bims-mitdyn Biomed News
on Mitochondrial dynamics: mechanisms
Issue of 2021‒07‒25
ten papers selected by
Edmond Chan
Queen’s University, School of Medicine

  1. Nat Commun. 2021 07 22. 12(1): 4462
      RORγt+ lymphocytes, including interleukin 17 (IL-17)-producing gamma delta T (γδT17) cells, T helper 17 (Th17) cells, and group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s), are important immune regulators. Compared to Th17 cells and ILC3s, γδT17 cell metabolism and its role in tissue homeostasis remains poorly understood. Here, we report that the tissue milieu shapes splenic and intestinal γδT17 cell gene signatures. Conditional deletion of mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam) in RORγt+ lymphocytes significantly affects systemic γδT17 cell maintenance and reduces ILC3s without affecting Th17 cells in the gut. In vivo deletion of Tfam in RORγt+ lymphocytes, especially in γδT17 cells, results in small intestine tissue remodeling and increases small intestine length by enhancing the type 2 immune responses in mice. Moreover, these mice show dysregulation of the small intestine transcriptome and metabolism with less body weight but enhanced anti-helminth immunity. IL-22, a cytokine produced by RORγt+ lymphocytes inhibits IL-13-induced tuft cell differentiation in vitro, and suppresses the tuft cell-type 2 immune circuit and small intestine lengthening in vivo, highlighting its key role in gut tissue remodeling.
  2. Elife. 2021 Jul 20. pii: e65484. [Epub ahead of print]10
      Mitochondria are organelles with their own genomes, but they rely on the import of nuclear-encoded proteins that are translated by cytosolic ribosomes. Therefore, it is important to understand whether failures in the mitochondrial uptake of these nuclear-encoded proteins can cause proteotoxic stress and identify response mechanisms that may counteract it. Here, we report that upon impairments in mitochondrial protein import, high-risk precursor and immature forms of mitochondrial proteins form aberrant deposits in the cytosol. These deposits then cause further cytosolic accumulation and consequently aggregation of other mitochondrial proteins and disease-related proteins, including α-synuclein and amyloid β. This aggregation triggers a cytosolic protein homeostasis imbalance that is accompanied by specific molecular chaperone responses at both the transcriptomic and protein levels. Altogether, our results provide evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction, specifically protein import defects, contributes to impairments in protein homeostasis, thus revealing a possible molecular mechanism by which mitochondria are involved in neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; S. cerevisiae; biochemistry; chemical biology
  3. EMBO Rep. 2021 Jul 23. e51954
      Mfn2 is a mitochondrial fusion protein with bioenergetic functions implicated in the pathophysiology of neuronal and metabolic disorders. Understanding the bioenergetic mechanism of Mfn2 may aid in designing therapeutic approaches for these disorders. Here we show using endoplasmic reticulum (ER) or mitochondria-targeted Mfn2 that Mfn2 stimulation of the mitochondrial metabolism requires its localization in the ER, which is independent of its fusion function. ER-located Mfn2 interacts with mitochondrial Mfn1/2 to tether the ER and mitochondria together, allowing Ca2+ transfer from the ER to mitochondria to enhance mitochondrial bioenergetics. The physiological relevance of these findings is shown during neurite outgrowth, when there is an increase in Mfn2-dependent ER-mitochondria contact that is necessary for correct neuronal arbor growth. Reduced neuritic growth in Mfn2 KO neurons is recovered by the expression of ER-targeted Mfn2 or an artificial ER-mitochondria tether, indicating that manipulation of ER-mitochondria contacts could be used to treat pathologic conditions involving Mfn2.
    Keywords:  Ca2+; ER-mitochondria tethering; Mfn2; neuritic growth
  4. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jul 27. pii: e2014610118. [Epub ahead of print]118(30):
      Mitochondrial dysfunction is found in the brain and peripheral tissues of patients diagnosed with Huntington's disease (HD), an irreversible neurodegenerative disease of which aging is a major risk factor. Mitochondrial function is encoded by not only nuclear DNA but also DNA within mitochondria (mtDNA). Expansion of mtDNA heteroplasmies (coexistence of mutated and wild-type mtDNA) can contribute to age-related decline of mitochondrial function but has not been systematically investigated in HD. Here, by using a sensitive mtDNA-targeted sequencing method, we studied mtDNA heteroplasmies in lymphoblasts and longitudinal blood samples of HD patients. We found a significant increase in the fraction of mtDNA heteroplasmies with predicted pathogenicity in lymphoblasts from 1,549 HD patients relative to lymphoblasts from 182 healthy individuals. The increased fraction of pathogenic mtDNA heteroplasmies in HD lymphoblasts also correlated with advancing HD stages and worsened disease severity measured by HD motor function, cognitive function, and functional capacity. Of note, elongated CAG repeats in HTT promoted age-dependent expansion of pathogenic mtDNA heteroplasmies in HD lymphoblasts. We then confirmed in longitudinal blood samples of 169 HD patients that expansion of pathogenic mtDNA heteroplasmies was correlated with decline in functional capacity and exacerbation of HD motor and cognitive functions during a median follow-up of 6 y. The results of our study indicate accelerated decline of mtDNA quality in HD, and highlight monitoring mtDNA heteroplasmies longitudinally as a way to investigate the progressive decline of mitochondrial function in aging and age-related diseases.
