bims-mitmed Biomed News
on Mitochondrial medicine
Issue of 2021‒11‒14
thirty-one papers selected by
Dario Brunetti
Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico

  1. Cell Rep. 2021 Nov 09. pii: S2211-1247(21)01468-6. [Epub ahead of print]37(6): 109989
      Mutations in mitochondrial genes impairing energy production cause mitochondrial diseases (MDs), and clinical studies have shown that MD patients are prone to bacterial infections. However, the relationship between mitochondrial (dys)function and infection remains largely unexplored, especially in epithelial cells, the first barrier to many pathogens. Here, we generate an epithelial cell model for one of the most common mitochondrial diseases, Leigh syndrome, by deleting surfeit locus protein 1 (SURF1), an assembly factor for respiratory chain complex IV. We use this genetic model and a complementary, nutrient-based approach to modulate mitochondrial respiration rates and show that impaired mitochondrial respiration favors entry of the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, a well-established bacterial infection model. Reversely, enhanced mitochondrial energy metabolism decreases infection efficiency. We further demonstrate that endocytic recycling is reduced in mitochondrial respiration-dependent cells, dampening L. monocytogenes infection by slowing the recycling of its host cell receptor c-Met, highlighting a previously undescribed role of mitochondrial respiration during infection.
    Keywords:  (13)C isotopologue profiling; Listeria monocytogenes; Rab11; endocytic recycling; infection; metabolism; mitochondria; mitochondrial disease; respiration
  2. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 20. pii: 11338. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      Mitochondria are the energy center of the cell. They are found in the cell cytoplasm as dynamic networks where they adapt energy production based on the cell's needs. They are also at the center of the proinflammatory response and have essential roles in the response against pathogenic infections. Mitochondria are a major site for production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS; or free radicals), which are essential to fight infection. However, excessive and uncontrolled production can become deleterious to the cell, leading to mitochondrial and tissue damage. Pathogens exploit the role of mitochondria during infection by affecting the oxidative phosphorylation mechanism (OXPHOS), mitochondrial network and disrupting the communication between the nucleus and the mitochondria. The role of mitochondria in these biological processes makes these organelle good targets for the development of therapeutic strategies. In this review, we presented a summary of the endosymbiotic origin of mitochondria and their involvement in the pathogen response, as well as the potential promising mitochondrial targets for the fight against infectious diseases and chronic inflammatory diseases.
    Keywords:  infection; infection disease; inflammation; inflammatory disease; mitochondria; mitochondria dysfunction; mitochondrial bioenergetics
  3. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2383 429-446
      Mitochondria represent an important drug target for many phatology, including neurodegeneration, metabolic disease, heart failure, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and cancer. Mitochondrial dysfunctions are caused by mutation in mitochondrial DNA or in nuclear genes encoding mitochondrial proteins. Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) have been employed to overcome biological barriers, target this organelle, and therapeuticaly restore mitochondrial functions. Here, we describe recent methods used to deliver oligonucleotides targeting mitochondrial protein by using mitochondrial penetrating peptides. In particular, we highlight recent advances of formulated peptides/oligonucleotides nanocomplexes as a proof-of-principle for pharmaceutical form of peptide-based therapeutics.
    Keywords:  Intracellular delivery; Mitochondria; Nanocarriers; Nanoparticles; mitFects
  4. PLoS Comput Biol. 2021 Nov 11. 17(11): e1009594
    Regeneron Genetics Center
      The growing number of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data presents a unique opportunity to study the combined impact of mitochondrial and nuclear-encoded genetic variation in complex disease. Mitochondrial DNA variants and in particular, heteroplasmic variants, are critical for determining human disease severity. While there are approaches for obtaining mitochondrial DNA variants from NGS data, these software do not account for the unique characteristics of mitochondrial genetics and can be inaccurate even for homoplasmic variants. We introduce MitoScape, a novel, big-data, software for extracting mitochondrial DNA sequences from NGS. MitoScape adopts a novel departure from other algorithms by using machine learning to model the unique characteristics of mitochondrial genetics. We also employ a novel approach of using rho-zero (mitochondrial DNA-depleted) data to model nuclear-encoded mitochondrial sequences. We showed that MitoScape produces accurate heteroplasmy estimates using gold-standard mitochondrial DNA data. We provide a comprehensive comparison of the most common tools for obtaining mtDNA variants from NGS and showed that MitoScape had superior performance to compared tools in every statistically category we compared, including false positives and false negatives. By applying MitoScape to common disease examples, we illustrate how MitoScape facilitates important heteroplasmy-disease association discoveries by expanding upon a reported association between hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and mitochondrial haplogroup T in men (adjusted p-value = 0.003). The improved accuracy of mitochondrial DNA variants produced by MitoScape will be instrumental in diagnosing disease in the context of personalized medicine and clinical diagnostics.
