bims-mitdyn Biomed News
on Mitochondrial dynamics: mechanisms
Issue of 2021‒06‒27
thirteen papers selected by
Edmond Chan
Queen’s University, School of Medicine

  1. Dev Cell. 2021 Jun 24. pii: S1534-5807(21)00481-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are critical metabolic and signaling hubs, and dysregulated mitochondrial homeostasis is implicated in many diseases. Degradation of damaged mitochondria by selective GABARAP/LC3-dependent macro-autophagy (mitophagy) is critical for maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis. To identify alternate forms of mitochondrial quality control that functionally compensate if mitophagy is inactive, we selected for autophagy-dependent cancer cells that survived loss of LC3-dependent autophagosome formation caused by inactivation of ATG7 or RB1CC1/FIP200. We discovered rare surviving autophagy-deficient clones that adapted to maintain mitochondrial homeostasis after gene inactivation and identified two enhanced mechanisms affecting mitochondria including mitochondrial dynamics and mitochondrial-derived vesicles (MDVs). To further understand these mechanisms, we quantified MDVs via flow cytometry and confirmed an SNX9-mediated mechanism necessary for flux of MDVs to lysosomes. We show that the autophagy-dependent cells acquire unique dependencies on these processes, indicating that these alternate forms of mitochondrial homeostasis compensate for loss of autophagy to maintain mitochondrial health.
    Keywords:  ATG7; FIP200; SNX9; autophagy; cancer; late endosomes; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial-derived vesicles; mitophagy
  2. Cell Chem Biol. 2021 Jun 08. pii: S2451-9456(21)00260-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, are dynamic organelles that undergo constant morphological changes. Increasing evidence indicates that mitochondria morphologies and functions can be modulated by mechanical cues. However, the mechano-sensing and -responding properties of mitochondria and the relation between mitochondrial morphologies and functions are unclear due to the lack of methods to precisely exert mechano-stimulation on and deform mitochondria inside live cells. Here, we present an optogenetic approach that uses light to induce deformation of mitochondria by recruiting molecular motors to the outer mitochondrial membrane via light-activated protein-protein hetero-dimerization. Mechanical forces generated by motor proteins distort the outer membrane, during which the inner mitochondrial membrane can also be deformed. Moreover, this optical method can achieve subcellular spatial precision and be combined with different optical dimerizers and molecular motors. This method presents a mitochondria-specific mechano-stimulator for studying mitochondria mechanobiology and the interplay between mitochondria shapes and functions.
    Keywords:  cryptochrome 2; light-gated hetero-dimerization; mitochondria; mitochondrial morphology; molecular motor; optical dimerizer; optogenetics; organelle mechanobiology
  3. EMBO J. 2021 Jun 21. e100715
      Clearance of mitochondria following damage is critical for neuronal homeostasis. Here, we investigate the role of Miro proteins in mitochondrial turnover by the PINK1/Parkin mitochondrial quality control system in vitro and in vivo. We find that upon mitochondrial damage, Miro is promiscuously ubiquitinated on multiple lysine residues. Genetic deletion of Miro or block of Miro1 ubiquitination and subsequent degradation lead to delayed translocation of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin onto damaged mitochondria and reduced mitochondrial clearance in both fibroblasts and cultured neurons. Disrupted mitophagy in vivo, upon post-natal knockout of Miro1 in hippocampus and cortex, leads to a dramatic increase in mitofusin levels, the appearance of enlarged and hyperfused mitochondria and hyperactivation of the integrated stress response (ISR). Altogether, our results provide new insights into the central role of Miro1 in the regulation of mitochondrial homeostasis and further implicate Miro1 dysfunction in the pathogenesis of human neurodegenerative disease.
    Keywords:  Parkinson’s disease; Rhot1; Rhot2; eIF2α; megamitochondria
  4. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jun 22. pii: e2023752118. [Epub ahead of print]118(25):
      Fever can provide a survival advantage during infection. Metabolic processes are sensitive to environmental conditions, but the effect of fever on T cell metabolism is not well characterized. We show that in activated CD8+ T cells, exposure to febrile temperature (39 °C) augmented metabolic activity and T cell effector functions, despite having a limited effect on proliferation or activation marker expression. Transcriptional profiling revealed an up-regulation of mitochondrial pathways, which was consistent with increased mass and metabolism observed in T cells exposed to 39 °C. Through in vitro and in vivo models, we determined that mitochondrial translation is integral to the enhanced metabolic activity and function of CD8+ T cells exposed to febrile temperature. Transiently exposing donor lymphocytes to 39 °C prior to infusion in a myeloid leukemia mouse model conferred enhanced therapeutic efficacy, raising the possibility that exposure of T cells to febrile temperatures could have clinical potential.
