bims-mitlys Biomed News
on Mitochondria and Lysosomes
Issue of 2021‒04‒25
ten papers selected by
Nicoletta Plotegher
University of Padua

  1. Stem Cell Reports. 2021 Apr 13. pii: S2213-6711(21)00161-2. [Epub ahead of print]
      Sequestosome-1 (SQSTM1/p62) is involved in cellular processes such as autophagy and metabolic reprogramming. Mutations resulting in the loss of function of SQSTM1 lead to neurodegenerative diseases including frontotemporal dementia. The pathogenic mechanism that contributes to SQSTM1-related neurodegeneration has been linked to its role as an autophagy adaptor, but this is poorly understood, and its precise role in mitochondrial function and clearance remains to be clarified. Here, we assessed the importance of SQSTM1 in human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cortical neurons through the knockout of SQSTM1. We show that SQSTM1 depletion causes altered mitochondrial gene expression and functionality, as well as autophagy flux, in iPSC-derived neurons. However, SQSTM1 is not essential for mitophagy despite having a significant impact on early PINK1-dependent mitophagy processes including PINK1 recruitment and phosphorylation of ubiquitin on depolarized mitochondria. These findings suggest that SQSTM1 is important for mitochondrial function rather than clearance.
    Keywords:  FTD; SQSTM1; iPSC disease modeling; mitochondria
  2. J Cell Biol. 2021 May 03. pii: e202010004. [Epub ahead of print]220(5):
      Mitochondria, which are excluded from the secretory pathway, depend on lipid transport proteins for their lipid supply from the ER, where most lipids are synthesized. In yeast, the outer mitochondrial membrane GTPase Gem1 is an accessory factor of ERMES, an ER-mitochondria tethering complex that contains lipid transport domains and that functions, partially redundantly with Vps13, in lipid transfer between the two organelles. In metazoa, where VPS13, but not ERMES, is present, the Gem1 orthologue Miro was linked to mitochondrial dynamics but not to lipid transport. Here we show that Miro, including its peroxisome-enriched splice variant, recruits the lipid transport protein VPS13D, which in turn binds the ER in a VAP-dependent way and thus could provide a lipid conduit between the ER and mitochondria. These findings reveal a so far missing link between function(s) of Gem1/Miro in yeast and higher eukaryotes, where Miro is a Parkin substrate, with potential implications for Parkinson's disease pathogenesis.
  3. Blood Adv. 2021 Apr 27. 5(8): 2087-2100
      Leukemia stem cells (LSCs) and therapy-resistant acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blasts contribute to the reinitiation of leukemia after remission, necessitating therapeutic interventions that target these populations. Autophagy is a prosurvival process that allows for cells to adapt to a variety of stressors. Blocking autophagy pharmacologically by using mechanistically distinct inhibitors induced apoptosis and prevented colony formation in primary human AML cells. The most effective inhibitor, bafilomycin A1 (Baf A1), also prevented the in vivo maintenance of AML LSCs in NSG mice. To understand why Baf A1 exerted the most dramatic effects on LSC survival, we evaluated mitochondrial function. Baf A1 reduced mitochondrial respiration and stabilized PTEN-induced kinase-1 (PINK-1), which initiates autophagy of mitochondria (mitophagy). Interestingly, with the autophagy inhibitor chloroquine, levels of enhanced cell death and reduced mitochondrial respiration phenocopied the effects of Baf A1 only when cultured in hypoxic conditions that mimic the marrow microenvironment (1% O2). This indicates that increased efficacy of autophagy inhibitors in inducing AML cell death can be achieved by concurrently inducing mitochondrial damage and mitophagy (pharmacologically or by hypoxic induction) and blocking mitochondrial degradation. In addition, prolonged exposure of AML cells to hypoxia induced autophagic flux and reduced chemosensitivity to cytarabine (Ara-C), which was reversed by autophagy inhibition. The combination of Ara-C with Baf A1 also decreased tumor burden in vivo. These findings demonstrate that autophagy is critical for mitochondrial homeostasis and survival of AML cells in hypoxia and support the development of autophagy inhibitors as novel therapeutic agents for AML.
