bims-mitdyn Biomed News
on Mitochondrial dynamics: mechanisms
Issue of 2023‒09‒24
ten papers selected by
Edmond Chan, Queen’s University, School of Medicine

  1. Science. 2023 Sep 22. 381(6664): 1316-1323
      Although tumor growth requires the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC), the relative contribution of complex I (CI) and complex II (CII), the gatekeepers for initiating electron flow, remains unclear. In this work, we report that the loss of CII, but not that of CI, reduces melanoma tumor growth by increasing antigen presentation and T cell-mediated killing. This is driven by succinate-mediated transcriptional and epigenetic activation of major histocompatibility complex-antigen processing and presentation (MHC-APP) genes independent of interferon signaling. Furthermore, knockout of methylation-controlled J protein (MCJ), to promote electron entry preferentially through CI, provides proof of concept of ETC rewiring to achieve antitumor responses without side effects associated with an overall reduction in mitochondrial respiration in noncancer cells. Our results may hold therapeutic potential for tumors that have reduced MHC-APP expression, a common mechanism of cancer immunoevasion.
  2. Sci Adv. 2023 Sep 22. 9(38): eadh8228
      Breakdown of mitochondrial proteostasis activates quality control pathways including the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) and PINK1/Parkin mitophagy. However, beyond the up-regulation of chaperones and proteases, we have a limited understanding of how the UPRmt remodels and restores damaged mitochondrial proteomes. Here, we have developed a functional proteomics framework, termed MitoPQ (Mitochondrial Proteostasis Quantification), to dissect the UPRmt's role in maintaining proteostasis during stress. We find essential roles for the UPRmt in both protecting and repairing proteostasis, with oxidative phosphorylation metabolism being a central target of the UPRmt. Transcriptome analyses together with MitoPQ reveal that UPRmt transcription factors drive independent signaling arms that act in concert to maintain proteostasis. Unidirectional interplay between the UPRmt and PINK1/Parkin mitophagy was found to promote oxidative phosphorylation recovery when the UPRmt failed. Collectively, this study defines the network of proteostasis mediated by the UPRmt and highlights the value of functional proteomics in decoding stressed proteomes.
  3. Sci Immunol. 2023 Sep 29. 8(87): eabq2424
      Metabolic fitness of T cells is essential for their vitality, which is largely dependent on the behavior of the mitochondria. The nature of mitochondrial behavior in tumor-infiltrating T cells remains poorly understood. In this study, we show that mitofusin-2 (MFN2) expression is positively correlated with the prognosis of multiple cancers. Genetic ablation of Mfn2 in CD8+ T cells dampens mitochondrial metabolism and function and promotes tumor progression. In tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells, MFN2 enhances mitochondria-endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contact by interacting with ER-embedded Ca2+-ATPase SERCA2, facilitating the mitochondrial Ca2+ influx required for efficient mitochondrial metabolism. MFN2 stimulates the ER Ca2+ retrieval activity of SERCA2, thereby preventing excessive mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation and apoptosis. Elevating mitochondria-ER contact by increasing MFN2 in CD8+ T cells improves the efficacy of cancer immunotherapy. Thus, we reveal a tethering-and-buffering mechanism of organelle cross-talk that regulates the metabolic fitness of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells and highlights the therapeutic potential of enhancing MFN2 expression to optimize T cell function.
  4. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Sep 26. 120(39): e2304884120
      How does a single amino acid mutation occurring in the blinding disease, Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), impair electron shuttling in mitochondria? We investigated changes induced by the m.3460 G>A mutation in mitochondrial protein ND1 using the tools of Molecular Dynamics and Free Energy Perturbation simulations, with the goal of determining the mechanism by which this mutation affects mitochondrial function. A recent analysis suggested that the mutation's replacement of alanine A52 with a threonine perturbs the stability of a region where binding of the electron shuttling protein, Coenzyme Q10, occurs. We found two functionally opposing changes involving the role of Coenzyme Q10. The first showed that quantum electron transfer from the terminal Fe/S complex, N2, to the Coenzyme Q10 headgroup, docked in its binding pocket, is enhanced. However, this positive adjustment is overshadowed by our finding that the mobility of Coenzyme Q10 in its oxidized and reduced states, entering and exiting its binding pocket, is disrupted by the mutation in a manner that leads to conditions promoting the generation of reactive oxygen species. An increase in reactive oxygen species caused by the LHON mutation has been proposed to be responsible for this optic neuropathy.
