction of the organelles in an obesogenic diet animal model of NAFLD.
    Keywords:  DHEA; NAFLD; high fat-fructose diet; mitochondrial biogenesis; mtDNA damage
  34. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Sep 10. pii: 9780. [Epub ahead of print]22(18):
      Mitigation of calcium-dependent destruction of skeletal muscle mitochondria is considered as a promising adjunctive therapy in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). In this work, we study the effect of intraperitoneal administration of a non-immunosuppressive inhibitor of calcium-dependent mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT) pore alisporivir on the state of skeletal muscles and the functioning of mitochondria in dystrophin-deficient mdx mice. We show that treatment with alisporivir reduces inflammation and improves muscle function in mdx mice. These effects of alisporivir were associated with an improvement in the ultrastructure of mitochondria, normalization of respiration and oxidative phosphorylation, and a decrease in lipid peroxidation, due to suppression of MPT pore opening and an improvement in calcium homeostasis. The action of alisporivir was associated with suppression of the activity of cyclophilin D and a decrease in its expression in skeletal muscles. This was observed in both mdx mice and wild-type animals. At the same time, alisporivir suppressed mitochondrial biogenesis, assessed by the expression of Ppargc1a, and altered the dynamics of organelles, inhibiting both DRP1-mediated fission and MFN2-associated fusion of mitochondria. The article discusses the effects of alisporivir administration and cyclophilin D inhibition on mitochondrial reprogramming and networking in DMD and the consequences of this therapy on skeletal muscle health.
    Keywords:  Debio-025; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; alisporivir; cyclophilin D; mitochondria; mitochondrial permeability transition; skeletal muscle
  35. Genet Med. 2021 Oct;23(10): 1889-1900
      PURPOSE: Growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) is a key signaling protein required for proper development of many organ systems. Only one prior study has associated an inherited GDF11 variant with a dominant human disease in a family with variable craniofacial and vertebral abnormalities. Here, we expand the phenotypic spectrum associated with GDF11 variants and document the nature of the variants.METHODS: We present a cohort of six probands with de novo and inherited nonsense/frameshift (4/6 patients) and missense (2/6) variants in GDF11. We generated gdf11 mutant zebrafish to model loss of gdf11 phenotypes and used an overexpression screen in Drosophila to test variant functionality.
    RESULTS: Patients with variants in GDF11 presented with craniofacial (5/6), vertebral (5/6), neurological (6/6), visual (4/6), cardiac (3/6), auditory (3/6), and connective tissue abnormalities (3/6). gdf11 mutant zebrafish show craniofacial abnormalities and body segmentation defects that match some patient phenotypes. Expression of the patients' variants in the fly showed that one nonsense variant in GDF11 is a severe loss-of-function (LOF) allele whereas the missense variants in our cohort are partial LOF variants.
    CONCLUSION: GDF11 is needed for human development, particularly neuronal development, and LOF GDF11 alleles can affect the development of numerous organs and tissues.
  36. Metabolites. 2021 Aug 26. pii: 568. [Epub ahead of print]11(9):
      Inborn errors of metabolism (IEM) are inherited conditions caused by genetic defects in enzymes or cofactors. These defects result in a specific metabolic fingerprint in patient body fluids, showing accumulation of substrate or lack of an end-product of the defective enzymatic step. Untargeted metabolomics has evolved as a high throughput methodology offering a comprehensive readout of this metabolic fingerprint. This makes it a promising tool for diagnostic screening of IEM patients. However, the size and complexity of metabolomics data have posed a challenge in translating this avalanche of information into knowledge, particularly for clinical application. We have previously established next-generation metabolic screening (NGMS) as a metabolomics-based diagnostic tool for analyzing plasma of individual IEM-suspected patients. To fully exploit the clinical potential of NGMS, we present a computational pipeline to streamline the analysis of untargeted metabolomics data. This pipeline allows for time-efficient and reproducible data analysis, compatible with ISO:15189 accredited clinical diagnostics. The pipeline implements a combination of tools embedded in a workflow environment for large-scale clinical metabolomics data analysis. The accompanying graphical user interface aids end-users from a diagnostic laboratory for efficient data interpretation and reporting. We also demonstrate the application of this pipeline with a case study and discuss future prospects.
