bims-mitdyn Biomed News
on Mitochondrial dynamics: mechanisms
Issue of 2022‒07‒17
nine papers selected by
Edmond Chan
Queen’s University, School of Medicine

  1. Nat Metab. 2022 Jul 11.
      Mitochondria are vital organelles with distinct morphological features and functional properties. The dynamic network of mitochondria undergoes structural and functional adaptations in response to cell-type-specific metabolic demands. Even within the same cell, mitochondria can display wide diversity and separate into functionally distinct subpopulations. Mitochondrial heterogeneity supports unique subcellular functions and is crucial to polarized cells, such as neurons. The spatiotemporal metabolic burden within the complex shape of a neuron requires precisely localized mitochondria. By travelling great lengths throughout neurons and experiencing bouts of immobility, mitochondria meet distant local fuel demands. Understanding mitochondrial heterogeneity and homeostasis mechanisms in neurons provides a framework to probe their significance to many other cell types. Here, we put forth an outline of the multifaceted role of mitochondria in regulating neuronal physiology and cellular functions more broadly.
  2. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 11. 13(1): 4020
      Male reproductive system ageing is closely associated with deficiency in testosterone production due to loss of functional Leydig cells, which are differentiated from stem Leydig cells (SLCs). However, the relationship between SLC differentiation and ageing remains unknown. In addition, active lipid metabolism during SLC differentiation in the reproductive system requires transportation and processing of substrates among multiple organelles, e.g., mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER), highlighting the importance of interorganelle contact. Here, we show that SLC differentiation potential declines with disordered intracellular homeostasis during SLC senescence. Mechanistically, loss of the intermediate filament Nestin results in lower differentiation capacity by separating mitochondria-ER contacts (MERCs) during SLC senescence. Furthermore, pharmacological intervention by melatonin restores Nestin-dependent MERCs, reverses SLC differentiation capacity and alleviates male reproductive system ageing. These findings not only explain SLC senescence from a cytoskeleton-dependent MERCs regulation mechanism, but also suggest a promising therapy targeting SLC differentiation for age-related reproductive system diseases.
  3. Dev Cell. 2022 Jul 05. pii: S1534-5807(22)00448-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Reactive oxygen species (ROS) at the right concentration promote cell proliferation in cell culture, stem cells, and model organisms. However, the mystery of how ROS signaling is coordinated with cell cycle progression and integrated into the cell cycle control machinery on the molecular level remains unsolved. Here, we report increasing levels of mitochondrial ROS during the cell cycle in human cell lines that target cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2). Chemical and metabolic interferences with ROS production decrease T-loop phosphorylation on CDK2 and so impede its full activation and thus its efficient DNA replication. ROS regulate CDK2 activity through the oxidation of a conserved cysteine residue near the T-loop, which prevents the binding of the T-loop phosphatase KAP. Together, our data reveal how mitochondrial metabolism is coupled with DNA replication and cell cycle progression via ROS, thereby demonstrating how KAP activity toward CDKs can be cell cycle regulated.
    Keywords:  CDK2; DNA replication; KAP; T-loop phosphorylation; cell cycle; cyclin-dependent kinase; metabolism; mitochondria; proliferation; reactive oxygen species
  4. J Cell Sci. 2022 Jul 14. pii: jcs.259436. [Epub ahead of print]
      Nuclear encoded mitochondrial protein mRNAs have been found to be localized and locally translated within neuronal processes. However, the transport mechanism of those mRNAs to distal locations is not fully understood. Here, we describe axonal co-transport of Cox7c with mitochondria. Fractionation analysis and smFISH assay revealed that endogenous mRNA encoding Cox7c is preferentially associated with mitochondria from a neuronal cell line and within primary motor neuron axons, while other mRNAs, which do not encode mitochondrial protein are much less associated. Live cell imaging of MS2-tagged Cox7c mRNA further confirmed the preferential colocalization and co-transport of Cox7c mRNA with mitochondria in motor neuron axons. Intriguingly, the coding region, rather than the 3' UTR, was the key domain for the cotransport. Our results reveal that Cox7c mRNA can be transported with mitochondria along significant distances and its coding region is a major recognition feature. This is consistent with the idea that mitochondria can play a vital role in spatial regulation of the axonal transcriptome at distant neuronal sites.
