bims-mitdis Biomed News
on Mitochondrial disorders
Issue of 2022‒02‒20
thirty-five papers selected by
Catalina Vasilescu
University of Helsinki

  1. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 24. pii: 1297. [Epub ahead of print]23(3):
      Mitochondrial proteins are encoded by both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. While some of the essential subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes responsible for cellular ATP production are synthesized directly in the mitochondria, most mitochondrial proteins are first translated in the cytosol and then imported into the organelle using a sophisticated transport system. These proteins are directed mainly by targeting presequences at their N-termini. These presequences need to be cleaved to allow the proper folding and assembly of the pre-proteins into functional protein complexes. In the mitochondria, the presequences are removed by several processing peptidases, including the mitochondrial processing peptidase (MPP), the inner membrane processing peptidase (IMP), the inter-membrane processing peptidase (MIP), and the mitochondrial rhomboid protease (Pcp1/PARL). Their proper functioning is essential for mitochondrial homeostasis as the disruption of any of them is lethal in yeast and severely impacts the lifespan and survival in humans. In this review, we focus on characterizing the structure, function, and substrate specificities of mitochondrial processing peptidases, as well as the connection of their malfunctions to severe human diseases.
    Keywords:  IMP; MIP; MPP; mitochondrial disease; mitochondrial processing peptidases; mitochondrial rhomboid protease
  2. Front Neurosci. 2022 ;16 784880
      Mitochondrial network is constantly in a dynamic and regulated balance of fusion and fission processes, which is known as mitochondrial dynamics. Mitochondria make physical contacts with almost every other membrane in the cell thus impacting cellular functions. Mutations in mitochondrial dynamics genes are known to cause neurogenetic diseases. To better understand the consequences on the cellular phenotype and pathophysiology of neurogenetic diseases associated with defective mitochondrial dynamics, we have compared the fibroblasts phenotypes of (i) patients carrying pathogenic variants in genes involved in mitochondrial dynamics such as DRP1 (also known as DNM1L), GDAP1, OPA1, and MFN2, and (ii) patients carrying mutated genes that their dysfunction affects mitochondria or induces a mitochondrial phenotype, but that are not directly involved in mitochondrial dynamic network, such as FXN (encoding frataxin, located in the mitochondrial matrix), MED13 (hyperfission phenotype), and CHKB (enlarged mitochondria phenotype). We identified mitochondrial network alterations in all patients' fibroblasts except for CHKB Q198*/Q198*. Functionally, all fibroblasts showed mitochondrial oxidative stress, without membrane potential abnormalities. The lysosomal area and distribution were abnormal in GDAP1 W67L/W67L, DRP1 K75E/+, OPA1 F570L/+, and FXN R165C/GAA fibroblasts. These lysosomal alterations correlated with mitochondria-lysosome membrane contact sites (MCSs) defects in GDAP1 W67L/W67L exclusively. The study of mitochondrial contacts in all samples further revealed a significant decrease in MFN2 R104W/+ fibroblasts. GDAP1 and MFN2 are outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) proteins and both are related to Charcot-Marie Tooth neuropathy. Here we identified their constitutive interaction as well as MFN2 interaction with LAMP-1. Therefore MFN2 is a new mitochondria-lysosome MCSs protein. Interestingly, GDAP1 W67L/W67L and MFN2 R104W/+ fibroblasts carry pathogenic changes that occur in their catalytic domains thus suggesting a functional role of GDAP1 and MFN2 in mitochondria-lysosome MCSs. Finally, we observed starvation-induced autophagy alterations in DRP1 K75E/+, GDAP1 W67L/W67L, OPA1 F570L/+, MFN2 R104W/+, and CHKB Q198*/Q198* fibroblasts. These genes are related to mitochondrial membrane structure or lipid composition, which would associate the OMM with starvation-induced autophagy. In conclusion, the study of mitochondrial dynamics and mitochondria-lysosome axis in a group of patients with different neurogenetic diseases has deciphered common and unique cellular phenotypes of degrading and non-degrading pathways that shed light on pathophysiological events, new biomarkers and pharmacological targets for these disorders.
    Keywords:  lysosome; membrane contact sites (MCSs); mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; neurogenetic diseases
  3. Cells. 2022 Jan 30. pii: 489. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      Human mitochondrial disease exhibits large variation of clinical phenotypes, even in patients with the same causative gene defect. We illustrate this heterogeneity by confronting clinical and biochemical data of two patients with the uncommon pathogenic homoplasmic NC_012920.1(MT-ATP6):m.9035T>C variant in MT-ATP6. Patient 1 presented as a toddler with severe motor and speech delay and spastic ataxia without extra-neurologic involvement. Patient 2 presented in adolescence with ataxia and ophthalmoplegia without cognitive or motor impairment. Respiratory chain complex activities were normal in cultured skin fibroblasts from both patients when calculated as ratios over citrate synthase activity. Native gels found presence of subcomplexes of complex V in fibroblast and/or skeletal muscle. Bioenergetic measurements in fibroblasts from both patients detected reduced spare respiratory capacities and altered extracellular acidification rates, revealing a switch from mitochondrial respiration to glycolysis to uphold ATP production. Thus, in contrast to the differing disease presentation, biochemical evidence of mitochondrial deficiency turned out quite similar. We conclude that biochemical analysis remains a valuable tool to confirm the genetic diagnosis of mitochondrial disease, especially in patients with new gene variants or atypical clinical presentation.