    Keywords:  bioinformatics pipeline; biomarkers; clinical application; data analysis; inherited metabolic diseases; mass spectrometry; next-generation metabolic screening; untargeted metabolomics
  37. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2375 1-12
      Vasculature plays a vital role in human biology as blood vessels transport nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. Endothelial cells (ECs), specifically, are key as they maintain barrier functions between the circulating blood and the surrounding tissues. ECs derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are utilized to study vascular development and disease mechanisms within in vitro models. Additionally, ECs derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold great promise for advancing personalized medicine, cell therapies, and tissue-engineered constructs by creating patient-specific cell populations. Here, we describe a xeno-free, serum-free differentiation protocol for deriving ECs from hPSCs. In brief, mesoderm progenitor cells are derived via WNT pathway activation. Following this, EC maturation is achieved with exogenous vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) and basic fibroblast growth factor 2 (bFGF2). We have characterized these cells as expressing mature EC markers and have illustrated their functionality in vitro.
    Keywords:  Endothelial cells; Endothelial differentiation; Human pluripotent stem cells; Wnt signalling
  38. Am J Hum Genet. 2021 Sep 22. pii: S0002-9297(21)00335-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Complex traits and diseases can be influenced by both genetics and environment. However, given the large number of environmental stimuli and power challenges for gene-by-environment testing, it remains a critical challenge to identify and prioritize specific disease-relevant environmental exposures. We propose a framework for leveraging signals from transcriptional responses to environmental perturbations to identify disease-relevant perturbations that can modulate genetic risk for complex traits and inform the functions of genetic variants associated with complex traits. We perturbed human skeletal-muscle-, fat-, and liver-relevant cell lines with 21 perturbations affecting insulin resistance, glucose homeostasis, and metabolic regulation in humans and identified thousands of environmentally responsive genes. By combining these data with GWASs from 31 distinct polygenic traits, we show that the heritability of multiple traits is enriched in regions surrounding genes responsive to specific perturbations and, further, that environmentally responsive genes are enriched for associations with specific diseases and phenotypes from the GWAS Catalog. Overall, we demonstrate the advantages of large-scale characterization of transcriptional changes in diversely stimulated and pathologically relevant cells to identify disease-relevant perturbations.
    Keywords:  GWAS; colocalization; eQTL; gene expression; gene-by-environment interactions
  39. Methods Mol Biol. 2021 ;2381 217-223
      Advances in molecular genetics through high-throughput gene mutagenesis and genetic crossing have enabled gene interaction mapping across whole genomes. Detecting gene interactions in even small microbial genomes relies on measuring growth phenotypes in thousands of crossed strains followed by statistical analysis to compare single and double mutants. The preferred computational approach is to use a multiplicative model that factors phenotype scores of single gene mutants to identify gene interactions in double mutants. Here we present how machine learning models that consider the characteristics of the phenotypic data improve on the classical multiplicative model. Importantly, machine learning improves the selection of cutoff values to identify gene interactions from phenotypic scores.
    Keywords:  Computational genetic interaction; Machine learning approach
  40. Structure. 2021 Sep 24. pii: S0969-2126(21)00331-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cryoelectron microscopy has revolutionized spliceosome structural biology, and structures representing much of the splicing process have been determined. Comparison of these structures is challenging due to extreme dynamics of the splicing machinery and the thousands of changing interactions during splicing. We have used network theory to analyze splicing factor interactions by constructing structure-based networks from protein-protein, protein-RNA, and RNA-RNA interactions found in eight different spliceosome structures. Our analyses reveal that connectivity dynamics result in step-specific impacts of factors on network topology. The spliceosome's connectivity is focused on the active site, in part due to contributions from nonglobular proteins. Many essential factors exhibit large shifts in centralities during splicing. Others show transiently high betweenness centralities at certain stages, thereby suggesting mechanisms for regulating splicing by briefly bridging otherwise poorly connected network nodes. These observations provide insights into organizing principles of the spliceosome and provide frameworks for comparative analysis of other macromolecular machines.
    Keywords:  RNA; centrality; cryo-EM; network theory; pre-mRNA splicing; snRNP; spliceosome
  41. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Sep 11. pii: 9839. [Epub ahead of print]22(18):
      BACKGROUND: Parkinson's disease (PD) is currently the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, burdening about 10 million elderly individuals worldwide. The multifactorial nature of PD poses a difficult obstacle for understanding the mechanisms involved in its onset and progression. Currently, diagnosis depends on the appearance of clinical signs, some of which are shared among various neurologic disorders, hindering early diagnosis. There are no effective tools to prevent PD onset, detect the disease in early stages or accurately report the risk of disease progression. Hence, there is an increasing demand for biomarkers that may identify disease onset and progression, as treatment-based medicine may not be the best approach for PD. Over the last few decades, the search for molecular markers to predict susceptibility, aid in accurate diagnosis and evaluate the progress of PD have intensified, but strategies aimed to improve individualized patient care have not yet been established.CONCLUSIONS: Genomic variation, regulation by epigenomic mechanisms, as well as the influence of the host gut microbiome seem to have a crucial role in the onset and progress of PD, thus are considered potential biomarkers. As such, the human nuclear and mitochondrial genome, epigenome, and the host gut microbiome might be the key elements to the rise of personalized medicine for PD patients.
