bims-mitdis Biomed News
on Mitochondrial disorders
Issue of 2021‒11‒28
seventeen papers selected by
Catalina Vasilescu
University of Helsinki

  1. J Vis Exp. 2021 Nov 08.
      Mitochondria are important in the pathophysiology of many neurodegenerative diseases. Changes in mitochondrial volume, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number are often features of these processes. This report details a novel flow cytometry-based approach to measure multiple mitochondrial parameters in different cell types, including human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and iPSC-derived neural and glial cells. This flow-based strategy uses live cells to measure mitochondrial volume, MMP, and ROS levels, as well as fixed cells to estimate components of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) and mtDNA-associated proteins such as mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM). By co-staining with fluorescent reporters, including MitoTracker Green (MTG), tetramethylrhodamine ethyl ester (TMRE), and MitoSox Red, changes in mitochondrial volume, MMP, and mitochondrial ROS can be quantified and related to mitochondrial content. Double staining with antibodies against MRC complex subunits and translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 20 (TOMM20) permits the assessment of MRC subunit expression. As the amount of TFAM is proportional to mtDNA copy number, the measurement of TFAM per TOMM20 gives an indirect measurement of mtDNA per mitochondrial volume. The entire protocol can be carried out within 2-3 h. Importantly, these protocols allow the measurement of mitochondrial parameters, both at the total level and the specific level per mitochondrial volume, using flow cytometry.
  2. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 12. pii: 12223. [Epub ahead of print]22(22):
      Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndromes (MDS) are clinically heterogenous and often severe diseases, characterized by a reduction of the number of copies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in affected tissues. In the context of MDS, yeast has proved to be both an excellent model for the study of the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial pathologies and for the discovery of new therapies via high-throughput assays. Among the several genes involved in MDS, it has been shown that recessive mutations in MPV17 cause a hepatocerebral form of MDS and Navajo neurohepatopathy. MPV17 encodes a non selective channel in the inner mitochondrial membrane, but its physiological role and the nature of its cargo remains elusive. In this study we identify ten drugs active against MPV17 disorder, modelled in yeast using the homologous gene SYM1. All ten of the identified molecules cause a concomitant increase of both the mitochondrial deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate (mtdNTP) pool and mtDNA stability, which suggests that the reduced availability of DNA synthesis precursors is the cause for the mtDNA deletion and depletion associated with Sym1 deficiency. We finally evaluated the effect of these molecules on mtDNA stability in two other MDS yeast models, extending the potential use of these drugs to a wider range of MDS patients.
    Keywords:  MIP1; MPV17; POLG; RNR2; RRM2B; SYM1; drug repurposing; mitochondrial DNA depletion syndromes (MDS); mitochondrial dNTP pool; yeast
  3. Brain Pathol. 2021 Nov 21. e13038
      Two homoplasmic variants in tRNAGlu (m.14674T>C/G) are associated with reversible infantile respiratory chain deficiency. This study sought to further characterize the expression of the individual mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes and to describe the natural history of the disease. Seven patients from four families with mitochondrial myopathy associated with the homoplasmic m.14674T>C variant were investigated. All patients underwent skeletal muscle biopsy and mtDNA sequencing. Whole-genome sequencing was performed in one family. Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses were used to characterize the expression of the individual respiratory chain complexes. Patients presented with hypotonia and feeding difficulties within the first weeks or months of life, except for one patient who first showed symptoms at 4 years of age. Histopathological findings in muscle included lipid accumulation, numerous COX-deficient fibers, and mitochondrial proliferation. Ultrastructural abnormalities included enlarged mitochondria with concentric cristae and dense mitochondrial matrix. The m.14674T>C variant in MT-TE was identified in all patients. Immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting demonstrated pronounced deficiency of the complex I subunit NDUFB8. The expression of MTCO1, a complex IV subunit, was also decreased, but not to the same extent as NDUFB8. Longitudinal follow-up data demonstrated that not all features of the disorder are entirely transient, that the disease may be progressive, and that signs and symptoms of myopathy may develop during childhood. This study sheds new light on the involvement of complex I in reversible infantile respiratory chain deficiency, it shows that the disorder may be progressive, and that myopathy can develop without an infantile episode.