    Keywords:  ATP-synthase; MT-ATP6; NC_012920.1(MT-ATP6):m.9035T>C; complex V deficiency; genotype-phenotype correlation; mitochondrial disorder; p.L170P
  4. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2022 Feb 12. pii: S1084-9521(22)00050-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      The continuous dynamic reshaping of mitochondria by fusion and fission events is critical to keep mitochondrial quality and function under control in response to changes in energy and stress. Maintaining a functional, highly interconnected mitochondrial reticulum ensures rapid energy production and distribution. Moreover, mitochondrial networks act as dynamic signaling hub to adapt to the metabolic demands imposed by contraction, energy expenditure, and general metabolism. However, excessive mitochondrial fusion or fission results in the disruption of the skeletal muscle mitochondrial network integrity and activates a retrograde response from mitochondria to the nucleus, leading to muscle atrophy, weakness and influencing whole-body homeostasis. These actions are mediated via the secretion of mitochondrial-stress myokines such as FGF21 and GDF15. Here we will summarize recent discoveries in the role of mitochondrial fusion and fission in the control of muscle mass and in regulating physiological homeostasis and disease progression.
    Keywords:  Atrophy; DRP1; FGF21; Fission; Fusion; GDF15; Mitochondria; Myokines; OPA1; Skeletal muscle
  5. Curr Protoc. 2022 Feb;2(2): e372
      Mitochondria have emerged as key drivers of mammalian innate immune responses, functioning as signaling hubs to trigger inflammation and orchestrating metabolic switches required for phagocyte activation. Mitochondria also contain damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), molecules that share similarity with pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and can engage innate immune sensors to drive inflammation. The aberrant release of mitochondrial DAMPs during cellular stress and injury is an increasingly recognized trigger of inflammatory responses in human diseases. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a particularly potent DAMP that engages multiple innate immune sensors, although mounting evidence suggests that cytosolic mtDNA is primarily detected via the cyclic GMP-AMP synthase-stimulator of interferon genes (cGAS-STING) pathway. cGAS and STING are widely expressed in mammalian cells and serve as key regulators of type I interferon and cytokine expression in both infectious and inflammatory diseases. Despite growing roles for the mtDNA-cGAS-STING axis in human disease, assays to quantify mtDNA release into the cytosol and approaches to link mtDNA to cGAS-STING signaling are not standardized, which increases the possibility for experimental artifacts and misinterpretation of data. Here, we present a series of protocols for assaying the release of mtDNA into the cytosol and subsequent activation of innate immune signaling in mammalian cells. We highlight genetic and pharmacological approaches to induce and inhibit mtDNA release from mitochondria. We also describe immunofluorescence microscopy and cellular fractionation assays to visualize morphological changes in mtDNA and quantify mtDNA accumulation in the cytosol. Finally, we include protocols to examine mtDNA-dependent cGAS-STING activation by RT-qPCR and western blotting. These methods can be performed with standard laboratory equipment and are highly adaptable to a wide range of mammalian cell types. They will permit researchers working across the spectrum of biological and biomedical sciences to accurately and reproducibly measure cytosolic mtDNA release and resulting innate immune responses. © 2022 Wiley Periodicals LLC. Basic Protocol 1: siRNA-mediated knockdown of TFAM to induce mtDNA instability, cytosolic release, and activation of the cGAS-STING pathway Alternate Protocol: Pharmacological induction of mtDNA release and cGAS-STING activation using ABT-737 and Q-VD-OPH Basic Protocol 2: Isolation and quantitation of DNA from cytosolic, mitochondrial, and nuclear fractions Basic Protocol 3: Pharmacological inhibition of mtDNA replication and release.
    Keywords:  STING; cGAS; innate immunity; mitochondria; mitochondrial DNA
  6. J Cell Biol. 2022 03 07. pii: e202101021. [Epub ahead of print]221(3):
      ADP-ribosylation is a reversible post-translational modification where an ADP-ribose moiety is covalently attached to target proteins by ADP-ribosyltransferases (ARTs). Although best known for its nuclear roles, ADP-ribosylation is increasingly recognized as a key regulatory strategy across cellular compartments. ADP-ribosylation of mitochondrial proteins has been widely reported, but the exact nature of mitochondrial ART enzymes is debated. We have identified neuralized-like protein 4 (NEURL4) as a mitochondrial ART enzyme and show that most ART activity associated with mitochondria is lost in the absence of NEURL4. The NEURL4-dependent ADP-ribosylome in mitochondrial extracts from HeLa cells includes numerous mitochondrial proteins previously shown to be ADP-ribosylated. In particular, we show that NEURL4 is required for the regulation of mtDNA integrity via poly-ADP-ribosylation of mtLIG3, the rate-limiting enzyme for base excision repair (BER). Collectively, our studies reveal that NEURL4 acts as the main mitochondrial ART enzyme under physiological conditions and provide novel insights in the regulation of mitochondria homeostasis through ADP-ribosylation.
  7. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 17. 13(1): 929
      Many cellular processes, including ribosome biogenesis, are regulated through post-transcriptional RNA modifications. Here, a genome-wide analysis of the human mitochondrial transcriptome shows that 2'-O-methylation is limited to residues of the mitoribosomal large subunit (mtLSU) 16S mt-rRNA, introduced by MRM1, MRM2 and MRM3, with the modifications installed by the latter two proteins being interdependent. MRM2 controls mitochondrial respiration by regulating mitoribosome biogenesis. In its absence, mtLSU particles (visualized by cryo-EM at the resolution of 2.6 Å) present disordered RNA domains, partial occupancy of bL36m and bound MALSU1:L0R8F8:mtACP anti-association module, allowing five mtLSU biogenesis intermediates with different intersubunit interface configurations to be placed along the assembly pathway. However, mitoribosome biogenesis does not depend on the methyltransferase activity of MRM2. Disruption of the MRM2 Drosophila melanogaster orthologue leads to mitochondria-related developmental arrest. This work identifies a key checkpoint during mtLSU assembly, essential to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis.
