bims-nenemi Biomed News
on Neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and mitochondria
Issue of 2022‒06‒19
seven papers selected by
Marco Tigano
Thomas Jefferson University

  1. J Clin Invest. 2022 Jun 14. pii: e157504. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial stress triggers a response in the cell's mitochondria and nucleus, but how these stress responses are coordinated in vivo is poorly understood. Here, we characterize a family with myopathy caused by a dominant p.G58R mutation in the mitochondrial protein CHCHD10. To understand the disease etiology, we developed a knock-in mouse model and found that mutant CHCHD10 aggregates in affected tissues, applying a toxic protein stress to the inner mitochondrial membrane. Unexpectedly, survival of CHCHD10 knock-in mice depended on a protective stress response mediated by OMA1. The OMA1 stress response acted both locally within mitochondria, causing mitochondrial fragmentation, and signaled outside the mitochondria, activating the integrated stress response through cleavage of DELE1. We additionally identified an isoform switch in the terminal complex of the electron transport chain as a component of this response. Our results demonstrate that OMA1 is critical for neonatal survival conditionally in the setting of inner mitochondrial membrane stress, coordinating local and global stress responses to reshape the mitochondrial network and proteome.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Cell stress; Genetics; Mitochondria; Proteases
  2. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2022 Jun 17. 13(1): 260
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, a deeper understanding is required to determine the contribution of mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy) to RPE damage and AMD pathobiology. In this study, we model the impact of a prototypical systemic mitochondrial defect, mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), in RPE health and homeostasis as an in vitro model for impaired mitochondrial bioenergetics.METHODS: We used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from skin biopsies of MELAS patients (m.3243A > G tRNA leu mutation) with different levels of mtDNA heteroplasmy and differentiated them into RPE cells. Mitochondrial depletion of ARPE-19 cells (p0 cells) was also performed using 50 ng/mL ethidium bromide (EtBr) and 50 mg/ml uridine. Cell fusion of the human platelets with the p0 cells performed using polyethylene glycol (PEG)/suspension essential medium (SMEM) mixture to generate platelet/RPE "cybrids." Confocal microscopy, FLowSight Imaging cytometry, and Seahorse XF Mito Stress test were used to analyze mitochondrial function. Western Blotting was used to analyze expression of autophagy and mitophagy proteins.
    RESULTS: We found that MELAS iPSC-derived RPE cells exhibited key characteristics of native RPE. We observed heteroplasmy-dependent impairment of mitochondrial bioenergetics and reliance on glycolysis for generating energy in the MELAS iPSC-derived RPE. The degree of heteroplasmy was directly associated with increased activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), reduced adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα) activation, and decreased autophagic activity. In addition, impaired autophagy was associated with aberrant lysosomal function, and failure of mitochondrial recycling. The mitochondria-depleted p0 cells replicated the effects on autophagy impairment and aberrant STAT3/AMPKα signaling and showed reduced mitochondrial respiration, demonstrating phenotypic similarities between p0 and MELAS iPSC-derived RPE cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our studies demonstrate that the MELAS iPSC-derived disease models are powerful tools for dissecting the molecular mechanisms by which mitochondrial DNA alterations influence RPE function in aging and macular degeneration, and for testing novel therapeutics in patients harboring the MELAS genotype.
    Keywords:  AMPKα; Age-related macular degeneration; Autophagy flux; MELAS; Mitochondrial heteroplasmy; Mitophagy; PGC-1α; Prom1/CD133; Regenerative medicine; iPSC-derived retinal pigment epithelium
  3. Front Genet. 2022 ;13 906667
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance disorders embrace a broad range of clinical syndromes distinguished by the evidence of mtDNA depletion and/or deletions in affected tissues. Among the nuclear genes associated with mtDNA maintenance disorders, RNASEH1 mutations produce a homogeneous phenotype, with progressive external ophthalmoplegia (PEO), ptosis, limb weakness, cerebellar ataxia, and dysphagia. The encoded enzyme, ribonuclease H1, is involved in mtDNA replication, whose impairment leads to an increase in replication intermediates resulting from mtDNA replication slowdown. Here, we describe two unrelated Italian probands (Patient 1 and Patient 2) affected by chronic PEO, ptosis, and muscle weakness. Cerebellar features and severe dysphagia requiring enteral feeding were observed in one patient. In both cases, muscle biopsy revealed diffuse mitochondrial abnormalities and multiple mtDNA deletions. A targeted next-generation sequencing analysis revealed the homozygous RNASEH1 mutations c.129-3C>G and c.424G>A in patients 1 and 2, respectively. The c.129-3C>G substitution has never been described as disease-related and resulted in the loss of exon 2 in Patient 1 muscle RNASEH1 transcript. Overall, we recommend implementing the use of high-throughput sequencing approaches in the clinical setting to reach genetic diagnosis in case of suspected presentations with impaired mtDNA homeostasis.