    Keywords:  Coenzyme Q10; blinding genetic disease; mitochondria; molecular dynamics simulation; quantum electron tunneling
  5. Nat Genet. 2023 Sep 18.
      Uniparental inheritance of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is an evolutionary trait found in nearly all eukaryotes. In many species, including humans, the sperm mitochondria are introduced to the oocyte during fertilization1,2. The mechanisms hypothesized to prevent paternal mtDNA transmission include ubiquitination of the sperm mitochondria and mitophagy3,4. However, the causative mechanisms of paternal mtDNA elimination have not been defined5,6. We found that mitochondria in human spermatozoa are devoid of intact mtDNA and lack mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM)-the major nucleoid protein required to protect, maintain and transcribe mtDNA. During spermatogenesis, sperm cells express an isoform of TFAM, which retains the mitochondrial presequence, ordinarily removed upon mitochondrial import. Phosphorylation of this presequence prevents mitochondrial import and directs TFAM to the spermatozoon nucleus. TFAM relocalization from the mitochondria of spermatogonia to the spermatozoa nucleus directly correlates with the elimination of mtDNA, thereby explaining maternal inheritance in this species.
  6. Nat Commun. 2023 09 18. 14(1): 5781
      The use of exogenous mitochondria to replenish damaged mitochondria has been proposed as a strategy for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis. However, the success of this strategy is partially restricted by the difficulty of supplying sufficient mitochondria to diseased cells. Herein, we report the generation of high-powered mesenchymal stem cells with promoted mitochondrial biogenesis and facilitated mitochondrial transfer to injured lung cells by the sequential treatment of pioglitazone and iron oxide nanoparticles. This highly efficient mitochondrial transfer is shown to not only restore mitochondrial homeostasis but also reactivate inhibited mitophagy, consequently recovering impaired cellular functions. We perform studies in mouse to show that these high-powered mesenchymal stem cells successfully mitigate fibrotic progression in a progressive fibrosis model, which was further verified in a humanized multicellular lung spheroid model. The present findings provide a potential strategy to overcome the current limitations in mitochondrial replenishment therapy, thereby promoting therapeutic applications for fibrotic intervention.
  7. STAR Protoc. 2023 Sep 21. pii: S2666-1667(23)00557-9. [Epub ahead of print]4(4): 102590
      Yeast mitofissin Atg44 is a mitochondrial intermembrane space protein that causes membrane fission required for mitophagy. Here, we present a protocol for observing Atg44-mediated membrane fission. We describe steps for recombinant Atg44 purification, lipid nanotube preparation as model membranes, and Atg44-mediated membrane fission real-time observation. We then detail procedures for tube radius estimation using confocal microscopy. This protocol can also be adapted to the study of membrane fission by other proteins. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Fukuda et al. (2023).1.
    Keywords:  Biophysics; Microscopy; Protein Biochemistry
  8. iScience. 2023 Oct 20. 26(10): 107780
      Mitochondrial networks remodel their connectivity, content, and subcellular localization to support optimized energy production in conditions of increased environmental or cellular stress. Microglia rely on mitochondria to respond to these stressors, however our knowledge about mitochondrial networks and their adaptations in microglia in vivo is limited. Here, we generate a mouse model that selectively labels mitochondria in microglia. We identify that mitochondrial networks are more fragmented with increased content and perinuclear localization in vitro vs. in vivo. Mitochondrial networks adapt similarly in microglia closest to the injury site after optic nerve crush. Preventing microglial UCP2 increase after injury by selective knockout induces cellular stress. This results in mitochondrial hyperfusion in male microglia, a phenotype absent in females due to circulating estrogens. Our results establish the foundation for mitochondrial network analysis of microglia in vivo, emphasizing the importance of mitochondrial-based sex effects of microglia in other pathologies.
    Keywords:  Biological sciences; Natural sciences; Neuroscience; Physiology; Sensory neuroscience; Systems neuroscience
  9. PLoS Biol. 2023 Sep 18. 21(9): e3002310
      Decline of mitochondrial function is a hallmark of cellular aging. To counteract this process, some cells inherit mitochondria asymmetrically to rejuvenate daughter cells. The molecular mechanisms that control this process are poorly understood. Here, we made use of matrix-targeted D-amino acid oxidase (Su9-DAO) to selectively trigger oxidative damage in yeast mitochondria. We observed that dysfunctional mitochondria become fusion-incompetent and immotile. Lack of bud-directed movements is caused by defective recruitment of the myosin motor, Myo2. Intriguingly, intact mitochondria that are present in the same cell continue to move into the bud, establishing that quality control occurs directly at the level of the organelle in the mother. The selection of healthy organelles for inheritance no longer works in the absence of the mitochondrial Myo2 adapter protein Mmr1. Together, our data suggest a mechanism in which the combination of blocked fusion and loss of motor protein ensures that damaged mitochondria are retained in the mother cell to ensure rejuvenation of the bud.
  10. Science. 2023 Sep 22. 381(6664): 1287-1288
      Mitochondrial metabolite reduces melanoma growth by boosting antigen presentation.