  8. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Feb;24(2): 181-193
      The accumulation of deleterious mitochondrial DNA (∆mtDNA) causes inherited mitochondrial diseases and ageing-associated decline in mitochondrial functions such as oxidative phosphorylation. Following mitochondrial perturbations, the bZIP protein ATFS-1 induces a transcriptional programme to restore mitochondrial function. Paradoxically, ATFS-1 is also required to maintain ∆mtDNAs in heteroplasmic worms. The mechanism by which ATFS-1 promotes ∆mtDNA accumulation relative to wild-type mtDNAs is unclear. Here we show that ATFS-1 accumulates in dysfunctional mitochondria. ATFS-1 is absent in healthy mitochondria owing to degradation by the mtDNA-bound protease LONP-1, which results in the nearly exclusive association between ATFS-1 and ∆mtDNAs in heteroplasmic worms. Moreover, we demonstrate that mitochondrial ATFS-1 promotes the binding of the mtDNA replicative polymerase (POLG) to ∆mtDNAs. Interestingly, inhibition of the mtDNA-bound protease LONP-1 increased ATFS-1 and POLG binding to wild-type mtDNAs. LONP-1 inhibition in Caenorhabditis elegans and human cybrid cells improved the heteroplasmy ratio and restored oxidative phosphorylation. Our findings suggest that ATFS-1 promotes mtDNA replication in dysfunctional mitochondria by promoting POLG-mtDNA binding, which is antagonized by LONP-1.
  9. J Clin Med. 2022 Jan 26. pii: 632. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      Mitochondrial disorders are the most common inherited conditions, characterized by defects in oxidative phosphorylation and caused by mutations in nuclear or mitochondrial genes. Due to its high energy request, skeletal muscle is typically involved. According to the International Workshop of Experts in Mitochondrial Diseases held in Rome in 2016, the term Primary Mitochondrial Myopathy (PMM) should refer to those mitochondrial disorders affecting principally, but not exclusively, the skeletal muscle. The clinical presentation may include general isolated myopathy with muscle weakness, exercise intolerance, chronic ophthalmoplegia/ophthalmoparesis (cPEO) and eyelids ptosis, or multisystem conditions where there is a coexistence with extramuscular signs and symptoms. In recent years, new therapeutic targets have been identified leading to the launch of some promising clinical trials that have mainly focused on treating muscle symptoms and that require populations with defined genotype. Advantages in next-generation sequencing techniques have substantially improved diagnosis. So far, an increasing number of mutations have been identified as responsible for mitochondrial disorders. In this review, we focused on the principal molecular genetic alterations in PMM. Accordingly, we carried out a comprehensive review of the literature and briefly discussed the possible approaches which could guide the clinician to a genetic diagnosis.
    Keywords:  exercise intolerance; mitochondrial myopathy; mtDNA; nDNA; ophtalmoplegia; oxidative phosphorylation
  10. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 28. pii: 1528. [Epub ahead of print]23(3):
      Higher concentration of protons in the mitochondrial intermembrane space compared to the matrix results in an electrochemical potential causing the back flux of protons to the matrix. This proton transport can take place through ATP synthase complex (leading to formation of ATP) or can occur via proton transporters of the mitochondrial carrier superfamily and/or membrane lipids. Some mitochondrial proton transporters, such as uncoupling proteins (UCPs), transport protons as their general regulating function; while others are symporters or antiporters, which use the proton gradient as a driving force to co-transport other substrates across the mitochondrial inner membrane (such as phosphate carrier, a symporter; or aspartate/glutamate transporter, an antiporter). Passage (or leakage) of protons across the inner membrane to matrix from any route other than ATP synthase negatively impacts ATP synthesis. The focus of this review is on regulated proton transport by UCPs. Recent findings on the structure and function of UCPs, and the related research methodologies, are also critically reviewed. Due to structural similarity of members of the mitochondrial carrier superfamily, several of the known structural features are potentially expandable to all members. Overall, this report provides a brief, yet comprehensive, overview of the current knowledge in the field.
    Keywords:  ADP/ATP carrier; ATP synthesis; alternating access mechanism; biphasic proton transport model; membrane protein oligomerization; membrane protein structure and function; mitochondrial carriers; reactive oxygen species control; regulation and mechanism of proton transport; uncoupling proteins
  11. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 19. pii: 1056. [Epub ahead of print]23(3):
      We recently reported on two mouse strains carrying different single nucleotide variations in the mitochondrial complex I gene, i.e., B6-mtBPL mice carrying m.11902T>C and B6-mtALR carrying m.4738C>A. B6-mtBPL mice exhibited a longer lifespan and a lower metabolic disease susceptibility despite mild mitochondrial functional differences in steady-state. As natural polymorphisms in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are known to be associated with distinct patterns of gut microbial composition, we further investigated the gut microbiota composition in these mice strains. In line with mouse phenotypes, we found a significantly lower abundance of Proteobacteria, which is positively associated with pathological conditions, in B6-mtBPL compared to B6-mtALR mice. A prediction of functional profile of significantly differential bacterial genera between these strains revealed an involvement of glucose metabolism pathways. Whole transcriptome analysis of liver samples from B6-mtBPL and B6-mtALR mice confirmed these findings. Thus, both host gene expression and gut microbial changes caused by the mtDNA variant differences may contribute to the ageing and metabolic phenotypes observed in these mice strains. Since gut microbiota are easier to modulate, compared with mtDNA variants, identification of such mtDNA variants, specific gut bacterial species and bacterial metabolites may be a potential intervention to modulate common diseases, which are differentially susceptible to individuals with different mtDNA variants.
