bims-mitdyn Biomed News
on Mitochondrial dynamics: mechanisms
Issue of 2021‒12‒26
sixteen papers selected by
Edmond Chan
Queen’s University, School of Medicine

  1. Nature. 2021 Dec 21.
      Mutations in the protein kinase PINK1 lead to defects in mitophagy and cause autosomal recessive early onset Parkinson's Disease (EOPD)1,2. PINK1 has many unique features that enable it to phosphorylate ubiquitin and the ubiquitin-like domain of Parkin3-9. Structural analysis of PINK1 from diverse insect species10-12 with and without ubiquitin provided snapshots of distinct structural states yet did not explain how PINK1 is activated. We here elucidate the activation mechanism of PINK1 by crystallography and cryo-EM. A crystal structure of unphosphorylated Pediculus humanus corporis (Ph) PINK1 resolves a previously omitted N-terminal helix revealing how unphosphorylated yet active PINK1 is oriented on mitochondria. We further reveal a 2.35 Å cryo-EM structure of a symmetric PhPINK1 dimer trapped during the process of trans-autophosphorylation, and a 3.1 Å cryo-EM structure of phosphorylated PhPINK1 in the process of undergoing a conformational change to become an active ubiquitin kinase. Structures and phosphorylation studies further identify a role for regulatory PINK1 oxidation. Together, our work delineates the complete activation mechanism of PINK1, illuminates how PINK1 interacts with the mitochondrial outer membrane, and reveals how PINK1 activity may be modulated by mitochondrial reactive oxygen species.
  2. Nature. 2021 Dec 22.
      Although deregulation of transfer RNA (tRNA) biogenesis promotes the translation of pro-tumorigenic mRNAs in cancers1,2, the mechanisms and consequences of tRNA deregulation in tumorigenesis are poorly understood. Here we use a CRISPR-Cas9 screen to focus on genes that have been implicated in tRNA biogenesis, and identify a mechanism by which altered valine tRNA biogenesis enhances mitochondrial bioenergetics in T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL). Expression of valine aminoacyl tRNA synthetase is transcriptionally upregulated by NOTCH1, a key oncogene in T-ALL, underlining a role for oncogenic transcriptional programs in coordinating tRNA supply and demand. Limiting valine bioavailability through restriction of dietary valine intake disrupted this balance in mice, resulting in decreased leukaemic burden and increased survival in vivo. Mechanistically, valine restriction reduced translation rates of mRNAs that encode subunits of mitochondrial complex I, leading to defective assembly of complex I and impaired oxidative phosphorylation. Finally, a genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 loss-of-function screen in differential valine conditions identified several genes, including SLC7A5 and BCL2, whose genetic ablation or pharmacological inhibition synergized with valine restriction to reduce T-ALL growth. Our findings identify tRNA deregulation as a critical adaptation in the pathogenesis of T-ALL and provide a molecular basis for the use of dietary approaches to target tRNA biogenesis in blood malignancies.
  3. Cell Rep. 2021 Dec 21. pii: S2211-1247(21)01637-5. [Epub ahead of print]37(12): 110141
      Neurons are highly polarized cells that display characteristic differences in the organization of their organelles in axons and dendrites. The kinases SadA and SadB (SadA/B) promote the formation of distinct axonal and dendritic extensions during the development of cortical and hippocampal neurons. Here, we show that SadA/B are required for the specific dynamics of axonal mitochondria. Ankyrin B (AnkB) stimulates the activity of SadA/B that function as regulators of mitochondrial dynamics through the phosphorylation of tau. Suppression of SadA/B or AnkB in cortical neurons induces the elongation of mitochondria by disrupting the balance of fission and fusion. SadA/B-deficient neurons show an accumulation of hyper-fused mitochondria and activation of the integrated stress response (ISR). The normal dynamics of axonal mitochondria could be restored by mild actin destabilization. Thus, the elongation after loss of SadA/B results from an excessive stabilization of actin filaments and reduction of Drp1 recruitment to mitochondria.
    Keywords:  Ankyrin; Brsk1; Brsk2; Drp1; F-actin; Mapt; hyperfusion; mitochondrial dynamics; mitochondrial fission; neuronal polarity
  4. Cell Rep. 2021 Dec 21. pii: S2211-1247(21)01635-1. [Epub ahead of print]37(12): 110139
      The ATPase Family AAA Domain Containing 3A (ATAD3A), is a mitochondrial inner membrane protein conserved in metazoans. ATAD3A has been associated with several mitochondrial functions, including nucleoid organization, cholesterol metabolism, and mitochondrial translation. To address its primary role, we generated a neuronal-specific conditional knockout (Atad3 nKO) mouse model, which developed a severe encephalopathy by 5 months of age. Pre-symptomatic mice showed aberrant mitochondrial cristae morphogenesis in the cortex as early as 2 months. Using a multi-omics approach in the CNS of 2-to-3-month-old mice, we found early alterations in the organelle membrane structure. We also show that human ATAD3A associates with different components of the inner membrane, including OXPHOS complex I, Letm1, and prohibitin complexes. Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM) shows that ATAD3A is regularly distributed along the inner mitochondrial membrane, suggesting a critical structural role in inner mitochondrial membrane and its organization, most likely in an ATPase-dependent manner.
