bims-nenemi Biomed News
on Neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and mitochondria
Issue of 2022‒06‒12
eleven papers selected by
Marco Tigano
Thomas Jefferson University

  1. Cell. 2022 May 30. pii: S0092-8674(22)00590-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mitochondrial genome encodes 13 components of the oxidative phosphorylation system, and altered mitochondrial transcription drives various human pathologies. A polyadenylated, non-coding RNA molecule known as 7S RNA is transcribed from a region immediately downstream of the light strand promoter in mammalian cells, and its levels change rapidly in response to physiological conditions. Here, we report that 7S RNA has a regulatory function, as it controls levels of mitochondrial transcription both in vitro and in cultured human cells. Using cryo-EM, we show that POLRMT dimerization is induced by interactions with 7S RNA. The resulting POLRMT dimer interface sequesters domains necessary for promoter recognition and unwinding, thereby preventing transcription initiation. We propose that the non-coding 7S RNA molecule is a component of a negative feedback loop that regulates mitochondrial transcription in mammalian cells.
    Keywords:  7S RNA; POLRMT; SUV3; cryo-EM; dimer; mitochondria; mtDNA; mtEXO; non-coding RNA; transcription
  2. Exp Gerontol. 2022 Jun 06. pii: S0531-5565(22)00174-7. [Epub ahead of print]165 111866
      Mitochondria are dysfunctional in post-senescent cells. Therefore, age-dependent impairment of mitochondrial energy production accompanied by excessive mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) is proposed to be a key driver of cellular senescence, which is a state of irreversible cell cycle arrest. However, it remains to be clarified whether mitochondrial dysfunction initiates or accelerates replicative senescence. In this study, we observed no increase in mitochondrial ROS or decrease in mitochondrial respiratory function in human TIG-1 fibroblasts in the transition phase, during which the population doubling rate gradually decreases due to the development of replicative senescence. The integrated stress response and expression of growth differentiation factor 15, which are triggered by respiratory chain deficiency, were also not induced in the transition phase. Mitochondria were elongated without aberrant cristae structures in the transition phase. Mitophagy-related protein levels started to decrease in the transition phase, but autophagic flux slightly increased during replicative senescence. These results suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction and excessive mitochondrial ROS generation do not occur predominately in the transition phase and may not play a role in the development of replicative senescence in normal diploid TIG-1 fibroblasts.
    Keywords:  Aging; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Mitophagy; Reactive oxygen species; Replicative senescence
  3. Cells. 2022 May 24. pii: 1731. [Epub ahead of print]11(11):
      Diseases that affect the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) often manifest as threshold effect disorders, meaning patients only become symptomatic once a certain level of ETC dysfunction is reached. Cells can invoke mechanisms to circumvent reaching their critical ETC threshold, but it is an ongoing challenge to identify such processes. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, severe reduction of mitochondrial ETC activity shortens life, but mild reduction actually extends it, providing an opportunity to identify threshold circumvention mechanisms. Here, we show that removal of ATL-1, but not ATM-1, worm orthologs of ATR and ATM, respectively, key nuclear DNA damage checkpoint proteins in human cells, unexpectedly lessens the severity of ETC dysfunction. Multiple genetic and biochemical tests show no evidence for increased mutation or DNA breakage in animals exposed to ETC disruption. Reduced ETC function instead alters nucleotide ratios within both the ribo- and deoxyribo-nucleotide pools, and causes stalling of RNA polymerase, which is also known to activate ATR. Unexpectedly, atl-1 mutants confronted with mitochondrial ETC disruption maintain normal levels of oxygen consumption, and have an increased abundance of translating ribosomes. This suggests checkpoint signaling by ATL-1 normally dampens cytoplasmic translation. Taken together, our data suggest a model whereby ETC insufficiency in C. elegans results in nucleotide imbalances leading to the stalling of RNA polymerase, activation of ATL-1, dampening of global translation, and magnification of ETC dysfunction. The loss of ATL-1 effectively reverses the severity of ETC disruption so that animals become phenotypically closer to wild type.
    Keywords:  DDR; DNA damage response; MAK-1; MAK-2; MAPKAPs; Mit mutants; ageing; aging; checkpoint response; polysome profiling; retrograde response
  4. EMBO Mol Med. 2022 Jun 07. e15851
      Aberrant localization of proteins to mitochondria disturbs mitochondrial function and contributes to the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease (HD). However, the crucial factors and the molecular mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we found that heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) accumulates in the mitochondria of HD cell models, a YAC128 mouse model, and human striatal organoids derived from HD induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Overexpression of mitochondria-targeting HSF1 (mtHSF1) in the striatum causes neurodegeneration and HD-like behavior in mice. Mechanistically, mtHSF1 facilitates mitochondrial fission by activating dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) phosphorylation at S616. Moreover, mtHSF1 suppresses single-stranded DNA-binding protein 1 (SSBP1) oligomer formation, which results in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletion. The suppression of HSF1 mitochondrial localization by DH1, a unique peptide inhibitor, abolishes HSF1-induced mitochondrial abnormalities and ameliorates deficits in an HD animal model and human striatal organoids. Altogether, our findings describe an unsuspected role of HSF1 in contributing to mitochondrial dysfunction, which may provide a promising therapeutic target for HD.