    Keywords:  ageing; complex I; glucose metabolism; gut microbiota; mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms; natural variants; proteobacteria
  12. Cell Rep. 2022 02 15. pii: S2211-1247(22)00091-2. [Epub ahead of print]38(7): 110370
      The transition between quiescence and activation in neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs) is coupled with reversible changes in energy metabolism with key implications for lifelong NSPC self-renewal and neurogenesis. How this metabolic plasticity is ensured between NSPC activity states is unclear. We find that a state-specific rewiring of the mitochondrial proteome by the i-AAA peptidase YME1L is required to preserve NSPC self-renewal. YME1L controls the abundance of numerous mitochondrial substrates in quiescent NSPCs, and its deletion activates a differentiation program characterized by broad metabolic changes causing the irreversible shift away from a fatty-acid-oxidation-dependent state. Conditional Yme1l deletion in adult NSPCs in vivo results in defective self-renewal and premature differentiation, ultimately leading to NSPC pool depletion. Our results disclose an important role for YME1L in coordinating the switch between metabolic states of NSPCs and suggest that NSPC fate is regulated by compartmentalized changes in protein network dynamics.
    Keywords:  OMA1; YME1L; adult neurogenesis; metabolic rewiring; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial proteome; neural stem cells; proliferation; self-renewal
  13. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 28. pii: 1517. [Epub ahead of print]23(3):
      In response to exercise, the oxidative capacity of mitochondria within skeletal muscle increases through the coordinated expression of mitochondrial proteins in a process termed mitochondrial biogenesis. Controlling the expression of mitochondrial proteins are transcription factors-a group of proteins that regulate messenger RNA transcription from DNA in the nucleus and mitochondria. To fulfil other functions or to limit gene expression, transcription factors are often localised away from DNA to different subcellular compartments and undergo rapid movement or accumulation only when required. Although many transcription factors involved in exercise-induced mitochondrial biogenesis have been identified, numerous conflicting findings and gaps exist within our knowledge of their subcellular movement. This review aims to summarise and provide a critical analysis of the published literature regarding the exercise-induced movement of transcription factors involved in mitochondria biogenesis in skeletal muscle.
    Keywords:  exercise; mitochondrial biogenesis; skeletal muscle; subcellular; transcription factors
  14. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Feb;24(2): 148-154
      Metabolic characteristics of adult stem cells are distinct from their differentiated progeny, and cellular metabolism is emerging as a potential driver of cell fate conversions1-4. How these metabolic features are established remains unclear. Here we identified inherited metabolism imposed by functionally distinct mitochondrial age-classes as a fate determinant in asymmetric division of epithelial stem-like cells. While chronologically old mitochondria support oxidative respiration, the electron transport chain of new organelles is proteomically immature and they respire less. After cell division, selectively segregated mitochondrial age-classes elicit a metabolic bias in progeny cells, with oxidative energy metabolism promoting differentiation in cells that inherit old mitochondria. Cells that inherit newly synthesized mitochondria with low levels of Rieske iron-sulfur polypeptide 1 have a higher pentose phosphate pathway activity, which promotes de novo purine biosynthesis and redox balance, and is required to maintain stemness during early fate determination after division. Our results demonstrate that fate decisions are susceptible to intrinsic metabolic bias imposed by selectively inherited mitochondria.
  15. Cell Death Dis. 2022 02 16. 13(2): 156
      Mitochondrial dysfunction is becoming one of the main pathology factors involved in the etiology of neurological disorders. Recently, mutations of the coiled-coil-helix-coiled-coil-helix domain containing 2 (CHCHD2) and 10 (CHCHD10) which encode two homologous proteins that belong to the mitochondrial CHCH domain protein family, are linked to Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/frontotemporal dementia (FTD), respectively. However, the physiological and pathological roles of these twin proteins have not been well elaborated. Here, we show that, in physiological conditions, CHCHD2 and CHCHD10 interact with OMA1 and suppress its enzyme activity, which not only restrains the initiation of the mitochondrial integrated response stress (mtISR), but also suppresses the processing of OPA1 for mitochondrial fusion. Further, during mitochondria stress-induced by carbonyl cyanide m-chlorophenylhydrazone (CCCP) treatment, CHCHD2 and CHCHD10 translocate to the cytosol and interacte with eIF2a, which attenuates mtISR overactivation by suppressing eIF2a phosphorylation and its downstream response. As such, knockdown of CHCHD2 and CHCHD10 triggers mitochondrial ISR, and such cellular response is enhanced by CCCP treatment. Therefore, our findings demonstrate the first "mtISR suppressor" localized in mitochondria for regulating stress responses in mammalian cells, which has a profound pathological impact on the CHCH2/CHCH10-linked neurodegenerative disorder.
