bims-mikwok Biomed News
on Mitochondrial quality control
Issue of 2022‒02‒20
seven papers selected by
Avinash N. Mukkala, University of Toronto

  1. Bioessays. 2022 Feb 15. e2100271
      There is a debate regarding the function of Drp1, a GTPase involved in mitochondrial fission, during the elimination of mitochondria by autophagy. A number of experiments indicate that Drp1 is needed to eliminate mitochondria during mitophagy, either by reducing the mitochondrial size or by providing a noncanonical mitophagy function. Yet, other convincing experimental results support the conclusion that Drp1 is not necessary. Here, we review the possible functions for Drp1 in mitophagy and autophagy, depending on tissues, organisms and stresses, and discuss these apparent discrepancies. In this regard, it appears that the reduction of mitochondria size is often required for mitophagy but not always in a Drp1-dependent manner. Finally, we speculate on Drp1-independent mitochondrial fission mechanism that may take place during mitophagy and on noncanonical roles, which Drp1 may play such as modulating organelle contact sites dynamic during the autophagosome formation.
    Keywords:  Dnm1; Drp1; MERCs; autophagosome; fission; mitochondria; mitophagy
  2. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2022 Feb 12. pii: S1084-9521(22)00050-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      The continuous dynamic reshaping of mitochondria by fusion and fission events is critical to keep mitochondrial quality and function under control in response to changes in energy and stress. Maintaining a functional, highly interconnected mitochondrial reticulum ensures rapid energy production and distribution. Moreover, mitochondrial networks act as dynamic signaling hub to adapt to the metabolic demands imposed by contraction, energy expenditure, and general metabolism. However, excessive mitochondrial fusion or fission results in the disruption of the skeletal muscle mitochondrial network integrity and activates a retrograde response from mitochondria to the nucleus, leading to muscle atrophy, weakness and influencing whole-body homeostasis. These actions are mediated via the secretion of mitochondrial-stress myokines such as FGF21 and GDF15. Here we will summarize recent discoveries in the role of mitochondrial fusion and fission in the control of muscle mass and in regulating physiological homeostasis and disease progression.
    Keywords:  Atrophy; DRP1; FGF21; Fission; Fusion; GDF15; Mitochondria; Myokines; OPA1; Skeletal muscle
  3. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Feb;24(2): 181-193
      The accumulation of deleterious mitochondrial DNA (∆mtDNA) causes inherited mitochondrial diseases and ageing-associated decline in mitochondrial functions such as oxidative phosphorylation. Following mitochondrial perturbations, the bZIP protein ATFS-1 induces a transcriptional programme to restore mitochondrial function. Paradoxically, ATFS-1 is also required to maintain ∆mtDNAs in heteroplasmic worms. The mechanism by which ATFS-1 promotes ∆mtDNA accumulation relative to wild-type mtDNAs is unclear. Here we show that ATFS-1 accumulates in dysfunctional mitochondria. ATFS-1 is absent in healthy mitochondria owing to degradation by the mtDNA-bound protease LONP-1, which results in the nearly exclusive association between ATFS-1 and ∆mtDNAs in heteroplasmic worms. Moreover, we demonstrate that mitochondrial ATFS-1 promotes the binding of the mtDNA replicative polymerase (POLG) to ∆mtDNAs. Interestingly, inhibition of the mtDNA-bound protease LONP-1 increased ATFS-1 and POLG binding to wild-type mtDNAs. LONP-1 inhibition in Caenorhabditis elegans and human cybrid cells improved the heteroplasmy ratio and restored oxidative phosphorylation. Our findings suggest that ATFS-1 promotes mtDNA replication in dysfunctional mitochondria by promoting POLG-mtDNA binding, which is antagonized by LONP-1.
  4. Cells. 2022 Feb 02. pii: 514. [Epub ahead of print]11(3):
      Mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contact sites (MERCS) have been emerging as a multifaceted subcellular region of the cell which affects several physiological and pathological mechanisms. A thus far underexplored aspect of MERCS is their contribution to exocytosis. Here, we set out to understand the role of these contacts in exocytosis and find potential mechanisms linking these structures to vesicle release in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. We show that increased mitochondria to ER juxtaposition through Mitofusin 2 (Mfn2) knock-down resulted in a substantial upregulation of the number of MERCS, confirming the role of Mfn2 as a negative regulator of these structures. Furthermore, we report that both vesicle numbers and vesicle protein levels were decreased, while a considerable upregulation in exocytotic events upon cellular depolarization was detected. Interestingly, in Mfn2 knock-down cells, the inhibition of the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IP3R) and the mitochondrial calcium (Ca2+) uniporter (MCU) restored vesicle protein content and attenuated exocytosis. We thus suggest that MERCS could be targeted to prevent increased exocytosis in conditions in which ER to mitochondria proximity is upregulated.