    Keywords:  T cell; fever; immunology; metabolism; mitochondria
  5. Nat Metab. 2021 Jun 21.
      Colorectal cancer (CRC) requires massive iron stores, but the complete mechanisms by which CRC modulates local iron handling are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that hepcidin is activated ectopically in CRC. Mice deficient in hepcidin specifically in the colon tumour epithelium, compared with wild-type littermates, exhibit significantly diminished tumour number, burden and size in a sporadic model of CRC, whereas accumulation of intracellular iron by deletion of the iron exporter ferroportin exacerbates these tumour parameters. Metabolomic analysis of three-dimensional patient-derived CRC tumour enteroids indicates a prioritization of iron in CRC for the production of nucleotides, which is recapitulated in our hepcidin/ferroportin mouse CRC models. Mechanistically, our data suggest that iron chelation decreases mitochondrial function, thereby altering nucleotide synthesis, whereas exogenous supplementation of nucleosides or aspartate partially rescues tumour growth in patient-derived enteroids and CRC cell lines in the presence of an iron chelator. Collectively, these data suggest that ectopic hepcidin in the tumour epithelium establishes an axis to sequester iron in order to maintain the nucleotide pool and sustain proliferation in colorectal tumours.
  6. JCI Insight. 2021 Jun 22. pii: 143540. [Epub ahead of print]
      Estrogen-related receptor gamma (Esrrg) is a murine lupus susceptibility gene associated with T cell activation. Here, we report that Esrrg controls regulatory T cells (Treg) through mitochondria homeostasis. Esrrg deficiency impaired the maintenance and function of Treg cells, leading to global T cell activation and autoimmunity in aged mice. Further, Esrrg-deficient Treg cells presented an impaired differentiation into follicular Treg (Tfr) cells that enhanced follicular helper T cells (Tfh) responses. Mechanistically, Esrrg-deficient Treg cells presented with dysregulated mitochondria with decreased oxygen consumption as well as ATP and NAD+ production. In addition, Esrrg-deficient Treg cells exhibited decreased phosphatidylinositol and TGF-β signaling pathways and increased mTORC1 activation. We found that the expression of human ESRRG, which is high in Treg cells, was lower in CD4+ T cells from lupus patients than in healthy controls. Finally, knocking down ESRRG in Jurkat T cells decreased their metabolism. Together, our results reveal a critical role of Esrrg in the maintenance and metabolism of Treg cells, which may provide a genetic link between lupus pathogenesis and mitochondrial dysfunction in T cells.
    Keywords:  Autoimmunity; Lupus; Mitochondria; T cells
  7. J Exp Med. 2021 Aug 02. pii: e20202446. [Epub ahead of print]218(8):
      Biochemical, pathogenic, and human genetic data confirm that GSAP (γ-secretase activating protein), a selective γ-secretase modulatory protein, plays important roles in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Down's syndrome. However, the molecular mechanism(s) underlying GSAP-dependent pathogenesis remains largely elusive. Here, through unbiased proteomics and single-nuclei RNAseq, we identified that GSAP regulates multiple biological pathways, including protein phosphorylation, trafficking, lipid metabolism, and mitochondrial function. We demonstrated that GSAP physically interacts with the Fe65-APP complex to regulate APP trafficking/partitioning. GSAP is enriched in the mitochondria-associated membrane (MAM) and regulates lipid homeostasis through the amyloidogenic processing of APP. GSAP deletion generates a lipid environment unfavorable for AD pathogenesis, leading to improved mitochondrial function and the rescue of cognitive deficits in an AD mouse model. Finally, we identified a novel GSAP single-nucleotide polymorphism that regulates its brain transcript level and is associated with an increased AD risk. Together, our findings indicate that GSAP impairs mitochondrial function through its MAM localization and that lowering GSAP expression reduces pathological effects associated with AD.
  8. Sci Adv. 2021 Jun;pii: eabg3012. [Epub ahead of print]7(26):
      Protein aggregation causes intracellular changes in neurons, which elicit signals to modulate proteostasis in the periphery. Beyond the nervous system, a fundamental question is whether other organs also communicate their proteostasis status to distal tissues. Here, we examine whether proteostasis of the germ line influences somatic tissues. To this end, we induce aggregation of germline-specific PGL-1 protein in germline stem cells of Caenorhabditis elegans Besides altering the intracellular mitochondrial network of germline cells, PGL-1 aggregation also reduces the mitochondrial content of somatic tissues through long-range Wnt signaling pathway. This process induces the unfolded protein response of the mitochondria in the soma, promoting somatic mitochondrial fragmentation and aggregation of proteins linked with neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Thus, the proteostasis status of germline stem cells coordinates mitochondrial networks and protein aggregation through the organism.
  9. Cell Rep. 2021 Jun 22. pii: S2211-1247(21)00642-2. [Epub ahead of print]35(12): 109275
      The mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU), the highly selective channel responsible for mitochondrial Ca2+ entry, plays important roles in physiology and pathology. However, only few pharmacological compounds directly and selectively modulate its activity. Here, we perform high-throughput screening on a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug library comprising 1,600 compounds to identify molecules modulating mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake. We find amorolfine and benzethonium to be positive and negative MCU modulators, respectively. In agreement with the positive effect of MCU in muscle trophism, amorolfine increases muscle size, and MCU silencing is sufficient to blunt amorolfine-induced hypertrophy. Conversely, in the triple-negative breast cancer cell line MDA-MB-231, benzethonium delays cell growth and migration in an MCU-dependent manner and protects from ceramide-induced apoptosis, in line with the role of mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake in cancer progression. Overall, we identify amorolfine and benzethonium as effective MCU-targeting drugs applicable to a wide array of experimental and disease conditions.