  16. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 16. 13(1): 894
      Mitochondrial proteolysis is an evolutionarily conserved quality-control mechanism to maintain proper mitochondrial integrity and function. However, the physiological relevance of stress-induced impaired mitochondrial protein quality remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that LONP1, a major mitochondrial protease resides in the matrix, plays a role in controlling mitochondrial function as well as skeletal muscle mass and strength in response to muscle disuse. In humans and mice, disuse-related muscle loss is associated with decreased mitochondrial LONP1 protein. Skeletal muscle-specific ablation of LONP1 in mice resulted in impaired mitochondrial protein turnover, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction. This caused reduced muscle fiber size and strength. Mechanistically, aberrant accumulation of mitochondrial-retained protein in muscle upon loss of LONP1 induces the activation of autophagy-lysosome degradation program of muscle loss. Overexpressing a mitochondrial-retained mutant ornithine transcarbamylase (ΔOTC), a known protein degraded by LONP1, in skeletal muscle induces mitochondrial dysfunction, autophagy activation, and cause muscle loss and weakness. Thus, these findings reveal a role of LONP1-dependent mitochondrial protein quality-control in safeguarding mitochondrial function and preserving skeletal muscle mass and strength, and unravel a link between mitochondrial protein quality and muscle mass maintenance during muscle disuse.
  17. Hum Mol Genet. 2022 Feb 18. pii: ddac034. [Epub ahead of print]
      Clonal hematopoiesis due to somatic mutations in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells is an age-related phenomenon and commonly observed when sequencing blood DNA in elderly individuals. Several genes that are implicated in clonal hematopoiesis are also associated with Mendelian disorders when mutated in the germline, potentially leading to variant misinterpretation. We performed a literature search to identify genes associated with age-related clonal hematopoiesis followed by an OMIM query to identify the subset of genes in which germline variants are associated with Mendelian disorders. We retrospectively screened for diagnostic cases in which the presence of age-related clonal hematopoiesis confounded exome sequencing data interpretation. We found 58 genes in which somatic mutations are implicated in clonal hematopoiesis while germline variants in the same genes are associated with Mendelian (mostly neurodevelopmental) disorders. Using five selected cases of individuals with suspected monogenic disorders, we illustrate how clonal hematopoiesis in either variant databases or exome sequencing datasets poses a pitfall, potentially leading to variant misclassification and erroneous conclusions regarding gene-disease associations.
  18. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2428 19-40
      In the presence of different physiological and environmental stresses, cells rapidly initiate stress responses to re-establish cellular homeostasis. Stress responses usually orchestrate both transcriptional and translational programs via distinct mechanisms. With the advance of transcriptomics and proteomics technologies, transcriptional and translational outputs to a particular stress condition have become easier to measure; however, these technologies lack the ability to reveal the upstream regulatory pathways. Unbiased genetic screens based on a transcriptional or translational reporter are powerful approaches to identify regulatory factors of a specific stress response. CRISPR/Cas-based technologies, together with next-generation sequencing, enable genome-scale pooled screens to systematically elucidate gene function in mammalian cells, with a significant reduction in the rate of off-target effects compared to the previously used RNAi technology. Here, we describe our fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)-based CRISPR interference (CRISPRi) screening platform using a translational reporter to identify novel genetic factors of the mitochondrial stress response in mammalian cells. This protocol provides a general framework for scientists who wish to establish a reporter-based CRISPRi screening platform to address questions in their area of research.
    Keywords:  CRISPRi; FACS; Genetic screens; Mammalian cells; Mitochondrial stress response; Transcriptional reporter; Translational reporter
  19. Mol Metab. 2022 Feb 09. pii: S2212-8778(22)00025-4. [Epub ahead of print] 101456
      OBJECTIVE: Skeletal muscle is a heterogeneous and dynamic tissue that adapts to functional demands and substrate availability by modulating muscle fiber size and type. The concept of muscle fiber type relates to its contractile (slow or fast) and metabolic (glycolytic or oxidative) properties. Here, we tested whether disruptions in muscle oxidative catabolism are sufficient to prompt parallel adaptations in energetics and contractile protein composition.METHODS: Mice with defective mitochondrial long-chain fatty acid oxidation (mLCFAO) in the skeletal muscle due to loss of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (Cpt2Sk-/-) were used to model a shift in muscle macronutrient catabolism. Glycolytic and oxidative muscles of Cpt2Sk-/- mice and control littermates were compared for expression of energy metabolism-related proteins, mitochondrial respiratory capacity, and myosin heavy chain isoform composition.
    RESULTS: Differences in bioenergetics and macronutrient utilization in response to energy demands between control muscles were intrinsic to the mitochondria allowing for a clear distinction of muscle types. Loss of CPT2 ablated mLCFAO and resulted in mitochondrial biogenesis occurring most predominantly in oxidative muscle fibers. The metabolism-related proteomic signature of Cpt2Sk-/- oxidative muscle more closely resembled that of glycolytic muscle than of control oxidative muscle. Respectively, intrinsic substrate-supported mitochondrial respiration of CPT2 deficient oxidative muscles shifted to closely match that of glycolytic muscles. Despite this shift in mitochondrial metabolism, CPT2 deletion did not result in contractile-based fiber type switching according to myosin heavy chain composition analysis.
    CONCLUSION: The loss of mitochondrial long-chain fatty acid oxidation elicits an adaptive response involving conversion of oxidative muscle towards a metabolic profile that resembles a glycolytic muscle but that is not accompanied by changes in myosin heavy chain isoforms. These data suggest that shifts in muscle catabolism are not sufficient to drive shifts in the contractile apparatus but are sufficient to drive adaptive changes in metabolic properties.