    Keywords:  homoplasmic mt-tRNAGlu variant; mitochondrial myopathy; mtDNA; reversible infantile respiratory chain deficiency; whole genome sequencing
  4. J Proteomics. 2021 Nov 20. pii: S1874-3919(21)00329-8. [Epub ahead of print] 104430
      A role for reversible phosphorylation in regulation of mitochondrial proteins has been neglected for a long time. Particularly, the import machineries that mediate influx of more than 1000 different precursor proteins into the organelle were considered as predominantly constitutively active entities. Only recently, a combination of advanced phosphoproteomic approaches and Phos-tag technology enabled the discovery of several phosphorylation sites at the translocase of the outer membrane TOM and the identification of cellular signalling cascades that allow dynamic adaptation of the protein influx into mitochondria upon changing cellular demands. Here, we present a protocol that allows biochemical and semi-quantitative profiling of intra-mitochondrial protein phosphorylation. We exemplify this with the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDH), which serves as a central metabolic switch in energy metabolism that is based on reversible phosphorylation. Phos-tag technology allows rapid monitoring of the metabolic state via simultaneous detection of phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated species of the PDH core component Pda1. Our protocol can be applied for several further intra-organellar proteins like respiratory chain complexes or protein translocases of the inner membrane. SIGNIFICANCE: Our manuscript describes for the first time how Phos-tag technology can be applied to monitor phosphorylation of intramitochondrial proteins. We exemplify this with the regulation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex as central regulatory switch in energy metabolism. We show that our protocol allows a rapid monitoring of the metabolic state of the cell (phosphorylated PDH is inactive while non-phosphorylated PDH is active) and can be applied for rapid profiling of different metabolic conditions as well as for profiling phosphorylation of further intramitochondrial protein (complexes).
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; Protein import; Protein translocation; Signalling; TOM complex
  5. Cell Metab. 2021 Nov 12. pii: S1550-4131(21)00529-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are key organelles for cellular energetics, metabolism, signaling, and quality control and have been linked to various diseases. Different views exist on the composition of the human mitochondrial proteome. We classified >8,000 proteins in mitochondrial preparations of human cells and defined a mitochondrial high-confidence proteome of >1,100 proteins (MitoCoP). We identified interactors of translocases, respiratory chain, and ATP synthase assembly factors. The abundance of MitoCoP proteins covers six orders of magnitude and amounts to 7% of the cellular proteome with the chaperones HSP60-HSP10 being the most abundant mitochondrial proteins. MitoCoP dynamics spans three orders of magnitudes, with half-lives from hours to months, and suggests a rapid regulation of biosynthesis and assembly processes. 460 MitoCoP genes are linked to human diseases with a strong prevalence for the central nervous system and metabolism. MitoCoP will provide a high-confidence resource for placing dynamics, functions, and dysfunctions of mitochondria into the cellular context.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; complexome; copy numbers; disease; half-lives; high-confidence proteome; human cells; protein translocation; respiratory chain; smORFs
  6. Elife. 2021 Nov 22. pii: e73808. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Mitochondrial metabolism is of central importance to diverse aspects of cell and developmental biology. Defects in mitochondria are associated with many diseases, including cancer, neuropathology, and infertility. Our understanding of mitochondrial metabolism in situ and dysfunction in diseases are limited by the lack of techniques to measure mitochondrial metabolic fluxes with sufficient spatiotemporal resolution. Herein, we developed a new method to infer mitochondrial metabolic fluxes in living cells with subcellular resolution from fluorescence lifetime imaging of NADH. This result is based on the use of a generic coarse-grained NADH redox model. We tested the model in mouse oocytes and human tissue culture cells subject to a wide variety of perturbations by comparing predicted fluxes through the electron transport chain (ETC) to direct measurements of oxygen consumption rate. Interpreting the FLIM measurements of NADH using this model, we discovered a homeostasis of ETC flux in mouse oocytes: perturbations of nutrient supply and energy demand of the cell do not change ETC flux despite significantly impacting NADH metabolic state. Furthermore, we observed a subcellular spatial gradient of ETC flux in mouse oocytes and found that this gradient is primarily a result of a spatially heterogeneous mitochondrial proton leak. We concluded from these observations that ETC flux in mouse oocytes is not controlled by energy demand or supply, but by the intrinsic rates of mitochondrial respiration.