    Keywords:  Parkinson’s disease; biomarkers; epigenetics; genetics; microbiome; mitochondria; neurodegeneration; non-coding RNAs; precision medicine
  42. Brain. 2021 Sep 28. pii: awab275. [Epub ahead of print]
      Striated muscle needs to maintain cellular homeostasis in adaptation to increases in physiological and metabolic demands. Failure to do so can result in rhabdomyolysis. The identification of novel genetic conditions associated with rhabdomyolysis helps to shed light on hitherto unrecognized homeostatic mechanisms. Here we report seven individuals in six families from different ethnic backgrounds with biallelic variants in MLIP, which encodes the Muscular Lamin A/C-interacting protein MLIP. Patients presented with a consistent phenotype characterized by mild muscle weakness, exercise-induced muscle pain, variable susceptibility to episodes of rhabdomyolysis, and persistent basal elevated serum creatine kinase levels. The biallelic truncating variants were predicted to result in disruption of the nuclear localizing signal of MLIP. Additionally, reduced overall RNA expression levels of the predominant MLIP isoform were observed in patients' skeletal muscle. Collectively, our data increase the understanding of the genetic landscape of rhabdomyolysis to now include MLIP as a novel disease gene in humans, and solidifies MLIP's role in normal and diseased skeletal muscle homeostasis.
    Keywords:  MLIP; cardiomyopathy; hyperCKemia; myopathy; rhabdomyolysis
  43. BMC Med Genomics. 2021 Oct 01. 14(1): 238
      BACKGROUND: Polygenic scores-which quantify inherited risk by integrating information from many common sites of DNA variation-may enable a tailored approach to clinical medicine. However, alongside considerable enthusiasm, we and others have highlighted a lack of standardized approaches for score disclosure. Here, we review the landscape of polygenic score reporting and describe a generalizable approach for development of a polygenic score disclosure tool for coronary artery disease.METHODS: We assembled a working group of clinicians, geneticists, data visualization specialists, and software developers. The group reviewed existing polygenic score reports and then designed a two-page mock report for coronary artery disease. We then conducted a qualitative user-experience study with this report using an interview guide focused on comprehension, experience, and attitudes. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed for themes identification to inform report revision.
    RESULTS: Review of nine existing polygenic score reports from commercial and academic groups demonstrated significant heterogeneity, reinforcing the need for additional efforts to study and standardize score disclosure. Using a newly developed mock score report, we conducted interviews with ten adult individuals (50% females, 70% without prior genetic testing experience, age range 20-70 years) recruited via an online platform. We identified three themes from interviews: (1) visual elements, such as color and simple graphics, enable participants to interpret, relate to, and contextualize their polygenic score, (2) word-based descriptions of risk and polygenic scores presented as percentiles were the best recognized and understood, (3) participants had varying levels of interest in understanding complex genomic information and therefore would benefit from additional resources that can adapt to their individual needs in real time. In response to user feedback, colors used for communicating risk were modified to minimize unintended color associations and odds ratios were removed. All 10 participants expressed interest in receiving a polygenic score report based on their personal genomic information.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our findings describe a generalizable approach to develop a polygenic score report understandable by potential patients. Although additional studies are needed across a wider spectrum of patient populations, these results are likely to inform ongoing efforts related to polygenic score disclosure within clinical practice.
    Keywords:  Data visualization; Genomic medicine; Health communication; Laboratory reports; Patient communication; Polygenic scores; Population health
  44. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2021 Sep 29.