    Keywords:  ATAD3; cardiolipin; cristae; inner membrane; mitochondria
  5. Elife. 2021 Dec 23. pii: e72593. [Epub ahead of print]10
      The Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle (TCA) cycle is arguably the most critical metabolic cycle in physiology and exists as an essential interface coordinating cellular metabolism, bioenergetics, and redox homeostasis. Despite decades of research, a comprehensive investigation into the consequences of TCA cycle dysfunction remains elusive. Here, we targeted two TCA cycle enzymes, fumarate hydratase (FH) and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), and combined metabolomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics analyses to fully appraise the consequences of TCA cycle inhibition (TCAi) in murine kidney epithelial cells. Our comparative approach shows that TCAi elicits a convergent rewiring of redox and amino acid metabolism dependent on the activation of ATF4 and the integrated stress response (ISR). Furthermore, we also uncover a divergent metabolic response, whereby acute FHi, but not SDHi, can maintain asparagine levels via reductive carboxylation and maintenance of cytosolic aspartate synthesis. Our work highlights an important interplay between the TCA cycle, redox biology and amino acid homeostasis.
    Keywords:  biochemistry; cell biology; chemical biology; mouse
  6. EMBO J. 2021 Dec 21. e108690
      During apoptosis, the BCL-2-family protein tBID promotes mitochondrial permeabilization by activating BAX and BAK and by blocking anti-apoptotic BCL-2 members. Here, we report that tBID can also mediate mitochondrial permeabilization by itself, resulting in release of cytochrome c and mitochondrial DNA, caspase activation and apoptosis even in absence of BAX and BAK. This previously unrecognized activity of tBID depends on helix 6, homologous to the pore-forming regions of BAX and BAK, and can be blocked by pro-survival BCL-2 proteins. Importantly, tBID-mediated mitochondrial permeabilization independent of BAX and BAK is physiologically relevant for SMAC release in the immune response against Shigella infection. Furthermore, it can be exploited to kill leukaemia cells with acquired venetoclax resistance due to lack of active BAX and BAK. Our findings define tBID as an effector of mitochondrial permeabilization in apoptosis and provide a new paradigm for BCL-2 proteins, with implications for anti-bacterial immunity and cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  BCL-2 proteins; apoptosis; mitochondrial permeabilization; pore formation
  7. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 19. 1-3
      Mitophagy, a type of selective autophagy targeting damaged or superfluous mitochondria, is critical to maintain cell homeostasis. Besides the well-characterized PRKN-dependent mitophagy, PRKN-independent mitophagy also plays significant physiological roles. In a recent study, researchers from Anne Simonsen's lab discovered two lipid binding kinases, GAK and PRKCD, as positive regulators of PRKN-independent mitophagy. The researchers further investigated how these two proteins regulate mitophagy and demonstrated their roles in vivo. Focusing on the less known PRKN-independent mitophagy regulators, these findings shed light on understanding the mechanism of mitophagy and its relation to diseases.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; GAK; PRKCD; PRKN; lipid-binding kinases
  8. Autophagy. 2021 Dec 19. 1-2
      Psychosocial stress is a common risk factor for anxiety disorders. The cellular mechanism for the anxiogenic effect of psychosocial stress is largely unclear. We recently showed that chronic social defeat (CSD) stress in mice causes mitochondrial impairment, which triggers the PINK1-PRKN/parkin mitophagy pathway selectively in the amygdala. This mitophagy elevation causes excessive mitochondrial elimination and consequent mitochondrial deficiency. Mitochondrial deficiency in the basolateral amygdalae (BLA) causes weakening of synaptic transmission in the BLA-BNST (bed nucleus of the stria terminalis) anxiolytic pathway and increased anxiety. The CSD-induced increase in anxiety-like behaviors is abolished in pink1-/- and prkn-/- mice and alleviated by optogenetic activation of the BLA-BNST synapse. This study identifies an unsuspected role of mitophagy in psychogenetic-stress-induced anxiety elevation and reveals that mitochondrial deficiency is sufficient to increase anxiety and underlies the psychosocial-stress-induced anxiety increase. Mitochondria and mitophagy, therefore, can be potentially targeted to ameliorate anxiety.