    Keywords:  biochemistry; chemical biology; human; mouse; physics of living systems
  7. J Med Cases. 2021 Nov;12(11): 455-459
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations frequently manifest with multisystem disease, including cardiomyopathy (CM). Various studies described mutations in protein-encoding mtDNA genes, such as cytochrome-b, manifesting with CM. A detailed clinical, biochemical, and molecular genetic analysis was performed in a 40-year-old male with dilated CM (DCM) to detect the underlying mtDNA defect. Muscle biopsy showed complex-III deficiency, and sequencing of the cytochrome-b gene revealed the pathogenic variant m.14757T>C in MT-CYB, resulting in the replacement of the hydrophobic methionine by the polar threonine (M4T). By application of the PolyPhen algorithm the variant was predicted as pathogenic. The mutation was not found in 100 healthy controls and never reported as a neutral polymorphism despite extensive sequencing of the cytochrome-b gene in 2,704 normal healthy controls from different ethnic backgrounds. In conclusion, the novel variant m.14757T>C in MT-CYB is associated with DCM suggesting a pathophysiologic role of the variant in the development of DCM.
    Keywords:  Cytochrome-b gene; Dilated cardiomyopathy; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial; Oxidative phosphorylation; Systolic dysfunction; mtDNA
  8. Sci Rep. 2021 Nov 23. 11(1): 22755
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance is essential to sustain a functionally healthy population of mitochondria within cells. Proper mtDNA replication and distribution within mitochondrial networks are essential to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis. However, the fundamental basis of mtDNA segregation and distribution within mitochondrial networks is still unclear. To address these questions, we developed an algorithm, Mitomate tracker to unravel the global distribution of nucleoids within mitochondria. Using this tool, we decipher the semi-regular spacing of nucleoids across mitochondrial networks. Furthermore, we show that mitochondrial fission actively regulates mtDNA distribution by controlling the distribution of nucleoids within mitochondrial networks. Specifically, we found that primary cells bearing disease-associated mutations in the fission proteins DRP1 and MYH14 show altered nucleoid distribution, and acute enrichment of enlarged nucleoids near the nucleus. Further analysis suggests that the altered nucleoid distribution observed in the fission mutants is the result of both changes in network structure and nucleoid density. Thus, our study provides novel insights into the role of mitochondria fission in nucleoid distribution and the understanding of diseases caused by fission defects.
  9. Nat Immunol. 2021 Nov 22.
      Misdirected immunity gives rise to the autoimmune tissue inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, in which excess production of the cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a central pathogenic event. Mechanisms underlying the breakdown of self-tolerance are unclear, but T cells in the arthritic joint have a distinctive metabolic signature of ATPlo acetyl-CoAhi proinflammatory effector cells. Here we show that a deficiency in the production of mitochondrial aspartate is an important abnormality in these autoimmune T cells. Shortage of mitochondrial aspartate disrupted the regeneration of the metabolic cofactor nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, causing ADP deribosylation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) sensor GRP78/BiP. As a result, ribosome-rich ER membranes expanded, promoting co-translational translocation and enhanced biogenesis of transmembrane TNF. ERrich T cells were the predominant TNF producers in the arthritic joint. Transfer of intact mitochondria into T cells, as well as supplementation of exogenous aspartate, rescued the mitochondria-instructed expansion of ER membranes and suppressed TNF release and rheumatoid tissue inflammation.
