bims-mitdyn Biomed News
on Mitochondrial dynamics: mechanisms
Issue of 2021‒01‒31
eleven papers selected by
Edmond Chan
Queen’s University, School of Medicine

  1. iScience. 2021 Jan 22. 24(1): 102029
      Loss of membrane potential of sperm mitochondria has been regarded as the first step preceding mitophagy degradation after their entry into the C. elegans oocyte at fertilization. This is in line with the classical view of mitophagy of defective or abnormal mitochondria and could serve as a recognition signal for their specific and quick autophagy degradation. Here, using TMRE (tetramethylrhodamine ethyl ester) and live imaging we show that this is not the case. Instead, sperm inherited mitochondria show a stable labeling with TMRE before and at the time of autophagosomes formation. Interestingly, this labeling remains in late-stage-embryos of autophagy-defective-mutants suggesting that the loss of membrane potential occurs upon the entry of the mitochondria into the autophagy pathway. These stabilized and still polarized sperm mitochondria remain distinct but associated with the maternal-derived mitochondrial network suggesting a mechanism that prevents their fusion and represents an efficient additional protective system against fertilization-induced heteroplasmy.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Reproductive Medicine
  2. iScience. 2021 Jan 22. 24(1): 102022
      Chaperonins play an important role in folding newly synthesized or translocated proteins in all organisms. The bacterial chaperonin GroEL has served as a model system for the understanding of these proteins. In comparison, its human homolog, known as mitochondrial heat shock protein family member D1 (HSPD1) is poorly understood. Here, we present the structure of HSPD1 in the apo state determined by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Unlike GroEL, HSPD1 forms mostly single ring assemblies in the absence of co-chaperonin (HSPE1). Comparison with GroEL shows a rotation and increased flexibility of the apical domain. Together with published structures of the HSPD1/HSPE1 co-chaperonin complex, this work gives insight into the structural changes that occur during the catalytic cycle. This new understanding of HSPD1 structure and its rearrangements upon complex formation may provide new insights for the development of HSPD1-targeting treatments against a diverse range of diseases including glioblastoma.
    Keywords:  Molecular Biology; Molecular Structure
  3. Nat Commun. 2021 Jan 29. 12(1): 707
      Mitochondrial complex I is central to the pathological reactive oxygen species (ROS) production that underlies cardiac ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury. ND6-P25L mice are homoplasmic for a disease-causing mtDNA point mutation encoding the P25L substitution in the ND6 subunit of complex I. The cryo-EM structure of ND6-P25L complex I revealed subtle structural changes that facilitate rapid conversion to the "deactive" state, usually formed only after prolonged inactivity. Despite its tendency to adopt the "deactive" state, the mutant complex is fully active for NADH oxidation, but cannot generate ROS by reverse electron transfer (RET). ND6-P25L mitochondria function normally, except for their lack of RET ROS production, and ND6-P25L mice are protected against cardiac IR injury in vivo. Thus, this single point mutation in complex I, which does not affect oxidative phosphorylation but renders the complex unable to catalyse RET, demonstrates the pathological role of ROS production by RET during IR injury.
  4. Autophagy. 2021 Jan 26. 1-26
      Macroautophagy/autophagy is an intracellular degradation process that delivers cytosolic materials and/or damaged organelles to lysosomes. De novo synthesis of the autophagosome membrane occurs within a phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate-rich region of the endoplasmic reticulum, and subsequent expansion is critical for cargo encapsulation. This process is complex, especially in mammals, with many regulatory factors. In this study, by utilizing PRKN (parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase)-mediated mitochondria autophagy (mitophagy)-inducing conditions in conjunction with chemical crosslinking and mass spectrometry, we identified human BCAS3 (BCAS3 microtubule associated cell migration factor) and C16orf70 (chromosome 16 open reading frame 70) as novel proteins that associate with the autophagosome formation site during both non-selective and selective autophagy. We demonstrate that BCAS3 and C16orf70 form a complex and that their association with the phagophore assembly site requires both proteins. In silico structural modeling, mutational analyses in cells and in vitro phosphoinositide-binding assays indicate that the WD40 repeat domain in human BCAS3 directly binds phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate. Furthermore, overexpression of the BCAS3-C16orf70 complex affects the recruitment of several core autophagy proteins to the phagophore assembly site. This study demonstrates regulatory roles for human BCAS3 and C16orf70 in autophagic activity.