    Keywords:  MAM; MCU; MERCS; exocytosis; inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor; mitochondria
  5. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Feb 17. 8(1): 69
      Cellular organelles play fundamental roles in almost all cell behaviors. Mitochondria have been reported to be functionally linked to various biological processes, including reprogramming and pluripotency maintenance. However, very little about the role of mitochondria has been revealed in human early development and lineage specification. Here, we reported the characteristics and function of mitochondria during human definitive endoderm differentiation. Using a well-established differentiation system, we first investigated the change of mitochondrial morphology by comparing undifferentiated pluripotent stem cells, the intermediate mesendoderm cells, and differentiated endoderm cells, and found that mitochondria were gradually elongated and matured along differentiation. We further analyzed the expression pattern of mitochondria-related genes by RNA-seq, indicating that mitochondria became active during differentiation. Supporting this notion, the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) was increased as well. Functionally, we utilized chemicals and genome editing techniques, which could interfere with mitochondrial homeostasis, to determine the role of mitochondria in human endoderm differentiation. Treatment with mitochondrial inhibitors, or genetic depletion of mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), significantly reduced the differentiation efficiency of definitive endoderm. In addition, the defect in endoderm differentiation due to dysfunctional mitochondria could be restored to some extent by the addition of ATP. Moreover, the clearance of excessive ROS due to dysfunctional mitochondria by N-acetylcysteine (NAC) improved the differentiation as well. We further found that ATP and NAC could partially replace the growth factor activin A for definitive endoderm differentiation. Our study illustrates the essential role of mitochondria during human endoderm differentiation through providing ATP and regulating ROS levels, which may provide new insight for metabolic regulation of cell fate determination.
  6. Redox Biol. 2022 Feb 12. pii: S2213-2317(22)00036-2. [Epub ahead of print]51 102264
      Unraveling the role of VDAC3 within living cells is challenging and still requires a definitive answer. Unlike VDAC1 and VDAC2, the outer mitochondrial membrane porin 3 exhibits unique biophysical features that suggest unknown cellular functions. Electrophysiological studies on VDAC3 carrying selective cysteine mutations and mass spectrometry data about the redox state of such sulfur containing amino acids are consistent with a putative involvement of isoform 3 in mitochondrial ROS homeostasis. Here, we thoroughly examined this issue and provided for the first time direct evidence of the role of VDAC3 in cellular response to oxidative stress. Depletion of isoform 3 but not isoform 1 significantly exacerbated the cytotoxicity of redox cyclers such as menadione and paraquat, and respiratory complex I inhibitors like rotenone, promoting uncontrolled accumulation of mitochondrial free radicals. High-resolution respirometry of transiently transfected HAP1-ΔVDAC3 cells expressing the wild type or the cysteine-null mutant VDAC3 protein, unequivocally confirmed that VDAC3 cysteines are indispensable for protein ability to counteract ROS-induced oxidative stress.
    Keywords:  Complex I; Cysteine; High-resolution respirometry; Mitochondria; ROS; VDAC3
  7. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Feb;24(2): 168-180
      Metastatic breast cancer cells disseminate to organs with a soft microenvironment. Whether and how the mechanical properties of the local tissue influence their response to treatment remains unclear. Here we found that a soft extracellular matrix empowers redox homeostasis. Cells cultured on a soft extracellular matrix display increased peri-mitochondrial F-actin, promoted by Spire1C and Arp2/3 nucleation factors, and increased DRP1- and MIEF1/2-dependent mitochondrial fission. Changes in mitochondrial dynamics lead to increased production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and activate the NRF2 antioxidant transcriptional response, including increased cystine uptake and glutathione metabolism. This retrograde response endows cells with resistance to oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species-dependent chemotherapy drugs. This is relevant in a mouse model of metastatic breast cancer cells dormant in the lung soft tissue, where inhibition of DRP1 and NRF2 restored cisplatin sensitivity and prevented disseminated cancer-cell awakening. We propose that targeting this mitochondrial dynamics- and redox-based mechanotransduction pathway could open avenues to prevent metastatic relapse.