    Keywords:  Huntington’s disease; mitochondrial DNA; sequencing
  5. Commun Biol. 2021 Jul 21. 4(1): 894
      Mitochondrial fusion and fission, which are strongly related to normal mitochondrial function, are referred to as mitochondrial dynamics. Mitochondrial fusion defects in the liver cause a non-alcoholic steatohepatitis-like phenotype and liver cancer. However, whether mitochondrial fission defect directly impair liver function and stimulate liver disease progression, too, is unclear. Dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) is a key factor controlling mitochondrial fission. We hypothesized that DRP1 defects are a causal factor directly involved in liver disease development and stimulate liver disease progression. Drp1 defects directly promoted endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, hepatocyte death, and subsequently induced infiltration of inflammatory macrophages. Drp1 deletion increased the expression of numerous genes involved in the immune response and DNA damage in Drp1LiKO mouse primary hepatocytes. We administered lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to liver-specific Drp1-knockout (Drp1LiKO) mice and observed an increased inflammatory cytokine expression in the liver and serum caused by exaggerated ER stress and enhanced inflammasome activation. This study indicates that Drp1 defect-induced mitochondrial dynamics dysfunction directly regulates the fate and function of hepatocytes and enhances LPS-induced acute liver injury in vivo.
  6. Autophagy. 2021 Jul 18. 1-3
      Mitophagy, the clearance of surplus or damaged mitochondria or mitochondrial parts by autophagy, is important for maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Whereas knowledge on programmed and stress-induced mitophagy is increasing, much less is known about mechanisms of basal mitophagy. Recently, we identified SAMM50 (SAMM50 sorting and assembly machinery component) as a receptor for piecemeal degradation of components of the sorting and assembly machinery (SAM) complex and mitochondrial contact site and cristae organizing system (MICOS) complexes. SAMM50 interacts directly with Atg8-family proteins through a canonical LIR motif and with SQSTM1/p62 to mediate basal piecemeal mitophagy. During a metabolic switch to oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), SAMM50 cooperates with SQSTM1 to mediate efficient piecemeal mitophagy.
    Keywords:  Atg8; MICOS; OXPHOS; SAMM50; SQSTM1; basal; metabolic switch; p62; piecemeal mitophagy
  7. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2021 Jul 15. pii: S0167-4889(21)00153-1. [Epub ahead of print] 119099
      Cellular senescence generates a permanent cell cycle arrest, characterized by apoptosis resistance and a pro-inflammatory senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Physiologically, senescent cells promote tissue remodeling during development and after injury. However, when accumulated over a certain threshold as happens during aging or after cellular stress, senescent cells contribute to the functional decline of tissues, participating in the generation of several diseases. Cellular senescence is accompanied by increased mitochondrial metabolism. How mitochondrial function is regulated and what role it plays in senescent cell homeostasis is poorly understood. Mitochondria are functionally and physically coupled to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the major calcium (Ca2+) storage organelle in mammalian cells, through special domains known as mitochondria-ER contacts (MERCs). In this domain, the release of Ca2+ from the ER is mainly regulated by inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3Rs), a family of three Ca2+ release channels activated by a ligand (IP3). IP3R-mediated Ca2+ release is transferred to mitochondria through the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU), where it modulates the activity of several enzymes and transporters impacting its bioenergetic and biosynthetic function. Here, we review the possible connection between ER to mitochondria Ca2+ transfer and senescence. Understanding the pathways that contribute to senescence is essential to reveal new therapeutic targets that allow either delaying senescent cell accumulation or reduce senescent cell burden to alleviate multiple diseases.