    Keywords:  Mitophagy; parkin; phagophore; pink1; starvation; wd40
  5. J Biol Chem. 2021 Jan 23. pii: S0021-9258(21)00106-X. [Epub ahead of print] 100335
      Lipid transfer proteins of the Ups1/PRELID1 family facilitate the transport of phospholipids across the intermembrane space of mitochondria in a lipid-specific manner. Heterodimeric complexes of yeast Ups1/Mdm35 or human PRELID1/TRIAP1 shuttle phosphatidic acid (PA) mainly synthesized in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the inner membrane, where it is converted to cardiolipin (CL), the signature phospholipid of mitochondria. Loss of Ups1/PRELID1 proteins impairs the accumulation of CL and broadly affects mitochondrial structure and function. Unexpectedly and unlike yeast cells lacking the cardiolipin synthase Crd1, Ups1 deficient yeast cells exhibit glycolytic growth defects, pointing to functions of Ups1-mediated PA transfer beyond CL synthesis. Here, we show that the disturbed intramitochondrial transport of PA in ups1Δ cells leads to altered unfolded protein response (UPR) and mTORC1 signaling, independent of disturbances in CL synthesis. The impaired flux of PA into mitochondria is associated with the increased synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC) and a reduced phosphatidylethanolamine (PE)/PC ratio in the ER of ups1Δ cells which suppresses the UPR. Moreover, we observed inhibition of TORC1 signaling in these cells. Activation of either UPR by ER protein stress or of TORC1 signaling by disruption of its negative regulator, the SEACIT complex, increased cytosolic protein synthesis and restored glycolytic growth of ups1Δ cells. These results demonstrate that PA influx into mitochondria is required to preserve ER membrane homeostasis and that its disturbance is associated with impaired glycolytic growth and cellular stress signaling.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; PRELID1; TORC1; Ups1; endoplasmic reticulum (ER); lipid transfer; phospholipid; unfolded protein response (UPR); yeast
  6. J Biol Chem. 2020 Feb 07. pii: S0021-9258(17)49861-9. [Epub ahead of print]295(6): 1623-1636
      Permeabilization of the mitochondrial outer membrane is a key step in the intrinsic apoptosis pathway, triggered by the release of mitochondrial intermembrane space proteins into the cytoplasm. The BCL-2-associated X apoptosis regulator (BAX) protein critically contributes to this process by forming pores in the mitochondrial outer membrane. However, the relative roles of the mitochondrial residence of BAX and its oligomerization in promoting membrane permeabilization are unclear. To this end, using both cell-free and cellular experimental systems, including membrane permeabilization, size-exclusion chromatography-based oligomer, and retrotranslocation assays, along with confocal microscopy analysis, here we studied two BAX C-terminal variants, T182I and G179P. Neither variant formed large oligomers when activated in liposomes. Nevertheless, the G179P variant could permeabilize liposome membranes, suggesting that large BAX oligomers are not essential for the permeabilization. However, when G179P was transduced into BAX/BCL2 agonist killer (BAK) double-knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts, its location was solely cytoplasmic, and it then failed to mediate cell death. In contrast, T182I was inefficient in both liposome insertion and permeabilization. Yet, when transduced into cells, BAXT182I resided predominantly on mitochondria, because of its slow retrotranslocation and mediated apoptosis as efficiently as WT BAX. We conclude that BAX's mitochondrial residence in vivo, regulated by both targeting and retrotranslocation, is more significant for its pro-apoptotic activity than its ability to insert and to form higher-order oligomers in model membranes. We propose that this finding should be taken into account when developing drugs that modulate BAX activity.
    Keywords:  Bax; anticancer drug; apoptosis; liposome; mitochondrial apoptosis; mitochondrial localization; mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP); molecular cell biology; protein oligomers; translocation
  7. Sci Rep. 2021 Jan 25. 11(1): 2157
      Bloom Syndrome (BS; OMIM #210900; ORPHA #125) is a rare genetic disorder that is associated with growth deficits, compromised immune system, insulin resistance, genome instability and extraordinary predisposition to cancer. Most efforts thus far have focused on understanding the role of the Bloom syndrome DNA helicase BLM as a recombination factor in maintaining genome stability and suppressing cancer. Here, we observed increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and DNA base damage in BLM-deficient cells, as well as oxidative-stress-dependent reduction in DNA replication speed. BLM-deficient cells exhibited increased mitochondrial mass, upregulation of mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), higher ATP levels and increased respiratory reserve capacity. Cyclin B1, which acts in complex with cyclin-dependent kinase CDK1 to regulate mitotic entry and associated mitochondrial fission by phosphorylating mitochondrial fission protein Drp1, fails to be fully degraded in BLM-deficient cells and shows unscheduled expression in G1 phase cells. This failure to degrade cyclin B1 is accompanied by increased levels and persistent activation of Drp1 throughout mitosis and into G1 phase as well as mitochondrial fragmentation. This study identifies mitochondria-associated abnormalities in Bloom syndrome patient-derived and BLM-knockout cells and we discuss how these abnormalities may contribute to Bloom syndrome.