    Keywords:  Huntington's disease; heat shock transcription factor 1; human striatal organoids; mitochondrial DNA; single-stranded DNA-binding protein 1
  5. Neurosci Res. 2022 Jun 07. pii: S0168-0102(22)00172-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      BAX is a Bcl-2 family protein acting on apoptosis. It also promotes mitochondrial fusion by interacting with the mitochondrial fusion protein Mitofusin (Mfn1 and Mfn2). Neuronal mitochondria are important for the development and modification of dendritic spines, which are subcellular compartments accommodating excitatory synapses in postsynaptic neurons. The abundance of dendritic mitochondria influences dendritic spine development. Mitochondrial fusion is essential for mitochondrial homeostasis. Here, we show that in the hippocampal neuron of BAX knockout mice, mitochondrial fusion is impaired, leading to decreases in mitochondrial length and total mitochondrial mass in dendrites. Notably, BAX knockout mice also have fewer dendritic spines and less cellular Adenosine 5'triphosphate (ATP) in dendrites. The spine and ATP changes are abolished by restoring mitochondria fusion via overexpressing Mfn1 and Mfn2. These findings indicate that BAX-mediated mitochondrial fusion in neurons is crucial for the development of dendritic spines and the maintenance of cellular ATP levels.
    Keywords:  ATP; Mfn; mitochondria; spine
  6. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 May 30. pii: 6141. [Epub ahead of print]23(11):
      Mitochondria are the power houses of eukaryote cells. These endosymbiotic organelles of prokaryote origin are considered as semi-autonomous since they have retained a genome and fully functional gene expression mechanisms. These pathways are particularly interesting because they combine features inherited from the bacterial ancestor of mitochondria with characteristics that appeared during eukaryote evolution. RNA biology is thus particularly diverse in mitochondria. It involves an unexpectedly vast array of factors, some of which being universal to all mitochondria and others being specific from specific eukaryote clades. Among them, ribonucleases are particularly prominent. They play pivotal functions such as the maturation of transcript ends, RNA degradation and surveillance functions that are required to attain the pool of mature RNAs required to synthesize essential mitochondrial proteins such as respiratory chain proteins. Beyond these functions, mitochondrial ribonucleases are also involved in the maintenance and replication of mitochondrial DNA, and even possibly in the biogenesis of mitochondrial ribosomes. The diversity of mitochondrial RNases is reviewed here, showing for instance how in some cases a bacterial-type enzyme was kept in some eukaryotes, while in other clades, eukaryote specific enzymes were recruited for the same function.
    Keywords:  RNA degradation; RNA maturation; endoribonuclease; exoribonuclease; mitochondrial gene expression
  7. Cell Rep. 2022 Jun 07. pii: S2211-1247(22)00689-1. [Epub ahead of print]39(10): 110912
      To elucidate the function of oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) during B cell differentiation, we employ CD23Cre-driven expression of the dominant-negative K320E mutant of the mitochondrial helicase Twinkle (DNT). DNT-expression depletes mitochondrial DNA during B cell maturation, reduces the abundance of respiratory chain protein subunits encoded by mitochondrial DNA, and, consequently, respiratory chain super-complexes in activated B cells. Whereas B cell development in DNT mice is normal, B cell proliferation, germinal centers, class switch to IgG, plasma cell maturation, and T cell-dependent as well as T cell-independent humoral immunity are diminished. DNT expression dampens OxPhos but increases glycolysis in lipopolysaccharide and B cell receptor-activated cells. Lipopolysaccharide-activated DNT-B cells exhibit altered metabolites of glycolysis, the pentose phosphate pathway, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle and a lower amount of phosphatidic acid. Consequently, mTORC1 activity and BLIMP1 induction are curtailed, whereas HIF1α is stabilized. Hence, mitochondrial DNA controls the metabolism of activated B cells via OxPhos to foster humoral immunity.
    Keywords:  B lymphocyte; CP: Immunology; HIF1; TCA cycle; class switch recombination; germinal center; hypoxia inducible factor 1; mTOR; mammalian target of Rapamycin; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial respiration; oxidative phosphorylation; phosphatidic acid; plasma cell
  8. Nat Commun. 2022 Jun 10. 13(1): 3243
      Cerebral organoids can be used to gain insights into cell type specific processes perturbed by genetic variants associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. However, robust and scalable phenotyping of organoids remains challenging. Here, we perform RNA sequencing on 71 samples comprising 1,420 cerebral organoids from 25 donors, and describe a framework (Orgo-Seq) to integrate bulk RNA and single-cell RNA sequence data. We apply Orgo-Seq to 16p11.2 deletions and 15q11-13 duplications, two loci associated with autism spectrum disorder, to identify immature neurons and intermediate progenitor cells as critical cell types for 16p11.2 deletions. We further applied Orgo-Seq to identify cell type-specific driver genes. Our work presents a quantitative phenotyping framework to integrate multi-transcriptomic datasets for the identification of cell types and cell type-specific co-expressed driver genes associated with neuropsychiatric disorders.