    Keywords:  MERCs; calcium; metabolism; mitochondria; senescence
  8. FASEB J. 2021 08;35(8): e21771
      Impaired mitochondrial fusion, due in part to decreased mitofusin 2 (Mfn2) expression, contributes to unrestricted cell proliferation and apoptosis-resistance in hyperproliferative diseases like pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We hypothesized that Mfn2 levels are reduced due to increased proteasomal degradation of Mfn2 triggered by its phosphorylation at serine 442 (S442) and investigated the potential kinase mediators. Mfn2 expression was decreased and Mfn2 S442 phosphorylation was increased in pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells from PAH patients and in NSCLC cells. Mfn2 phosphorylation was mediated by PINK1 and protein kinase A (PKA), although only PINK1 expression was increased in these diseases. We designed a S442 phosphorylation deficient Mfn2 construct (PD-Mfn2) and a S442 constitutively phosphorylated Mfn2 construct (CP-Mfn2). The effects of these modified Mfn2 constructs on Mfn2 expression and biological function were compared with those of the wildtype Mfn2 construct (WT-Mfn2). WT-Mfn2 increased Mfn2 expression and mitochondrial fusion in both PAH and NSCLC cells resulting in increased apoptosis and decreased cell proliferation. Compared to WT-Mfn2, PD-Mfn2 caused greater Mfn2 expression, suppression of proliferation, apoptosis induction, and cell cycle arrest. Conversely, CP-Mfn2 caused only a small increase in Mfn2 expression and did not restore mitochondrial fusion, inhibit cell proliferation, or induce apoptosis. Silencing PINK1 or PKA, or proteasome blockade using MG132, increased Mfn2 expression, enhanced mitochondrial fusion and induced apoptosis. In a xenotransplantation NSCLC model, PD-Mfn2 gene therapy caused greater tumor regression than did therapy with WT-Mfn2. Mfn2 deficiency in PAH and NSCLC reflects proteasomal degradation triggered by Mfn2-S442 phosphorylation by PINK1 and/or PKA. Inhibiting Mfn2 phosphorylation has potential therapeutic benefit in PAH and lung cancer.
    Keywords:  adenoviral gene therapy; mitochondrial dynamics; non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1); protein kinase A (PKA)
  9. EMBO J. 2021 Jul 20. e109001
      Mitochondrial activity is becoming an inherent aspect of cellular protein homeostasis (proteostasis). In this issue, Schlagowski et al (2021) report on the attractive notion that modulating mitochondrial protein import activity stimulates protein aggregate clearance in the cytosol, thereby affecting cytosolic proteostasis and its collapse observed in neurodegenerative diseases.
  10. Biophys J. 2021 Jul 20. pii: S0006-3495(21)00598-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria exhibit unstable inner membrane potentials (ΔΨm) when subjected to stress, such as during Ischemia/Reperfusion (I/R). Understanding the mechanism of ΔΨm instability involves characterizing and quantifying this phenomenon in an unbiased and reproducible manner. Here, we describe a simple analytical workflow called 'MitoWave' that combines wavelet transform methods and image segmentation to unravel dynamic ΔΨm changes in the cardiac mitochondrial network during I/R. In vitro ischemia was effected by placing a glass coverslip on a monolayer of neonatal mouse ventricular myocytes (NMVMs) for 1 hour and removing the coverslip to allowed for reperfusion, revealing complex oscillatory ΔΨm. MitoWave analysis was then used to identify individual mitochondrial clusters within the cells and track their intrinsic oscillation frequencies over the course of reperfusion. Responses segregated into five typical behaviors quantified by MitoWave that were corroborated by visual inspection of the time series. Statistical analysis of the distribution of oscillating mitochondrial clusters during reperfusion showed significant differences between the five different outcomes. Features such as the time-point of ΔΨm depolarization during I/R, area of mitochondrial clusters, and time-resolved frequency components dAuring reperfusion were determined per cell and per mitochondrial cluster. Mitochondria from NMVMs subjected to I/R oscillate in the frequency range of 8.6-45mHz, with a mean of 8.73±4.35mHz. Oscillating clusters had smaller areas ranging from 49.8±1.2 μm2 while non-oscillating clusters had larger areas 66±1.5μm2. A negative correlation between frequency and mitochondrial cluster area was observed. We also observed that late ΔΨm loss during ischemia correlated with early ΔΨm stabilization after oscillation on reperfusion. Thus, MitoWave analysis provides a semi-automated method to quantify complex time-resolved mitochondrial behavior in an easy to follow workflow, enabling unbiased, reproducible quantitation of complex non-stationary cellular phenomena.
    Keywords:  image processing; ischemia; mitochondrial membrane potential; oscillation; oxidative phosphorylation; reperfusion; time-series analysis; wavelet