  8. Commun Biol. 2021 Jan 29. 4(1): 127
      Common fragile sites (CFSs) are genomic regions frequently involved in cancer-associated rearrangements. Most CFSs lie within large genes, and their instability involves transcription- and replication-dependent mechanisms. Here, we uncover a role for the mitochondrial stress response pathway in the regulation of CFS stability in human cells. We show that FANCD2, a master regulator of CFS stability, dampens the activation of the mitochondrial stress response and prevents mitochondrial dysfunction. Genetic or pharmacological activation of mitochondrial stress signaling induces CFS gene expression and concomitant relocalization to CFSs of FANCD2. FANCD2 attenuates CFS gene transcription and promotes CFS gene stability. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that the mitochondrial stress-dependent induction of CFS genes is mediated by ubiquitin-like protein 5 (UBL5), and that a UBL5-FANCD2 dependent axis regulates the mitochondrial UPR in human cells. We propose that FANCD2 coordinates nuclear and mitochondrial activities to prevent genome instability.
  9. Trends Biochem Sci. 2021 Jan 25. pii: S0968-0004(20)30325-X. [Epub ahead of print]
      Lysosomal degradation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) fragments by autophagy, termed ER-phagy or reticulophagy, occurs under normal as well as stress conditions. The recent discovery of multiple ER-phagy receptors has stimulated studies on the roles of ER-phagy. We discuss how the ER-phagy receptors and the cellular components that work with these receptors mediate two important functions: ER homeostasis and ER quality control. We highlight that ER-phagy plays an important role in alleviating ER expansion induced by ER stress, and acts as an alternative disposal pathway for misfolded proteins. We suggest that the latter function explains the emerging connection between ER-phagy and disease. Additional ER-phagy-associated functions and important unanswered questions are also discussed.
    Keywords:  autophagy receptor; endoplasmic reticulum; human disease; macro-ER-phagy; micro-ER-phagy; proteostasis; reticulophagy
  10. PLoS Comput Biol. 2021 Jan 25. 17(1): e1008624
      Mitochondria are vital organelles inside the cell and contribute to intracellular calcium (Ca2+) dynamics directly and indirectly via calcium exchange, ATP generation, and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Arrhythmogenic Ca2+ alternans in cardiac myocytes has been observed in experiments under abnormal mitochondrial depolarization. However, complex signaling pathways and Ca2+ cycling between mitochondria and cytosol make it difficult in experiments to reveal the underlying mechanisms of Ca2+ alternans under abnormal mitochondrial depolarization. In this study, we use a newly developed spatiotemporal ventricular myocyte computer model that integrates mitochondrial Ca2+ cycling and complex signaling pathways to investigate the mechanisms of Ca2+ alternans during mitochondrial depolarization. We find that elevation of ROS in response to mitochondrial depolarization plays a critical role in promoting Ca2+ alternans. Further examination reveals that the redox effect of ROS on ryanodine receptors and sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase synergistically promote alternans. Upregulation of mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter promotes Ca2+ alternans via Ca2+-dependent mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening. Due to their relatively slow kinetics, oxidized Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II activation and ATP do not play significant roles acutely in the genesis of Ca2+ alternans after mitochondrial depolarization, but their roles can be significant in the long term, mainly through their effects on sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase activity. In conclusion, mitochondrial depolarization promotes Ca2+ alternans acutely via the redox effect of ROS and chronically by ATP reduction. It suppresses Ca2+ alternans chronically through oxidized Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II activation.
  11. Biomedicines. 2021 Jan 21. pii: 103. [Epub ahead of print]9(2):
      Sideroflexins (SLC56 family) are highly conserved multi-spanning transmembrane proteins inserted in the inner mitochondrial membrane in eukaryotes. Few data are available on their molecular function, but since their first description, they were thought to be metabolite transporters probably required for iron utilization inside the mitochondrion. Such as numerous mitochondrial transporters, sideroflexins remain poorly characterized. The prototypic member SFXN1 has been recently identified as the previously unknown mitochondrial transporter of serine. Nevertheless, pending questions on the molecular function of sideroflexins remain unsolved, especially their link with iron metabolism. Here, we review the current knowledge on sideroflexins, their presumed mitochondrial functions and the sparse-but growing-evidence linking sideroflexins to iron homeostasis and iron-sulfur cluster biogenesis. Since an imbalance in iron homeostasis can be detrimental at the cellular and organismal levels, we also investigate the relationship between sideroflexins, iron and physiological disorders. Investigating Sideroflexins' functions constitutes an emerging research field of great interest and will certainly lead to the main discoveries of mitochondrial physio-pathology.
    Keywords:  ferritinophagy; ferroptosis; heme biosynthesis; iron homeostasis; iron-sulfur cluster; mitochondria; mitochondrial transporters; one-carbon metabolism; sideroflexin