    Keywords:  FDA-approved drugs; MCU; amorolfine; benzethonium; high-throughput screening; mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake; mitochondrial calcium uniporter; skeletal muscle hypertrophy; triple-negative breast cancer
  10. Nat Commun. 2021 06 21. 12(1): 3820
      Our current understanding of mitochondrial functioning is largely restricted to traditional model organisms, which only represent a fraction of eukaryotic diversity. The unusual mitochondrion of malaria parasites is a validated drug target but remains poorly understood. Here, we apply complexome profiling to map the inventory of protein complexes across the pathogenic asexual blood stages and the transmissible gametocyte stages of Plasmodium falciparum. We identify remarkably divergent composition and clade-specific additions of all respiratory chain complexes. Furthermore, we show that respiratory chain complex components and linked metabolic pathways are up to 40-fold more prevalent in gametocytes, while glycolytic enzymes are substantially reduced. Underlining this functional switch, we find that cristae are exclusively present in gametocytes. Leveraging these divergent properties and stage dynamics for drug development presents an attractive opportunity to discover novel classes of antimalarials and increase our repertoire of gametocytocidal drugs.
  11. FASEB J. 2021 Jul;35(7): e21708
      Metabolic reprogramming occurs in cancer cells and is regulated partly by the opposing actions of tyrosine kinases and tyrosine phosphatases. Several members of the protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) superfamily have been linked to cancer as either pro-oncogenic or tumor-suppressive enzymes. In order to investigate which PTPs can modulate the metabolic state of cancer cells, we performed an shRNA screen of PTPs in HCT116 human colorectal cancer cells. Among the 72 PTPs efficiently targeted, 24 were found to regulate mitochondrial respiration, 8 as negative and 16 as positive regulators. Of the latter, we selected TC-PTP (PTPN2) for further characterization since inhibition of this PTP resulted in major functional defects in oxidative metabolism without affecting glycolytic flux. Transmission electron microscopy revealed an increase in the number of damaged mitochondria in TC-PTP-null cells, demonstrating the potential role of this PTP in regulating mitochondrial homeostasis. Downregulation of STAT3 by siRNA-mediated silencing partially rescued the mitochondrial respiration defect observed in TC-PTP-deficient cells, supporting the role of this signaling axis in regulating mitochondrial activity. In addition, mitochondrial stress prevented an increased expression of electron transport chain-related genes in cells with TC-PTP silencing, correlating with decreased ATP production, cellular proliferation, and migration. Our shRNA-based metabolic screen revealed that PTPs can serve as either positive or negative regulators of cancer cell metabolism. Taken together, our findings uncover a new role for TC-PTP as an activator of mitochondrial metabolism, validating this PTP as a key target for cancer therapeutics.
    Keywords:  PTPN2; TC-PTP; cancer; metabolism; mitochondria; protein tyrosine phosphatases
  12. Mitochondrion. 2021 Jun 19. pii: S1567-7249(21)00082-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      The dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) and its homologs in various eukaryotes are essential to maintain mitochondrial morphology and regulate mitochondrial division. Several mutations in different domains of Drp1 have been reported, which result in debilitating conditions. Four such disease-causing mutations of the middle domain of Drp1 were mimicked in the yeast dynamin-related GTPase (Dnm1) and were characterized in this study. Mitochondrial morphology and protein function were observed to be altered to a variable extent in cells expressing the mutated variants of Dnm1. Several aspects related to the protein such as punctate formation, localization to mitochondria, dynamic behavior and structure were analyzed by microscopy, biochemical studies and molecular dynamics simulations. Significant effects on the protein structure and function were observed in cells expressing A430D and G397D mutations. Overall, our data provide insight into the molecular and cellular alterations resulting from middle domain mutations in Dnm1.
    Keywords:  Dnm1; Drp1; dynamin-like GTPase; mitochondria; neurodegenerative diseases; yeast
  13. J Biol Chem. 2021 Jun 19. pii: S0021-9258(21)00704-3. [Epub ahead of print] 100904
      Mitochondria are critical for regulation of the activation, differentiation, and survival of macrophages and other immune cells. In response to various extracellular signals, such as microbial or viral infection, changes to mitochondrial metabolism and physiology could underlie the corresponding state of macrophage activation. These changes include alterations of oxidative metabolism, mitochondrial membrane potential, and tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycling, as well as the release of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and transformation of the mitochondrial ultrastructure. Here, we provide an updated review of how changes in mitochondrial metabolism and various metabolites such as fumarate, succinate, and itaconate coordinate to guide macrophage activation to distinct cellular states, thus clarifying the vital link between mitochondria metabolism and immunity. We also discuss how in disease settings, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress contribute to dysregulation of the inflammatory response. Therefore, mitochondria are a vital source of dynamic signals that regulate macrophage biology to fine-tune immune responses.
    Keywords:  macrophage activation; macrophage biology; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial metabolism; oxidative stress