    Keywords:  CPEO; RNASEH1; mitochondrial DNA; mtDNA maintenance disorders; myopathy; ribonuclease H1
  4. iScience. 2022 Jun 17. 25(6): 104404
      Neuroinflammation exacerbates the progression of SOD1-driven amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), although the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. Herein, we demonstrate that misfolded SOD1 (SOD1Mut)-causing ALS results in mitochondrial damage, thus triggering the release of mtDNA and an RNA:DNA hybrid into the cytosol in an mPTP-independent manner to activate IRF3- and IFNAR-dependent type I interferon (IFN-I) and interferon-stimulating genes. The neuronal hyper-IFN-I and pro-inflammatory responses triggered in ALS-SOD1Mut were sufficiently robust to cause a strong physiological outcome in vitro and in vivo. cGAS/DDX41-STING-signaling is amplified in bystander cells through inter-neuronal gap junctions. Our results highlight the importance of a common DNA-sensing pathway between SOD1 and TDP-43 in influencing the progression of ALS.
    Keywords:  Immunology; Neuroscience; Pathophysiology
  5. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jun 21. 119(25): e2202327119
      Pediatric patients with constitutively active mutations in the cytosolic double-stranded-DNA-sensing adaptor STING develop an autoinflammatory syndrome known as STING-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy (SAVI). SAVI patients have elevated interferon-stimulated gene expression and suffer from interstitial lung disease (ILD) with lymphocyte predominate bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT). Mice harboring SAVI mutations (STING V154M [VM]) that recapitulate human disease also develop lymphocyte-rich BALT. Ablation of either T or B lymphocytes prolongs the survival of SAVI mice, but lung immune aggregates persist, indicating that T cells and B cells can independently be recruited as BALT. VM T cells produced IFNγ, and IFNγR deficiency prolonged the survival of SAVI mice; however, T-cell-dependent recruitment of infiltrating myeloid cells to the lung was IFNγ independent. Lethally irradiated VM recipients fully reconstituted with wild type bone-marrow-derived cells still developed ILD, pointing to a critical role for VM-expressing radioresistant parenchymal and/or stromal cells in the recruitment and activation of pathogenic lymphocytes. We identified lung endothelial cells as radioresistant cells that express STING. Transcriptional analysis of VM endothelial cells revealed up-regulation of chemokines, proinflammatory cytokines, and genes associated with antigen presentation. Together, our data show that VM-expressing radioresistant cells play a key role in the initiation of lung disease in VM mice and provide insights for the treatment of SAVI patients, with implications for ILD associated with other connective tissue disorders.
    Keywords:  SAVI; STING; endothelial cells; interferon gamma; interstitial lung disease
  6. Mol Cell. 2022 Jun 09. pii: S1097-2765(22)00491-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Iron is the most abundant transition metal essential for numerous cellular processes. Although most mammalian cells acquire iron through transferrin receptors, molecular players of iron utilization under iron restriction are incompletely understood. To address this, we performed metabolism-focused CRISPRa gain-of-function screens, which revealed metabolic limitations under stress conditions. Iron restriction screens identified not only expected members of iron utilization pathways but also SLCO2B1, a poorly characterized membrane carrier. SLCO2B1 expression is sufficient to increase intracellular iron, bypass the essentiality of the transferrin receptor, and enable proliferation under iron restriction. Mechanistically, SLCO2B1 mediates heme analog import in cellular assays. Heme uptake by SLCO2B1 provides sufficient iron for proliferation through heme oxygenases. Notably, SLCO2B1 is predominantly expressed in microglia in the brain, and primary Slco2b1-/- mouse microglia exhibit strong defects in heme analog import. Altogether, our work identifies SLCO2B1 as a microglia-enriched plasma membrane heme importer and provides a genetic platform to identify metabolic limitations under stress conditions.
    Keywords:  CRISPRa; SLCO2B1; heme; iron; metabolic limitation
  7. Brain Pathol. 2022 Jun 15. e13084
      Patients suffering from immune-mediated necrotizing myopathies (IMNM) harbor, the pathognomonic myositis-specific auto-antibodies anti-SRP54 or -HMGCR, while about one third of them do not. Activation of chaperone-assisted autophagy was described as being part of the molecular etiology of IMNM. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR)-stress accompanied by activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) often precedes activation of the protein clearance machinery and represents a cellular defense mechanism toward restoration of proteostasis. Here, we show that ER/SR-stress may be part of the molecular etiology of IMNM. To address this assumption, ER/SR-stress related key players covering the three known branches (PERK-mediated, IRE1-mediated, and ATF6-mediated) were investigated on both, the transcript and the protein levels utilizing 39 muscle biopsy specimens derived from IMNM-patients. Our results demonstrate an activation of all three UPR-branches in IMNM, which most likely precedes the activation of the protein clearance machinery. In detail, we identified increased phosphorylation of PERK and eIF2a along with increased expression and protein abundance of ATF4, all well-documented characteristics for the activation of the UPR. Further, we identified increased general XBP1-level, and elevated XBP1 protein levels. Additionally, our transcript studies revealed an increased ATF6-expression, which was confirmed by immunostaining studies indicating a myonuclear translocation of the cleaved ATF6-form toward the forced transcription of UPR-related chaperones. In accordance with that, our data demonstrate an increase of downstream factors including ER/SR co-chaperones and chaperones (e.g., SIL1) indicating an UPR-activation on a broader level with no significant differences between seropositive and seronegative patients. Taken together, one might assume that UPR-activation within muscle fibers might not only serve to restore protein homeostasis, but also enhance sarcolemmal presentation of proteins crucial for attracting immune cells. Since modulation of ER-stress and UPR via application of chemical chaperones became a promising therapeutic treatment approach, our findings might represent the starting point for new interventional concepts.
    Keywords:  ER-stress; HMGCR; IMNM; SRP; UPR; auto-antibodies