    Keywords:  Axonal transport; Cox7c; Mitochondria; mRNA localization; mRNA transport
  5. Life Sci Alliance. 2022 Nov;pii: e202201531. [Epub ahead of print]5(11):
      Mitochondria-ER contact sites (MERCs) orchestrate many important cellular functions including regulating mitochondrial quality control through mitophagy and mediating mitochondrial calcium uptake. Here, we identify and functionally characterize the Drosophila ortholog of the recently identified mammalian MERC protein, Pdzd8. We find that reducing pdzd8-mediated MERCs in neurons slows age-associated decline in locomotor activity and increases lifespan in Drosophila. The protective effects of pdzd8 knockdown in neurons correlate with an increase in mitophagy, suggesting that increased mitochondrial turnover may support healthy aging of neurons. In contrast, increasing MERCs by expressing a constitutive, synthetic ER-mitochondria tether disrupts mitochondrial transport and synapse formation, accelerates age-related decline in locomotion, and reduces lifespan. Although depletion of pdzd8 prolongs the survival of flies fed with mitochondrial toxins, it is also sufficient to rescue locomotor defects of a fly model of Alzheimer's disease expressing Amyloid β42 (Aβ42). Together, our results provide the first in vivo evidence that MERCs mediated by the tethering protein pdzd8 play a critical role in the regulation of mitochondrial quality control and neuronal homeostasis.
  6. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 15. 1-2
      Parkinson disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain. The majority of early onset forms of Parkinson disease are a result of autosomal mutations in PRKN (parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase) and PINK1 (PTEN induced kinase 1), which together regulate the clearance of damaged mitochondria from cells through selective autophagy of mitochondria (mitophagy). In a pair of recent papers, we characterized a secondary mechanism of activation of PRKN by PINK1 that is responsible for approximately a quarter of mitophagy in a cellular model. Our deepening understanding of PRKN-PINK1 signaling affords hope for the development of small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of Parkinson disease.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Parkinson disease; kinase; mitochondria; neurodegenerative disease; protein phosphorylation; ubiquitin
  7. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2525 197-205
      The contacts between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria play a fundamental role in a wide variety of cellular processes, like the exchange of calcium and lipids between both organelles, as well as in apoptosis and in autophagy signaling. Despite their importance, due to their dynamic and heterogeneous nature, we still lack understanding of the molecular composition, structure, and regulation of these structures. In this chapter, we introduce a new bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET)-based biosensor for the quantitative analysis of mitochondria-ER interorganellar distances without perturbing their natural environment, which we call MERLIN (mitochondria ER length indicator nanosensor). Here, we describe the rationale behind the MERLIN biosensor, detail the experimental setup and methodology, and provide tips for troubleshooting.
    Keywords:  Bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET); Biosensor; Endoplasmic reticulum (ER); Mitochondria; Mitochondria ER contact sites (MERCs); Mitochondria ER length indicator nanosensor (MERLIN)
  8. Curr Opin Physiol. 2022 Apr;pii: 100532. [Epub ahead of print]26
      The brain is one of the most energetically demanding tissues in the human body, and mitochondrial pathology is strongly implicated in chronic neurodegenerative diseases. In contrast to acute brain injuries in which bioenergetics and cell death play dominant roles, studies modeling familial neurodegeneration implicate a more complex and nuanced relationship involving the entire mitochondrial life cycle. Recent literature on mitochondrial mechanisms in Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is reviewed with an emphasis on mitochondrial quality control, transport and synaptodendritic calcium homeostasis. Potential neuroprotective interventions include targeting the mitochondrial kinase PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1), which plays a role in regulating not only multiple facets of mitochondrial biology, but also neuronal morphogenesis and dendritic arborization.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer disease; PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1); Parkinson disease; drug discovery; mitochondrial calcium; mitochondrial proteases; mitophagy; synaptic degeneration
  9. Mitochondrion. 2022 Jul 08. pii: S1567-7249(22)00056-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial dysfunction is a major hallmark of aging. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations (inherited or acquired) may cause a malfunction of the respiratory chain (RC), and thus negatively affect cell metabolism and function. In contrast, certain mtDNA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) may be beneficial to mitochondrial electron transport chain function and the extension of cellular health as well as lifespan. The goal of the MitoAging project is to detect key physiological characteristics and mechanisms that improve mitochondrial function and use them to develop therapies to increase longevity and a healthy lifespan. We chose to perform a systematic literature review (SLR) as a tool to collect key mtDNA SNPs associated with an increase in lifespan. Then validated our results by comparing them to the MitoMap database. Next, we assessed the effect of relevant SNPs on protein stability. A total of 28 SNPs were found in protein coding regions. These SNPs were reported in Japan, China, Turkey, and India. Among the studied SNPs, the C5178A mutation in the ND2 gene of Complex I of the RC was detected in all the reviewed reports except in Uygur Chinese centenarians. Then, we found that G9055A (ATP6 gene) and A10398G (ND3 gene) polymorphisms have been associated with a protective effect against Parkinson's disease (PD). Additionally, C8414T in ATP8 was significantly associated with longevity in three Japanese reports. Interestingly, using MitoMap we found that G9055A (ATP6 gene) was the only SNP promoting longevity not associated with any pathology. The identification of SNPs associated with an increase in lifespan opens the possibility to better understand individual differences regarding a decrease in illness susceptibility and find strategies that contribute to healthy aging.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; SNP; aging; longevity; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial protein