  4. Autophagy. 2021 Apr 18. 1-4
      Whether macroautophagy/autophagy is physiologically relevant to regulate mitochondrial function for a rapid and dynamic adaptation of yeast cells to respiratory growth was not fully understood until recently. May et al. (2020. Nat Commun) report that bulk autophagy provides serine as a one-carbon (1C) metabolite that controls respiratory growth onset by initiating mitochondrial initiator tRNAMet modification and mitochondrial translation linking autophagy mechanistically to mitochondrial function. We discuss the mechanistic interplay between autophagy, one-carbon-metabolism, and mitochondrial function and the possible implications in neurodegeneration, aging, and carcinogenesis.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; mitochondrial respiration; mitochondrial translation; one-carbon metabolism; respiratory growth
  5. Hum Mol Genet. 2021 Apr 22. pii: ddab116. [Epub ahead of print]
      UBQLN2 mutations cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), but the pathogenic mechanisms by which they cause disease remain unclear. Proteomic profiling identified 'mitochondrial proteins' as comprising the largest category of protein changes in the spinal cord (SC) of the P497S UBQLN2 mouse model of ALS/FTD. Immunoblots confirmed P497S animals have global changes in proteins predictive of a severe decline in mitochondrial health, including oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), mitochondrial protein import, and network dynamics. Functional studies confirmed mitochondria purified from the SC of P497S animals have age-dependent decline in nearly all steps of OXPHOS. Mitochondria cristae deformities were evident in spinal motor neurons of aged P497S animals. Knockout (KO) of UBQLN2 in HeLa cells resulted in changes in mitochondrial proteins and OXPHOS activity similar to those seen in the SC. KO of UBQLN2 also compromised targeting and processing of the mitochondrial import factor, TIMM44, resulting in accumulation in abnormal foci. The functional OXPHOS deficits and TIMM44 targeting defects were rescued by re-expression of WT UBQLN2 but not by ALS/FTD mutant UBQLN2 proteins. In-vitro binding assays revealed ALS/FTD mutant UBQLN2 proteins bind weaker with TIMM44 than WT UBQLN2 protein, suggesting that the loss of UBQLN2 binding may underlie the import and/or delivery defect of TIMM44 to mitochondria. Our studies indicate a potential key pathogenic disturbance in mitochondrial health caused by UBQLN2 mutations.
  6. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Apr 20. 12(5): 413
      Retinal degeneration diseases (RDDs) are common and devastating eye diseases characterized by the degeneration of photoreceptors, which are highly associated with oxidative stress. Previous studies reported that mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with various neurodegenerative diseases. However, the role of mitochondrial proteostasis mainly regulated by mitophagy and mitochondrial unfolded protein response (mtUPR) in RDDs is unclear. We hypothesized that the mitochondrial proteostasis is neuroprotective against oxidative injury in RDDs. In this study, the data from our hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-treated mouse retinal cone cell line (661w) model of RDDs showed that nicotinamide riboside (NR)-activated mitophagy increased the expression of LC3B II and PINK1, and promoted the co-localization of LC3 and mitochondria, as well as PINK1 and Parkin in the H2O2-treated 661w cells. However, the NR-induced mitophagy was remarkably reversed by chloroquine (CQ) and cyclosporine A (CsA), mitophagic inhibitors. In addition, doxycycline (DOX), an inducer of mtUPR, up-regulated the expression of HSP60 and CHOP, the key proteins of mtUPR. Activation of both mitophagy and mtUPR increased the cell viability and reduced the level of apoptosis and oxidative damage in the H2O2-treated 661w cells. Furthermore, both mitophagy and mtUPR played a protective effect on mitochondria by increasing mitochondrial membrane potential and maintaining mitochondrial mass. By contrast, the inhibition of mitophagy by CQ or CsA reversed the beneficial effect of mitophagy in the H2O2-treated 661w cells. Together, our study suggests that the mitophagy and mtUPR pathways may serve as new therapeutic targets to delay the progression of RDDs through enhancing mitochondrial proteostasis.