  5. PLoS Genet. 2021 Nov 08. 17(11): e1009873
      Transcription of the human mitochondrial genome and correct processing of the two long polycistronic transcripts are crucial for oxidative phosphorylation. According to the tRNA punctuation model, nucleolytic processing of these large precursor transcripts occurs mainly through the excision of the tRNAs that flank most rRNAs and mRNAs. However, some mRNAs are not punctuated by tRNAs, and it remains largely unknown how these non-canonical junctions are resolved. The FASTK family proteins are emerging as key players in non-canonical RNA processing. Here, we have generated human cell lines carrying single or combined knockouts of several FASTK family members to investigate their roles in non-canonical RNA processing. The most striking phenotypes were obtained with loss of FASTKD4 and FASTKD5 and with their combined double knockout. Comprehensive mitochondrial transcriptome analyses of these cell lines revealed a defect in processing at several canonical and non-canonical RNA junctions, accompanied by an increase in specific antisense transcripts. Loss of FASTKD5 led to the most severe phenotype with marked defects in mitochondrial translation of key components of the electron transport chain complexes and in oxidative phosphorylation. We reveal that the FASTK protein family members are crucial regulators of non-canonical junction and non-coding mitochondrial RNA processing.
  6. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2021 Oct 28. pii: S0925-4439(21)00231-3. [Epub ahead of print]1868(1): 166298
      In the diagnostic work-up of a newborn infant with a metabolic crisis, lethal multiorgan failure on day six of life, and increased excretion of 3-methylglutaconic acid, we found using whole genome sequencing a homozygous SERAC1 mutation indicating MEGDHEL syndrome (3-methylglutaconic aciduria with deafness-dystonia, hepatopathy, encephalopathy, and Leigh-like syndrome). The SERAC1 protein is located at the contact site between mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and is crucial for cholesterol trafficking. Our aim was to investigate the effect of the homozygous truncating mutation on mitochondrial structure and function. In the patient fibroblasts, no SERAC1 protein was detected, the mitochondrial network was severely fragmented, and the cristae morphology was altered. Filipin staining showed uneven localization of unesterified cholesterol. The calcium buffer function between cytoplasm and mitochondria was deficient. In liver mitochondria, complexes I, III, and IV were clearly decreased. In transfected COS-1 cells the mutant protein with the a 45-amino acid C-terminal truncation was distributed throughout the cell, whereas wild-type SERAC1 partially colocalized with the mitochondrial marker MT-CO1. The structural and functional mitochondrial abnormalities, caused by the loss of SERAC1, suggest that the crucial disease mechanism is disrupted interplay between the ER and mitochondria leading to decreased influx of calcium to mitochondria and secondary respiratory chain deficiency.
    Keywords:  Cholesterol trafficking; Endoplasmic reticulum; Mitochondrial disease; Newborn infant; Respiratory chain
  7. Molecules. 2021 Oct 26. pii: 6463. [Epub ahead of print]26(21):
      The permeability transition (PT) is an increased permeation of the inner mitochondrial membrane due to the opening of the PT pore (PTP), a Ca2+-activated high conductance channel involved in Ca2+ homeostasis and cell death. Alterations of the PTP have been associated with many pathological conditions and its targeting represents an incessant challenge in the field. Although the modulation of the PTP has been extensively explored, the lack of a clear picture of its molecular nature increases the degree of complexity for any target-based approach. Recent advances suggest the existence of at least two mitochondrial permeability pathways mediated by the F-ATP synthase and the ANT, although the exact molecular mechanism leading to channel formation remains elusive for both. A full comprehension of this to-pore conversion will help to assist in drug design and to develop pharmacological treatments for a fine-tuned PT regulation. Here, we will focus on regulatory mechanisms that impinge on the PTP and discuss the relevant literature of PTP targeting compounds with particular attention to F-ATP synthase and ANT.