  9. Cell Commun Signal. 2022 Jun 03. 20(1): 81
      Balanced cell death and survival are among the most important cell development and homeostasis pathways that can play a critical role in the onset or progress of malignancy steps. Anastasis is a natural cell recovery pathway that rescues cells after removing the apoptosis-inducing agent or brink of death. The cells recuperate and recover to an active and stable state. So far, minimal knowledge is available about the molecular mechanisms of anastasis. Still, several involved pathways have been explained: recovery through mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization, caspase cascade arrest, repairing DNA damage, apoptotic bodies formation, and phosphatidylserine. Anastasis can facilitate the survival of damaged or tumor cells, promote malignancy, and increase drug resistance and metastasis. Here, we noted recently known mechanisms of the anastasis process and underlying molecular mechanisms. Additionally, we summarize the consequences of anastatic mechanisms in the initiation and progress of malignancy, cancer cell metastasis, and drug resistance. Video Abstract.
    Keywords:  Anastasis; Apoptosis; Chemotherapy; Drug resistance
  10. Cells. 2022 Jun 01. pii: 1816. [Epub ahead of print]11(11):
      Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are commonly known for their immune-suppressive abilities. However, our group provided evidence that it is possible to convert MSCs into potent antigen presenting cells (APCs) using either genetic engineering or pharmacological means. Given the capacity of UM171a to trigger APC-like function in MSCs, and the recent finding that this drug may modulate the epigenome by inhibiting the lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), we explored whether the direct pharmacological inhibition of LSD1 could instill APC-like functions in MSCs akin to UM171a. The treatment of MSCs with the LSD1 inhibitor tranylcypromine (TC) elicits a double-stranded (ds)RNA stress response along with its associated responsive elements, including pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), Type-I interferon (IFN), and IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). The net outcome culminates in the enhanced expression of H2-Kb, and an increased stability of the cell surface peptide: MHCI complexes. As a result, TC-treated MSCs stimulate CD8 T-cell activation efficiently, and elicit potent anti-tumoral responses against the EG.7 T-cell lymphoma in the context of prophylactic vaccination. Altogether, our findings reveal a new pharmacological protocol whereby targeting LSD1 in MSCs elicits APC-like capabilities that could be easily exploited in the design of future MSC-based anti-cancer vaccines.
    Keywords:  LSD1; MHCI peptides; T-cell lymphoma; UM171a; anti-tumoral response; antigen presentation; cellular vaccine; dsRNA; mesenchymal stromal cells; tranylcypromine
  11. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Jun 09. 8(1): 282
      For past two decades, p53 has been claimed as the primary sensor initiating apoptosis. Under severe cellular stress, p53 transcriptional activity activates BH3-only proteins such as Bim, Puma, or Noxa to nullify the inhibitory effects of anti-apoptotic proteins on pro-apoptotic proteins for mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization. Cellular stress determines the expression level of p53, and the amount of p53 corresponds to the magnitude of apoptosis. However, our studies indicated that Bim and Puma are not the target genes of p53 in three cancer models, prostate cancer, glioblastoma, and osteosarcoma. Bim counteracted with Bcl-xl to activate apoptosis independently of p53 in response to doxorubicin-induced severe DNA damage in prostate cancer. Moreover, the transcriptional activity of p53 was more related to cell cycle arrest other than apoptosis for responding to DNA damage stress generated by doxorubicin in prostate cancer and glioblastoma. A proteasome inhibitor that causes protein turnover dysfunction, bortezomib, produced apoptosis in a p53-independent manner in glioblastoma and osteosarcoma. p53 in terms of both protein level and nuclear localization in combining doxorubicin with bortezomib treatment was obviously lower than when using DOX alone, inversely correlated with the magnitude of apoptosis in glioblastoma. Using a BH3-mimetic, ABT-263, to treat doxorubicin-sensitive p53-wild type and doxorubicin-resistant p53-null osteosarcoma cells demonstrated only limited apoptotic response. The combination of doxorubicin or bortezomib with ABT-263 generated a synergistic outcome of apoptosis in both p53-wild type and p53-null osteosarcoma cells. Together, this suggested that p53 might have no role in doxorubicin-induced apoptosis in prostate cancer, glioblastoma and osteosarcoma. The effects of ABT-263 in single and combination treatment of osteosarcoma or prostate cancer indicated a dual control to regulate apoptosis in response to severe cellular stress. Whether our findings only apply in these three types of cancers or extend to other cancer types remains to be explored.