  10. Am J Hum Genet. 2021 Nov 17. pii: S0002-9297(21)00415-8. [Epub ahead of print]
    SYNaPS Study Group
      The 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase-like (OGDHL) protein is a rate-limiting enzyme in the Krebs cycle that plays a pivotal role in mitochondrial metabolism. OGDHL expression is restricted mainly to the brain in humans. Here, we report nine individuals from eight unrelated families carrying bi-allelic variants in OGDHL with a range of neurological and neurodevelopmental phenotypes including epilepsy, hearing loss, visual impairment, gait ataxia, microcephaly, and hypoplastic corpus callosum. The variants include three homozygous missense variants (p.Pro852Ala, p.Arg244Trp, and p.Arg299Gly), three compound heterozygous single-nucleotide variants (p.Arg673Gln/p.Val488Val, p.Phe734Ser/p.Ala327Val, and p.Trp220Cys/p.Asp491Val), one homozygous frameshift variant (p.Cys553Leufs∗16), and one homozygous stop-gain variant (p.Arg440Ter). To support the pathogenicity of the variants, we developed a novel CRISPR-Cas9-mediated tissue-specific knockout with cDNA rescue system for dOgdh, the Drosophila ortholog of human OGDHL. Pan-neuronal knockout of dOgdh led to developmental lethality as well as defects in Krebs cycle metabolism, which was fully rescued by expression of wild-type dOgdh. Studies using the Drosophila system indicate that p.Arg673Gln, p.Phe734Ser, and p.Arg299Gly are severe loss-of-function alleles, leading to developmental lethality, whereas p.Pro852Ala, p.Ala327Val, p.Trp220Cys, p.Asp491Val, and p.Arg244Trp are hypomorphic alleles, causing behavioral defects. Transcript analysis from fibroblasts obtained from the individual carrying the synonymous variant (c.1464T>C [p.Val488Val]) in family 2 showed that the synonymous variant affects splicing of exon 11 in OGDHL. Human neuronal cells with OGDHL knockout exhibited defects in mitochondrial respiration, indicating the essential role of OGDHL in mitochondrial metabolism in humans. Together, our data establish that the bi-allelic variants in OGDHL are pathogenic, leading to a Mendelian neurodevelopmental disease in humans.
    Keywords:  CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing; DEE; Drosophila; OGDHL; bi-allelic; developmental and epileptic encephalopathy; exome sequencing; mitochondria; neurodevelopmental disease; α-ketoglutarate
  11. BMC Genom Data. 2021 Nov 26. 22(1): 52
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) codes for products necessary for electron transport and mitochondrial gene translation. mtDNA mutations can lead to human disease and influence organismal fitness. The PolG mutator mouse lacks mtDNA proofreading function and rapidly accumulates mtDNA mutations, making it a model for examining the causes and consequences of mitochondrial mutations. Premature aging in PolG mice and their physiology have been examined in depth, but the location, frequency, and diversity of their mtDNA mutations remain understudied. Identifying the locations and spectra of mtDNA mutations in PolG mice can shed light on how selection shapes mtDNA, both within and across organisms.RESULTS: Here, we characterized somatic and germline mtDNA mutations in brain and liver tissue of PolG mice to quantify mutation count (number of unique mutations) and frequency (mutation prevalence). Overall, mtDNA mutation count and frequency were the lowest in the D-loop, where an mtDNA origin of replication is located, but otherwise uniform across the mitochondrial genome. Somatic mtDNA mutations have a higher mutation count than germline mutations. However, germline mutations maintain a higher frequency and were also more likely to be silent. Cytosine to thymine mutations characteristic of replication errors were the plurality of basepair changes, and missense C to T mutations primarily resulted in increased protein hydrophobicity. Unlike wild type mice, PolG mice do not appear to show strand asymmetry in mtDNA mutations. Indel mutations had a lower count and frequency than point mutations and tended to be short, frameshift deletions.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our results provide strong evidence that purifying selection plays a major role in the mtDNA of PolG mice. Missense mutations were less likely to be passed down in the germline, and they were less likely to spread to high frequencies. The D-loop appears to have resistance to mutations, either through selection or as a by-product of replication processes. Missense mutations that decrease hydrophobicity also tend to be selected against, reflecting the membrane-bound nature of mtDNA-encoded proteins. The abundance of mutations from polymerase errors compared with reactive oxygen species (ROS) damage supports previous studies suggesting ROS plays a minimal role in exacerbating the PolG phenotype, but our findings on strand asymmetry provide discussion for the role of polymerase errors in wild type organisms. Our results provide further insight on how selection shapes mtDNA mutations and on the aging mechanisms in PolG mice.