    Keywords:  Bioenergetics; Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2; Fatty acid oxidation; Fiber-typing; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Skeletal muscle
  20. PLoS Genet. 2022 Feb 14. 18(2): e1010055
      Optimal mitochondrial function determined by mitochondrial dynamics, morphology and activity is coupled to stem cell differentiation and organism development. However, the mechanisms of interaction of signaling pathways with mitochondrial morphology and activity are not completely understood. We assessed the role of mitochondrial fusion and fission in the differentiation of neural stem cells called neuroblasts (NB) in the Drosophila brain. Depleting mitochondrial inner membrane fusion protein Opa1 and mitochondrial outer membrane protein Marf in the Drosophila type II NB lineage led to mitochondrial fragmentation and loss of activity. Opa1 and Marf depletion did not affect the numbers of type II NBs but led to a decrease in differentiated progeny. Opa1 depletion decreased the mature intermediate precursor cells (INPs), ganglion mother cells (GMCs) and neurons by the decreased proliferation of the type II NBs and mature INPs. Marf depletion led to a decrease in neurons by a depletion of proliferation of GMCs. On the contrary, loss of mitochondrial fission protein Drp1 led to mitochondrial clustering but did not show defects in differentiation. Depletion of Drp1 along with Opa1 or Marf also led to mitochondrial clustering and suppressed the loss of mitochondrial activity and defects in proliferation and differentiation in the type II NB lineage. Opa1 depletion led to decreased Notch signaling in the type II NB lineage. Further, Notch signaling depletion via the canonical pathway showed mitochondrial fragmentation and loss of differentiation similar to Opa1 depletion. An increase in Notch signaling showed mitochondrial clustering similar to Drp1 mutants. Further, Drp1 mutant overexpression combined with Notch depletion showed mitochondrial fusion and drove differentiation in the lineage, suggesting that fused mitochondria can influence differentiation in the type II NB lineage. Our results implicate crosstalk between proliferation, Notch signaling, mitochondrial activity and fusion as an essential step in differentiation in the type II NB lineage.
  21. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 25. pii: 1323. [Epub ahead of print]23(3):
      Ageing is an unavoidable multi-factorial process, characterised by a gradual decrease in physiological functionality and increasing vulnerability of the organism to environmental factors and pathogens, ending, eventually, in death. One of the most elaborated ageing theories implies a direct connection between ROS-mediated mtDNA damage and mutations. In this review, we focus on the role of mitochondrial metabolism, mitochondria generated ROS, mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy in normal ageing and pathological conditions, such as inflammation. Also, a chronic form of inflammation, which could change the long-term status of the immune system in an age-dependent way, is discussed. Finally, the role of inflammaging in the most common neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, is also discussed.
    Keywords:  ageing; inflammaging; inflammation; mitophagy
  22. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 16. 13(1): 889
      The existence of non-canonical nicotinamide adenine diphosphate (NAD) 5'-end capped RNAs is now well established. Nevertheless, the biological function of this nucleotide metabolite cap remains elusive. Here, we show that the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae cytoplasmic 5'-end exoribonuclease Xrn1 is also a NAD cap decapping (deNADding) enzyme that releases intact NAD and subsequently degrades the RNA. The significance of Xrn1 deNADding is evident in a deNADding deficient Xrn1 mutant that predominantly still retains its 5'-monophosphate exonuclease activity. This mutant reveals Xrn1 deNADding is necessary for normal growth on non-fermenting sugar and is involved in modulating mitochondrial NAD-capped RNA levels and may influence intramitochondrial NAD levels. Our findings uncover a contribution of mitochondrial NAD-capped RNAs in overall NAD regulation with the deNADding activity of Xrn1 fulfilling a central role.
  23. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 18. pii: 1020. [Epub ahead of print]23(3):
      Uncoupling proteins (UCPs) form a distinct subfamily of the mitochondrial carrier family (MCF) SLC25. Four UCPs, DmUCP4A-C and DmUCP5, have been identified in Drosophila melanogaster on the basis of their sequence homology with mammalian UCP4 and UCP5. In a Parkinson's disease model, DmUCP4A showed a protective role against mitochondrial dysfunction, by increasing mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP synthesis. To date, DmUCP4A is still an orphan of a biochemical function, although its possible involvement in mitochondrial uncoupling has been ruled out. Here, we show that DmUCP4A expressed in bacteria and reconstituted in phospholipid vesicles catalyzes a unidirectional transport of aspartate, which is saturable and inhibited by mercurials and other mitochondrial carrier inhibitors to various degrees. Swelling experiments carried out in yeast mitochondria have demonstrated that the unidirectional transport of aspartate catalyzed by DmUCP4 is not proton-coupled. The biochemical function of DmUCP4A has been further confirmed in a yeast cell model, in which growth has required an efflux of aspartate from mitochondria. Notably, DmUCP4A is the first UCP4 homolog from any species to be biochemically characterized. In Drosophila melanogaster, DmUCP4A could be involved in the transport of aspartate from mitochondria to the cytosol, in which it could be used for protein and nucleotide synthesis, as well as in the biosynthesis of ß-alanine and N-acetylaspartate, which play key roles in signal transmission in the central nervous system.
    Keywords:  CG6492; DmUCP4A; N-acetylaspartate; Parkinson’s disease; aspartate transport; biogenic amines metabolism; mitochondrial carrier family; mitochondrial transporters; uncoupling proteins; ß-alanine
  24. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2022 Feb 11.