    Keywords:  BNST; Mitophagy; amygdala; anxiety; mitochondria; psychological stress; social defeat stress
  9. Cell Rep. 2021 Dec 21. pii: S2211-1247(21)01629-6. [Epub ahead of print]37(12): 110133
      Intracellular calcium signaling underlies the astroglial control of synaptic transmission and plasticity. Mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum contacts (MERCs) are key determinants of calcium dynamics, but their functional impact on astroglial regulation of brain information processing is unexplored. We found that the activation of astrocyte mitochondrial-associated type-1 cannabinoid (mtCB1) receptors determines MERC-dependent intracellular calcium signaling and synaptic integration. The stimulation of mtCB1 receptors promotes calcium transfer from the endoplasmic reticulum to mitochondria through a specific molecular cascade, involving the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU). Physiologically, mtCB1-dependent mitochondrial calcium uptake determines the dynamics of cytosolic calcium events in astrocytes upon endocannabinoid mobilization. Accordingly, electrophysiological recordings in hippocampal slices showed that conditional genetic exclusion of mtCB1 receptors or dominant-negative MCU expression in astrocytes blocks lateral synaptic potentiation, through which astrocytes integrate the activity of distant synapses. Altogether, these data reveal an endocannabinoid link between astroglial MERCs and the regulation of brain network functions.
    Keywords:  CB1; MERCs; astrocytes; calcium; cannabinoid; lateral synaptic potentiation; mitochondria
  10. JCI Insight. 2021 Dec 22. pii: e154089. [Epub ahead of print]6(24):
      Ammonia is a cytotoxic metabolite with pleiotropic molecular and metabolic effects, including senescence induction. During dysregulated ammonia metabolism, which occurs in chronic diseases, skeletal muscle becomes a major organ for nonhepatocyte ammonia uptake. Muscle ammonia disposal occurs in mitochondria via cataplerosis of critical intermediary metabolite α-ketoglutarate, a senescence-ameliorating molecule. Untargeted and mitochondrially targeted data were analyzed by multiomics approaches. These analyses were validated experimentally to dissect the specific mitochondrial oxidative defects and functional consequences, including senescence. Responses to ammonia lowering in myotubes and in hyperammonemic portacaval anastomosis rat muscle were studied. Whole-cell transcriptomics integrated with whole-cell, mitochondrial, and tissue proteomics showed distinct temporal clusters of responses with enrichment of oxidative dysfunction and senescence-related pathways/proteins during hyperammonemia and after ammonia withdrawal. Functional and metabolic studies showed defects in electron transport chain complexes I, III, and IV; loss of supercomplex assembly; decreased ATP synthesis; increased free radical generation with oxidative modification of proteins/lipids; and senescence-associated molecular phenotype-increased β-galactosidase activity and expression of p16INK, p21, and p53. These perturbations were partially reversed by ammonia lowering. Dysregulated ammonia metabolism caused reversible mitochondrial dysfunction by transcriptional and translational perturbations in multiple pathways with a distinct skeletal muscle senescence-associated molecular phenotype.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Cellular senescence; Hepatology; Mitochondria; Skeletal muscle
  11. Mol Metab. 2021 Dec 20. pii: S2212-8778(21)00279-9. [Epub ahead of print] 101421
      Mitochondria are cellular organelles responsible for energy production, and dysregulation of the mitochondrial network is associated with many disease states. To fully characterize the mitochondrial network's structure and function, a three-dimensional whole cell mapping technique is required. This review highlights the use of soft X-ray tomography (SXT) as a relatively high-throughput approach to quantify mitochondrial structure and function under multiple cellular conditions. The use of SXT opens the door for mapping cellular rearrangements during critical processes such as insulin secretion, stem cell differentiation, or disease progression. SXT also provides unique information such as biochemical compositions or molecular densities of organelles and allows for unbiased, label-free imaging of intact whole cells. Mapping mitochondria in the context of the near-native cellular environment will reveal more information regarding mitochondrial network functions within the cell.
    Keywords:  Structural biology; cell mapping; mitochondria; spatial biology; tomography
  12. Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 Dec 20. pii: gkab1230. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) plays a critical role in mitochondrial transcription initiation and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) packaging. Both functions require DNA binding, but in one case TFAM must recognize a specific promoter sequence, while packaging requires coating of mtDNA by association with non sequence-specific regions. The mechanisms by which TFAM achieves both sequence-specific and non sequence-specific recognition have not yet been determined. Existing crystal structures of TFAM bound to DNA allowed us to identify two guanine-specific interactions that are established between TFAM and the bound DNA. These interactions are observed when TFAM is bound to both specific promoter sequences and non-sequence specific DNA. These interactions are established with two guanine bases separated by 10 random nucleotides (GN10G). Our biochemical results demonstrate that the GN10G consensus is essential for transcriptional initiation and contributes to facilitating TFAM binding to DNA substrates. Furthermore, we report a crystal structure of TFAM in complex with a non sequence-specific sequence containing a GN10G consensus. The structure reveals a unique arrangement in which TFAM bridges two DNA substrates while maintaining the GN10G interactions. We propose that the GN10G consensus is key to facilitate the interaction of TFAM with DNA.