    Keywords:  Germline mutations; Mutation spectrum; PolG; Protein hydrophobicity; ROS; mitochondrial theory of aging; mtDNA; mtDNA mutations; mtDNA selection
  12. Genes (Basel). 2021 Nov 09. pii: 1776. [Epub ahead of print]12(11):
      Neurodegenerative diseases result in the progressive deterioration of the nervous system, with motor and cognitive impairments being the two most observable problems. Motor dysfunction could be caused by motor neuron diseases (MNDs) characterized by the loss of motor neurons, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, or other neurodegenerative diseases with the destruction of brain areas that affect movement, such as Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is one of the most abundant metabolites in the human body and is involved with numerous cellular processes, including energy metabolism, circadian clock, and DNA repair. NAD+ can be reversibly oxidized-reduced or directly consumed by NAD+-dependent proteins. NAD+ is synthesized in cells via three different paths: the de novo, Preiss-Handler, or NAD+ salvage pathways, with the salvage pathway being the primary producer of NAD+ in mammalian cells. NAD+ metabolism is being investigated for a role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we discuss cellular NAD+ homeostasis, looking at NAD+ biosynthesis and consumption, with a focus on the NAD+ salvage pathway. Then, we examine the research, including human clinical trials, focused on the involvement of NAD+ in MNDs and other neurodegenerative diseases with motor dysfunction.
    Keywords:  NAD+; Nampt; energy metabolism; motor dysfunction; motor neuron diseases
  13. Genet Mol Biol. 2021 ;pii: S1415-47572021000600104. [Epub ahead of print]44(4): e20210149
      Mitochondrial complex I (CI) deficiency is the most common oxidative phosphorylation disorder described. It shows a wide range of phenotypes with poor correlation within genotypes. Herein we expand the clinics and genetics of CI deficiency in the brazilian population by reporting three patients with pathogenic (c.640G>A, c.1268C>T, c.1207dupG) and likely pathogenic (c.766C>T) variants in the NDUFV1 gene. We show the mutation c.766C>T associated with a childhood onset phenotype of hypotonia, muscle weakness, psychomotor regression, lethargy, dysphagia, and strabismus. Additionally, this mutation was found to be associated with headaches and exercise intolerance in adulthood. We also review reported pathogenic variants in NDUFV1 highlighting the wide phenotypic heterogeneity in CI deficiency.
  14. J Biol Chem. 2021 Nov 19. pii: S0021-9258(21)01244-8. [Epub ahead of print] 101435
      The dual roles of H2S as an endogenously synthesized respiratory substrate and as a toxin, raise questions as to how it is cleared when the electron transport chain is inhibited. Sulfide quinone oxidoreductase (SQOR) catalyzes the first step in the mitochondrial H2S oxidation pathway, using CoQ as an electron acceptor, and connects to the electron transport chain at the level of complex III. We have discovered that at high H2S concentrations, which are known to inhibit complex IV, a new redox cycle is established between SQOR and complex II, operating in reverse. Under these conditions, the purine nucleotide cycle and the malate aspartate shuttle furnish fumarate, which supports complex II reversal and leads to succinate accumulation. Complex II knockdown in colonocytes decreases the efficiency of H2S clearance while targeted knockout of complex II in intestinal epithelial cells significantly decreases the levels of thiosulfate, a biomarker of H2S oxidation, to approximately one third of the values seen in serum and urine samples from control mice. These data establish the physiological relevance of this newly discovered redox circuitry between SQOR and complex II for prioritizing H2S oxidation and reveal the quantitatively significant contribution of intestinal epithelial cells to systemic H2S metabolism.