      ABSTRACT: Adrenergic receptors (ARs) are G-protein coupled receptors that are stimulated by catecholamines to induce a wide array of physiological effects across tissue types. Both α1- and β-ARs are found on cardiomyocytes and regulate cardiac contractility and hypertrophy through diverse molecular pathways. Acute activation of cardiomyocyte β-ARs increases heart rate and contractility as an adaptive stress response. However, chronic β-AR stimulation contributes to the pathobiology of heart failure. In contrast, mounting evidence suggests that α1-ARs serve protective functions that may mitigate the deleterious effects of chronic β-AR activation. Here we will review recent studies demonstrating that α1- and β-ARs differentially regulate mitochondrial biogenesis and dynamics, mitochondrial calcium handling, and oxidative phosphorylation in cardiomyocytes. We will identify potential mechanisms of these actions and focus on the implications of these findings for the modulation of contractile function in the uninjured and failing heart. Collectively we hope to elucidate important physiological processes through which these well-studied and clinically relevant receptors stimulate and fuel cardiac contraction to contribute to myocardial health and disease.
  25. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jan 24. pii: 1284. [Epub ahead of print]23(3):
      The eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (eIF5A) is an evolutionarily conserved protein that binds ribosomes to facilitate the translation of peptide motifs with consecutive prolines or combinations of prolines with glycine and charged amino acids. It has also been linked to other molecular functions and cellular processes, such as nuclear mRNA export and mRNA decay, proliferation, differentiation, autophagy, and apoptosis. The growing interest in eIF5A relates to its association with the pathogenesis of several diseases, including cancer, viral infection, and diabetes. It has also been proposed as an anti-aging factor: its levels decay in aged cells, whereas increasing levels of active eIF5A result in the rejuvenation of the immune and vascular systems and improved brain cognition. Recent data have linked the role of eIF5A in some pathologies with its function in maintaining healthy mitochondria. The eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A is upregulated under respiratory metabolism and its deficiency reduces oxygen consumption, ATP production, and the levels of several mitochondrial metabolic enzymes, as well as altering mitochondria dynamics. However, although all the accumulated data strongly link eIF5A to mitochondrial function, the precise molecular role and mechanisms involved are still unknown. In this review, we discuss the findings linking eIF5A and mitochondria, speculate about its role in regulating mitochondrial homeostasis, and highlight its potential as a target in diseases related to energy metabolism.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; TCA; eIF5A; mitochondria; mitochondrial respiration; spermidine; translation
  26. Molecules. 2022 Feb 05. pii: 1071. [Epub ahead of print]27(3):
      The mitochondrial ADP/ATP carrier (AAC) exports ATP and imports ADP through alternating between cytosol-open (c-) and matrix-open (m-) states. The salt bridge networks near the matrix side (m-gate) and cytosol side (c-gate) are thought to be crucial for state transitions, yet our knowledge on these networks is still limited. In the current work, we focus on more conserved m-gate network in the c-state AAC. All-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulations on a variety of mutants and the CATR-AAC complex have revealed that: (1) without involvement of other positive residues, the charged residues from the three Px[DE]xx[KR] motifs only are prone to form symmetrical inter-helical network; (2) R235 plays a determinant role for the asymmetry in m-gate network of AAC; (3) R235 significantly strengthens the interactions between H3 and H5; (4) R79 exhibits more significant impact on m-gate than R279; (5) CATR promotes symmetry in m-gate mainly through separating R234 from D231 and fixing R79; (6) vulnerability of the H2-H3 interface near matrix side could be functionally important. Our results provide new insights into the highly conserved yet variable m-gate network in the big mitochondrial carrier family.
    Keywords:  ADP/ATP carrier; mitochondrial carrier family; molecular dynamics simulation; transporter
  27. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Feb 17. 8(1): 69
      Cellular organelles play fundamental roles in almost all cell behaviors. Mitochondria have been reported to be functionally linked to various biological processes, including reprogramming and pluripotency maintenance. However, very little about the role of mitochondria has been revealed in human early development and lineage specification. Here, we reported the characteristics and function of mitochondria during human definitive endoderm differentiation. Using a well-established differentiation system, we first investigated the change of mitochondrial morphology by comparing undifferentiated pluripotent stem cells, the intermediate mesendoderm cells, and differentiated endoderm cells, and found that mitochondria were gradually elongated and matured along differentiation. We further analyzed the expression pattern of mitochondria-related genes by RNA-seq, indicating that mitochondria became active during differentiation. Supporting this notion, the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) was increased as well. Functionally, we utilized chemicals and genome editing techniques, which could interfere with mitochondrial homeostasis, to determine the role of mitochondria in human endoderm differentiation. Treatment with mitochondrial inhibitors, or genetic depletion of mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), significantly reduced the differentiation efficiency of definitive endoderm. In addition, the defect in endoderm differentiation due to dysfunctional mitochondria could be restored to some extent by the addition of ATP. Moreover, the clearance of excessive ROS due to dysfunctional mitochondria by N-acetylcysteine (NAC) improved the differentiation as well. We further found that ATP and NAC could partially replace the growth factor activin A for definitive endoderm differentiation. Our study illustrates the essential role of mitochondria during human endoderm differentiation through providing ATP and regulating ROS levels, which may provide new insight for metabolic regulation of cell fate determination.
  28. Science. 2022 Feb 18. 375(6582): eabc4203
      Adaptation to nutrient scarcity involves an orchestrated response of metabolic and signaling pathways to maintain homeostasis. We find that in the fat body of fasting Drosophila, lysosomal export of cystine coordinates remobilization of internal nutrient stores with reactivation of the growth regulator target of rapamycin complex 1 (TORC1). Mechanistically, cystine was reduced to cysteine and metabolized to acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) by promoting CoA metabolism. In turn, acetyl-CoA retained carbons from alternative amino acids in the form of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates and restricted the availability of building blocks required for growth. This process limited TORC1 reactivation to maintain autophagy and allowed animals to cope with starvation periods. We propose that cysteine metabolism mediates a communication between lysosomes and mitochondria, highlighting how changes in diet divert the fate of an amino acid into a growth suppressive program.