    Keywords:  F-ATP synthase; adenine nucleotide translocator; calcium; cyclophilin D; mitochondrial channels; permeability transition
  8. Biochem Soc Trans. 2021 Nov 08. pii: BST20210460. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are one of the most exhaustively investigated organelles in the cell and most attention has been paid to the components of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) in the last 100 years. The ETC collects electrons from NADH or FADH2 and transfers them through a series of electron carriers within multiprotein respiratory complexes (complex I to IV) to oxygen, therefore generating an electrochemical gradient that can be used by the F1-F0-ATP synthase (also named complex V) in the mitochondrial inner membrane to synthesize ATP. The organization and function of the ETC is a continuous source of surprises. One of the latest is the discovery that the respiratory complexes can assemble to form a variety of larger structures called super-complexes (SCs). This opened an unexpected level of complexity in this well-known and fundamental biological process. This review will focus on the current evidence for the formation of different SCs and will explore how they modulate the ETC organization according to the metabolic state. Since the field is rapidly growing, we also comment on the experimental techniques used to describe these SC and hope that this overview may inspire new technologies that will help to advance the field.
    Keywords:  N-respirasome; OXPHOS; Q-respirsome; electon transport chain; supercomplexes
  9. Aging (Albany NY). 2021 Nov 09. 13(undefined):
      Tauopathies are a group of progressive neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the presence of insoluble intracellular tau filaments in the brain. Evidence suggests that there is a tight connection between mitochondrial dysfunction and tauopathies, including Alzheimer's disease. However, whether mitochondrial dysfunction occurs prior to the detection of tau aggregates in tauopathies remains elusive. Here, we utilized transgenic nematodes expressing the full length of wild type tau in neuronal cells and monitored mitochondrial morphology alterations over time. Although tau-expressing nematodes did not accumulate detectable levels of tau aggregates during larval stages, they displayed increased mitochondrial damage and locomotion defects compared to the control worms. Chelating calcium restored mitochondrial activity and improved motility in the tau-expressing larvae suggesting a link between mitochondrial damage, calcium homeostasis and neuronal impairment in these animals. Our findings suggest that defective mitochondrial function is an early pathogenic event of tauopathies, taking place before tau aggregation and undermining neuronal homeostasis and organismal fitness. Understanding the molecular mechanisms causing mitochondrial dysfunction early in tauopathy will be of significant clinical and therapeutic value and merits further investigation.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; C. elegans; aging; energy metabolism; mitochondria; tau; tauopathy
  10. EMBO Mol Med. 2021 Nov 08. e14397
      Mitochondrial disorders are clinically and genetically diverse, with isolated complex III (CIII) deficiency being relatively rare. Here, we describe two affected cousins, presenting with recurrent episodes of severe lactic acidosis, hyperammonaemia, hypoglycaemia and encephalopathy. Genetic investigations in both cases identified a homozygous deletion of exons 2 and 3 of UQCRH, which encodes a structural complex III (CIII) subunit. We generated a mouse model with the equivalent homozygous Uqcrh deletion (Uqcrh-/- ), which also presented with lactic acidosis and hyperammonaemia, but had a more severe, non-episodic phenotype, resulting in failure to thrive and early death. The biochemical phenotypes observed in patient and Uqcrh-/- mouse tissues were remarkably similar, displaying impaired CIII activity, decreased molecular weight of fully assembled holoenzyme and an increase of an unexpected large supercomplex (SXL ), comprising mostly of one complex I (CI) dimer and one CIII dimer. This phenotypic similarity along with lentiviral rescue experiments in patient fibroblasts verifies the pathogenicity of the shared genetic defect, demonstrating that the Uqcrh-/- mouse is a valuable model for future studies of human CIII deficiency.
    Keywords:  OXPHOS; UQCRH; complex III; mitochondrial disease; mouse model
  11. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2021 Nov 08.
      PROPOSE OF REVIEW: To summarize the evidence that suggests that osteoarthritis (OA) is a mitochondrial disease.RECENT FINDINGS: Mitochondrial dysfunction together with mtDNA damage could contribute to cartilage degradation via several processes such as: (1) increased apoptosis; (2) decreased autophagy; (3) enhanced inflammatory response; (4) telomere shortening and increased senescence chondrocytes; (5) decreased mitochondrial biogenesis and mitophagy; (6) increased cartilage catabolism; (7) increased mitochondrial fusion leading to further reactive oxygen species production; and (8) impaired metabolic flexibility.
    SUMMARY: Mitochondria play an important role in some events involved in the pathogenesis of OA, such as energy production, the generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, apoptosis, authophagy, senescence and inflammation. The regulation of these processes in the cartilage is at least partially controlled by retrograde regulation from mitochondria and mitochondrial genetic variation. Retrograde regulation through mitochondrial haplogroups exerts a signaling control over the nuclear epigenome, which leads to the modulation of nuclear genes, cellular functions and development of OA. All these data suggest that OA could be considered a mitochondrial disease as well as other complex chronic disease as cancer, cardiovascular and neurologic diseases.