      Anti-mitochondrial antibodies (AMA) are directed against the E2 subunits of the 2-oxo acid dehydrogenase complexes (PDC-E2) and are the typical biomarkers of primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), being present in 90-95% of patients, with increasing sensitivity at increasing titers. Albeit being highly specific for PBC diagnosis, AMA can be detected in less than 1% of healthy subjects, and thus the management subjects with no sign or symptom of liver disease is still a challenge and data concerning clinical risk of developing PBC in this subgroup of patients are controversial. Moreover, AMA can also be detected in patients affected by overlap syndrome, as well as hepatic diseases (i.e., NASH and viral hepatitis), while the association with autoimmune diseases, in particular Sjögren's syndrome, systemic sclerosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus, is well established. Furthermore, new associations are being identified with inflammatory myositis and heart disease. AMA are directed towards the pyruvate dehydrogenase multi enzyme complex (PDC-E2) subunit, which represents an epithelial specific autoantigen for PBC. This review focuses on the main characteristics of AMA, their association with autoimmune diseases and liver diseases.
    Keywords:  Autoimmunity; Myositis; Primary biliary cholangitis; Systemic sclerosis
  45. Lab Invest. 2021 Oct 02.
      Histopathologic evaluation of muscle biopsy samples is essential for classifying and diagnosing muscle diseases. However, the numbers of experienced specialists and pathologists are limited. Although new technologies such as artificial intelligence are expected to improve medical reach, their use with rare diseases, such as muscle diseases, is challenging because of the limited availability of training datasets. To address this gap, we developed an algorithm based on deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and collected 4041 microscopic images of 1400 hematoxylin-and-eosin-stained pathology slides stored in the National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry for training CNNs. Our trained algorithm differentiated idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (mostly treatable) from hereditary muscle diseases (mostly non-treatable) with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.996 and achieved better sensitivity and specificity than the diagnoses done by nine physicians under limited diseases and conditions. Furthermore, it successfully and accurately classified four subtypes of the idiopathic inflammatory myopathies with an average AUC of 0.958 and classified seven subtypes of hereditary muscle disease with an average AUC of 0.936. We also established a method to validate the similarity between the predictions made by the algorithm and the seven physicians using visualization technology and clarified the validity of the predictions. These results support the reliability of the algorithm and suggest that our algorithm has the potential to be used straightforwardly in a clinical setting.
  46. Cell Discov. 2020 Sep 29. 6(1): 67
      The translocase of the outer mitochondrial membrane (TOM) complex is the main entry gate for mitochondrial precursor proteins synthesized on cytosolic ribosomes. Here we report the single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of the dimeric human TOM core complex (TOM-CC). Two Tom40 β-barrel proteins, connected by two Tom22 receptor subunits and one phospholipid, form the protein-conducting channels. The small Tom proteins Tom5, Tom6, and Tom7 surround the channel and have notable configurations. The distinct electrostatic features of the complex, including the pronounced negative interior and the positive regions at the periphery and center of the dimer on the intermembrane space (IMS) side, provide insight into the preprotein translocation mechanism. Further, two dimeric TOM complexes may associate to form tetramer in the shape of a parallelogram, offering a potential explanation into the unusual structural features of Tom subunits and a new perspective of viewing the import of mitochondrial proteins.
  47. Elife. 2021 09 29. pii: e72104. [Epub ahead of print]10
      How do cells perceive time? Do cells use temporal information to regulate the production/degradation of their enzymes, membranes, and organelles? Does controlling biological time influence cytoskeletal organization and cellular architecture in ways that confer evolutionary and physiological advantages? Potential answers to these fundamental questions of cell biology have historically revolved around the discussion of 'master' temporal programs, such as the principal cyclin-dependent kinase/cyclin cell division oscillator and the circadian clock. In this review, we provide an overview of the recent evidence supporting an emerging concept of 'autonomous clocks,' which under normal conditions can be entrained by the cell cycle and/or the circadian clock to run at their pace, but can also run independently to serve their functions if/when these major temporal programs are halted/abrupted. We begin the discussion by introducing recent developments in the study of such clocks and their roles at different scales and complexities. We then use current advances to elucidate the logic and molecular architecture of temporal networks that comprise autonomous clocks, providing important clues as to how these clocks may have evolved to run independently and, sometimes at the cost of redundancy, have strongly coupled to run under the full command of the cell cycle and/or the circadian clock. Next, we review a list of important recent findings that have shed new light onto potential hallmarks of autonomous clocks, suggestive of prospective theoretical and experimental approaches to further accelerate their discovery. Finally, we discuss their roles in health and disease, as well as possible therapeutic opportunities that targeting the autonomous clocks may offer.
    Keywords:  autonomous clocks; biological timing; cell biology; cell cycle; circadian clock; cytoskeleton; organelle dynamics; physics of living systems