  29. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 18. 13(1): 967
      Inhibition of the master growth regulator mTORC1 (mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1) slows ageing across phyla, in part by reducing protein synthesis. Various stresses globally suppress protein synthesis through the integrated stress response (ISR), resulting in preferential translation of the transcription factor ATF-4. Here we show in C. elegans that inhibition of translation or mTORC1 increases ATF-4 expression, and that ATF-4 mediates longevity under these conditions independently of ISR signalling. ATF-4 promotes longevity by activating canonical anti-ageing mechanisms, but also by elevating expression of the transsulfuration enzyme CTH-2 to increase hydrogen sulfide (H2S) production. This H2S boost increases protein persulfidation, a protective modification of redox-reactive cysteines. The ATF-4/CTH-2/H2S pathway also mediates longevity and increased stress resistance from mTORC1 suppression. Increasing H2S levels, or enhancing mechanisms that H2S influences through persulfidation, may represent promising strategies for mobilising therapeutic benefits of the ISR, translation suppression, or mTORC1 inhibition.
  30. Cells. 2022 Feb 08. pii: 589. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      In recent years, growing evidence has indicated the pivotal role of mitochondria in mast cell immunological activation. We have previously reported a decrease in degranulation and cytokine secretion following the inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) either by CPI-613 (PDH inhibitor/anti-cancer drug) or through its interaction with mitochondrial microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF). In the present study, we further explored the role played by mitochondrial MITF in mast cell exocytosis using rat basophil leukemia cells [RBL], as well as mouse bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs). Here, we report that mast cell degranulation, cytokine secretion and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) activities were associated with phosphorylation of Serine 73 of mitochondrial MITF, controlled by extracellular signals regulated by protein kinase (ERK1/2) activity. Also, we report here that decreased OXPHOS activity following ERK1/2 inhibition (U0126 treatment) during IgE-Ag activation was mediated by the dephosphorylation of Serine 73 mitochondrial MITF, which inhibited its association with PDH. This led to a reduction in mast cell reactivity. In addition, a phosphorylation-mimicking mitochondrial MITF-S73D positively regulated the mitochondrial activity, thereby supporting mast cell degranulation. Thus, the present research findings highlight the prominence of mitochondrial MITF Serine 73 phosphorylation in immunologically activated mast cells.
    Keywords:  allergy; cytokines; degranulation; extracellular signal-regulated kinase; mast cells; microphthalmia-associated transcription factor; mitochondria; pyruvate dehydrogenase
  31. BMB Rep. 2022 Feb 16. pii: 5562. [Epub ahead of print]
      Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) has greatly advanced our understanding of cellular heterogeneity by profiling individual cell transcriptomes. However, cell dissociation from the tissue structure causes a loss of spatial information, which hinders the identification of intercellular communication networks and global transcriptional patterns present in the tissue architecture. To overcome this limitation, novel transcriptomic platforms that preserve spatial information have been actively developed. Significant achievements in imaging technologies have enabled in situ targeted transcriptomic profiling in single cells at singlemolecule resolution. In addition, technologies based on mRNA capture followed by sequencing have made possible profiling of the genome-wide transcriptome at the 55-100 μm resolution. Unfortunately, neither imaging-based technology nor capturebased method elucidates a complete picture of the spatial transcriptome in a tissue. Therefore, addressing specific biological questions requires balancing experimental throughput and spatial resolution, mandating the efforts to develop computational algorithms that are pivotal to circumvent technology-specific limitations. In this review, we focus on the current state-of-the-art spatially resolved transcriptomic technologies, describe their applications in a variety of biological domains, and explore recent discoveries demonstrating their enormous potential in biomedical research. We further highlight novel integrative computational methodologies with other data modalities that provide a framework to derive biological insight into heterogeneous and complex tissue organization.
  32. Hum Mutat. 2022 Feb 19.
      The use of whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has accelerated the pace of gene discovery and highlighted the need for open and collaborative data sharing in the search for novel disease genes and variants. GeneMatcher (GM) is designed to facilitate connections between researchers, clinicians, health-care providers and others to help in the identification of additional patients with variants in the same candidate disease genes. The Illumina Clinical Services Laboratory offers a WGS test for patients with suspected rare and undiagnosed genetic disease and regularly submits potential candidate genes to GM to strengthen gene-disease relationships. We describe our experience with GM, including criteria for evaluation of candidate genes, and our workflow for the submission and review process. We have made 69 submissions, 36 of which are currently active. Ten per cent of submissions have resulted in publications, with an additional 14 submissions part of ongoing collaborations and expected to result in a publication. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  GeneMatcher; data sharing; gene discovery; gene-disease relationship; rare disease; whole-genome sequencing
  33. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2428 133-156
      Ribosome profiling methods are based on high-throughput sequencing of ribosome-protected mRNA footprints and allow to study in detail translational changes. Bioinformatic and statistical tools are necessary to analyze sequencing data. Here, we describe our developed methods for a fast and reliable quality control of ribosome profiling data, to efficiently visualize ribosome positions and to estimate ribosome speed in an unbiased way. The methodology described here is applicable to several genetic and environmental conditions including stress and are based on the R package RiboVIEW and calculation of quantitative estimates of local and global translation speed, based on a biophysical model of translation dynamics.
    Keywords:  Bioinformatic analysis; Ribo-Seq; RiboVIEW; Ribosome profiling; TASEP
  34. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Feb 22. pii: e2200788119. [Epub ahead of print]119(8):