  13. iScience. 2021 Dec 17. 24(12): 103509
      Although hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) has long been used to treat autoimmune diseases, its mechanism of action remains poorly understood. In CD4 T-cells, we found that a clinically relevant concentration of HCQ inhibited the mitochondrial antioxidant system triggered by TCR crosslinking, leading to increased mitochondrial superoxide, impaired activation-induced autophagic flux, and reduced proliferation of CD4 T-cells. In antigen-presenting cells, HCQ also reduced constitutive activation of the endo-lysosomal protease legumain and toll-like receptor 9, thereby reducing cytokine production, but it had little apparent impact on constitutive antigen processing and peptide presentation. HCQ's effects did not require endo-lysosomal pH change, nor impaired autophagosome-lysosome fusion. We explored the clinical relevance of these findings in patients with celiac disease-a prototypic CD4 T-cell-mediated disease-and found that HCQ limits ex vivo antigen-specific T cell responses. We report a T-cell-intrinsic immunomodulatory effect from HCQ and suggest potential re-purposing of HCQ for celiac disease.
    Keywords:  Immune system; Molecular biology; Proteomics
  14. iScience. 2021 Dec 17. 24(12): 103497
      The disruption of the tumor microenvironment (TME) is a promising anti-cancer strategy, but its effective targeting for solid tumors remains unknown. Here, we investigated the anti-cancer activity of the mitochondrial complex I inhibitor intervenolin (ITV), which modulates the TME independent of energy depletion. By modulating lactate metabolism, ITV induced the concomitant acidification of the intra- and extracellular environment, which synergistically suppressed S6K1 activity in cancer cells through protein phosphatase-2A-mediated dephosphorylation via G-protein-coupled receptor(s). Other complex I inhibitors including metformin and rotenone were also found to exert the same effect through an energy depletion-independent manner as ITV. In mouse and patient-derived xenograft models, ITV was found to suppress tumor growth and its mode of action was further confirmed. The TME is usually acidic owing to glycolytic cancer cell metabolism, and this condition is more susceptible to complex I inhibitors. Thus, we have demonstrated a potential treatment strategy for solid tumors.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Cell biology; Microenvironment
  15. Neuron. 2021 Dec 14. pii: S0896-6273(21)00969-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      The current paradigm is that inflammatory pain passively resolves following the cessation of inflammation. Yet, in a substantial proportion of patients with inflammatory diseases, resolution of inflammation is not sufficient to resolve pain, resulting in chronic pain. Mechanistic insight into how inflammatory pain is resolved is lacking. Here, we show that macrophages actively control resolution of inflammatory pain remotely from the site of inflammation by transferring mitochondria to sensory neurons. During resolution of inflammatory pain in mice, M2-like macrophages infiltrate the dorsal root ganglia that contain the somata of sensory neurons, concurrent with the recovery of oxidative phosphorylation in sensory neurons. The resolution of pain and the transfer of mitochondria requires expression of CD200 receptor (CD200R) on macrophages and the non-canonical CD200R-ligand iSec1 on sensory neurons. Our data reveal a novel mechanism for active resolution of inflammatory pain.
    Keywords:  CD200r; Pain resolution; chronic pain; inflammatory pain; isec1; macrophages; mitochondria; neuroimmunology; sensory neurons; vesicles
  16. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2021 Dec 22.
      Mitochondria are primarily involved in energy production through the process of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). Increasing evidence has shown that mitochondrial function impacts a plethora of different cellular activities, including metabolism, epigenetics and innate immunity. Like the nucleus, mitochondria own their genetic material, which is maternally inherited. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes 37 genes that are solely involved in OXPHOS. Maintenance of mtDNA, through replication and repair, requires the import of nuclear DNA encoded proteins. Thus, mitochondria completely rely on the nucleus to prevent mitochondrial genetic alterations. As every cell contains hundreds to thousands of mitochondria, it follows that the shear number of organelles allow for the buffering of dysfunction - at least to some extent - before tissue homeostasis becomes impaired. Only red blood cells lack mitochondria entirely. Impaired mitochondrial function is a hallmark of aging and is involved in a number of different disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmunity. While alterations in mitochondrial processes unrelated to OXPHOS, such as fusion and fission, contribute to aging and disease, maintenance of mtDNA integrity is critical for proper organellar function. Here, we focus on how mtDNA damage contributes to cellular dysfunction and health outcomes.
    Keywords:  DNA repair; cellular outcomes; mitochondrial dysfunction; mtDNA damage