    Keywords:  SDHA; coenzyme Q; complex II; electron transport chain; fumarate; hydrogen sulfide
  15. Nat Commun. 2021 Nov 25. 12(1): 6877
      AGPATs (1-acylglycerol-3-phosphate O-acyltransferases) catalyze the acylation of lysophosphatidic acid to form phosphatidic acid (PA), a key step in the glycerol-3-phosphate pathway for the synthesis of phospholipids and triacylglycerols. AGPAT2 is the only AGPAT isoform whose loss-of-function mutations cause a severe form of human congenital generalized lipodystrophy. Paradoxically, AGPAT2 deficiency is known to dramatically increase the level of its product, PA. Here, we find that AGPAT2 deficiency impairs the biogenesis and growth of lipid droplets. We show that AGPAT2 deficiency compromises the stability of CDP-diacylglycerol (DAG) synthases (CDSs) and decreases CDS activity in both cell lines and mouse liver. Moreover, AGPAT2 and CDS1/2 can directly interact and form functional complexes, which promote the metabolism of PA along the CDP-DAG pathway of phospholipid synthesis. Our results provide key insights into the regulation of metabolic flux during lipid synthesis and suggest substrate channelling at a major branch point of the glycerol-3-phosphate pathway.
  16. Nat Commun. 2021 Nov 25. 12(1): 6902
      Synthesis of iron-sulfur (Fe/S) clusters in living cells requires scaffold proteins for both facile synthesis and subsequent transfer of clusters to target apoproteins. The human mitochondrial ISCU2 scaffold protein is part of the core ISC (iron-sulfur cluster assembly) complex that synthesizes a bridging [2Fe-2S] cluster on dimeric ISCU2. Initial iron and sulfur loading onto monomeric ISCU2 have been elucidated biochemically, yet subsequent [2Fe-2S] cluster formation and dimerization of ISCU2 is mechanistically ill-defined. Our structural, biochemical and cell biological experiments now identify a crucial function of the universally conserved N-terminal Tyr35 of ISCU2 for these late reactions. Mixing two, per se non-functional ISCU2 mutant proteins with oppositely charged Asp35 and Lys35 residues, both bound to different cysteine desulfurase complexes NFS1-ISD11-ACP, restores wild-type ISCU2 maturation demonstrating that ionic forces can replace native Tyr-Tyr interactions during dimerization-induced [2Fe-2S] cluster formation. Our studies define the essential mechanistic role of Tyr35 in the reaction cycle of de novo mitochondrial [2Fe-2S] cluster synthesis.
  17. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 767221
      Mitosis ensures genome integrity by mediating precise segregation of the duplicated genetic material. Segregation of subcellular organelles during mitosis also needs to be tightly coordinated in order to warrant their proper inheritance and cellular homeostasis. The inheritance of mitochondria, a powerhouse of the cell, is tightly regulated in order to meet the high energy demand to fuel the mitotic machinery. Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles, which undergo events of fission, fusion and transport during different cell cycle stages. Importantly, during mitosis several kinases phosphorylate the key mitochondrial factors and drive fragmentation of mitochondria to allow for their efficient distribution and inheritance to two daughter cells. Recent evidence suggests that mitochondrial fission can also actively contribute to the regulation of mitotic progression. This review aims at summarizing established and emerging concepts about the complex regulatory networks which couple crucial mitotic factors and events to mitochondrial dynamics and which could be implicated in human disease.
    Keywords:  disease; fission; fusion; mitochondria; mitosis; transport