  7. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 ;12 651211
      Lipid overload of the mitochondria is linked to the development of insulin resistance in skeletal muscle which may be a contributing factor to the progression of type 2 diabetes during obesity. The targeted degradation of mitochondria through autophagy, termed mitophagy, contributes to the mitochondrial adaptive response to changes in dietary fat. Our previous work demonstrates long-term (2-4 months) consumption of a high-fat diet increases mitochondrial lipid oxidation capacity but does not alter markers of mitophagy in mice. The purpose of this study was to investigate initial stages of mitochondrial respiratory adaptations to high-fat diet and the activation of mitophagy. C57BL/6J mice consumed either a low-fat diet (LFD, 10% fat) or high-fat diet (HFD, 60% fat) for 3 or 7 days. We measured skeletal muscle mitochondrial respiration and protein markers of mitophagy in a mitochondrial-enriched fraction of skeletal muscle. After 3 days of HFD, mice had lower lipid-supported oxidative phosphorylation alongside greater electron leak compared with the LFD group. After 7 days, there were no differences in mitochondrial respiration between diet groups. HFD mice had greater autophagosome formation potential (Beclin-1) and greater activation of mitochondrial autophagy receptors (Bnip3, p62) in isolated mitochondria, but no difference in downstream autophagosome (LC3II) or lysosome (Lamp1) abundance after both 3 and 7 days compared with the LFD groups. In cultured myotubes, palmitate treatment decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and hydrogen peroxide treatment increased accumulation of upstream mitophagy markers. We conclude that several days of high-fat feeding stimulated upstream activation of skeletal muscle mitophagy, potentially through lipid-induced oxidative stress, without downstream changes in respiration.
    Keywords:  autophagy; high-fat feeding; mitochondria; reactive oxygen species; respiration
  8. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 636553
      Our previous research has shown that type-2a Sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA2a) undergoes posttranscriptional oxidative modifications in cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (CMECs) in the context of excessive cardiac oxidative injury. However, whether SERCA2a inactivity induces cytosolic Ca2+ imbalance in mitochondrial homeostasis is far from clear. Mitofusin2 (Mfn2) is well known as an important protein involved in endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/mitochondrial Ca2+ tethering and the regulation of mitochondrial quality. Therefore, the aim of our study was to elucidate the specific mechanism of SERCA2a-mediated Ca2+ overload in the mitochondria via Mfn2 tethering and the survival rate of the heart under conditions of cardiac microvascular ischemic injury. In vitro, CMECs extracted from mice were subjected to 6 h of hypoxic injury to mimic ischemic heart injury. C57-WT and Mfn2KO mice were subjected to a 1 h ischemia procedure via ligation of the left anterior descending branch to establish an in vivo cardiac ischemic injury model. TTC staining, immunohistochemistry and echocardiography were used to assess the myocardial infarct size, microvascular damage, and heart function. In vitro, ischemic injury induced irreversible oxidative modification of SERCA2a, including sulfonylation at cysteine 674 and nitration at tyrosine 294/295, and inactivation of SERCA2a, which initiated calcium overload. In addition, ischemic injury-triggered [Ca2+]c overload and subsequent [Ca2+]m overload led to mPTP opening and ΔΨm dissipation compared with the control. Furthermore, ablation of Mfn2 alleviated SERCA2a-induced mitochondrial calcium overload and subsequent mito-apoptosis in the context of CMEC hypoxic injury. In vivo, compared with that in wild-type mice, the myocardial infarct size in Mfn2KO mice was significantly decreased. In addition, the findings revealed that Mfn2KO mice had better heart contractile function, decreased myocardial infarction indicators, and improved mitochondrial morphology. Taken together, the results of our study suggested that SERCA2a-dependent [Ca2+]c overload led to mitochondrial dysfunction and activation of Mfn2-mediated [Ca2+]m overload. Overexpression of SERCA2a or ablation of Mfn2 expression mitigated mitochondrial morphological and functional damage by modifying the SERCA2a/Ca2+-Mfn2 pathway. Overall, these pathways are promising therapeutic targets for acute cardiac microvascular ischemic injury.
    Keywords:  CMEC; Mfn2; SERCA2a; hypoxia; ischemia injury; mitochondria
  9. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2021 Apr 20.
      Autophagy is an important degradative pathway that eliminates misfolded proteins and damaged organelles from cells. Autophagy is crucial for neuronal homeostasis and function. A lack of or deficiency in autophagy leads to the accumulation of protein aggregates, which are associated with several neurodegenerative diseases. Compared with non-neuronal cells, neurons exhibit rapid autophagic flux because damaged organelles or protein aggregates cannot be diluted in post-mitotic cells; because of this, these cells exhibit characteristic features of autophagy, such as compartment-specific autophagy, which depends on polarized structures and rapid autophagy flux. In addition, neurons exhibit compartment-specific autophagy, which depends on polarized structures. Neuronal autophagy may have additional physiological roles other than amino acid recycling. In this review, we focus on the characteristics and regulatory factors of neuronal autophagy. We also describe intracellular selective autophagy in neurons and its association with neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Characteristic; Neurological disorder; Neurons; Selective autophagy