  12. Nucleosides Nucleotides Nucleic Acids. 2021 Nov 10. 1-9
      Mitochondrial thymidine kinase 2 (TK2) is an essential enzyme for mitochondrial dNTP synthesis in many tissues. Deficiency in TK2 activity causes devastating mitochondrial diseases. Here we investigated several residues involved in substrate binding and catalysis. We showed that mutations of Gln-110 and Glu-133 affected Mg2+ and ATP binding, and thus are crucial for TK2 function. Furthermore, mutations of Gln-110 and Tyr-141 altered the kinetic behavior, suggesting their involvement in substrate binding through conformational changes. Since the 3 D structure of TK2 is still unknown, and thus, the identification of key amino acids for TK2 function may help to explain how TK2 mutations cause mitochondrial diseases.
    Keywords:  ATP/Mg2+ binding; enzyme kinetics; mutagenesis; substrate binding; thymidine kinase 2
  13. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 23. pii: 11444. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      Many neurodegenerative and inherited metabolic diseases frequently compromise nervous system function, and mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress have been implicated as key events leading to neurodegeneration. Mitochondria are essential for neuronal function; however, these organelles are major sources of endogenous reactive oxygen species and are vulnerable targets for oxidative stress-induced damage. The brain is very susceptible to oxidative damage due to its high metabolic demand and low antioxidant defence systems, therefore minimal imbalances in the redox state can result in an oxidative environment that favours tissue damage and activates neuroinflammatory processes. Mitochondrial-associated molecular pathways are often compromised in the pathophysiology of neurodegeneration, including the parkin/PINK1, Nrf2, PGC1α, and PPARγ pathways. Impairments to these signalling pathways consequently effect the removal of dysfunctional mitochondria, which has been suggested as contributing to the development of neurodegeneration. Mitochondrial dysfunction prevention has become an attractive therapeutic target, and there are several molecular pathways that can be pharmacologically targeted to remove damaged mitochondria by inducing mitochondrial biogenesis or mitophagy, as well as increasing the antioxidant capacity of the brain, in order to alleviate mitochondrial dysfunction and prevent the development and progression of neurodegeneration in these disorders. Compounds such as natural polyphenolic compounds, bioactive quinones, and Nrf2 activators have been reported in the literature as novel therapeutic candidates capable of targeting defective mitochondrial pathways in order to improve mitochondrial function and reduce the severity of neurodegeneration in these disorders.
    Keywords:  Parkinson’s disease; antioxidant defenses; lysosomal storage disorders; methylmalonic acidaemia; mitochondrial biogenesis; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; oxidative stress; therapeutics
  14. Mol Neurodegener. 2021 Nov 06. 16(1): 75
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial dysfunction is a feature of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Changes in the mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNAcn) and increased mitochondrial DNA mutation burden have both been associated with neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline. This study aims to systematically identify which common brain pathologies in the aged human brain are associated with mitochondrial recalibrations and to disentangle the relationship between these pathologies, mtDNAcn, mtDNA heteroplasmy, aging, neuronal loss, and cognitive function.METHODS: Whole-genome sequencing data from n = 1361 human brain samples from 5 different regions were used to quantify mtDNAcn as well as heteroplasmic mtDNA point mutations and small indels. Brain samples were assessed for 10 common pathologies. Annual cognitive test results were used to assess cognitive function proximal to death. For a subset of samples, neuronal proportions were estimated from RNA-seq profiles, and mass spectrometry was used to quantify the mitochondrial protein content of the tissue.
    RESULTS: mtDNAcn was 7-14% lower in AD relative to control participants. When accounting for all 10 common neuropathologies, only tau was significantly associated with lower mtDNAcn in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In the posterior cingulate cortex, TDP-43 pathology demonstrated a distinct association with mtDNAcn. No changes were observed in the cerebellum, which is affected late by pathologies. Neither age nor gender was associated with mtDNAcn in the studied brain regions when adjusting for pathologies. Mitochondrial content and mtDNAcn independently explained variance in cognitive function unaccounted by pathologies, implicating complex mitochondrial recalibrations in cognitive decline. In contrast, mtDNA heteroplasmy levels increased by 1.5% per year of life in the cortical regions, but displayed no association with any of the pathologies or cognitive function.
    CONCLUSIONS: We studied mtDNA quantity and quality in relation to mixed pathologies of aging and showed that tau and not amyloid-β is primarily associated with reduced mtDNAcn. In the posterior cingulate cortex, the association of TDP-43 with low mtDNAcn points to a vulnerability of this region in limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy. While we found low mtDNAcn in brain regions affected by pathologies, the absence of associations with mtDNA heteroplasmy burden indicates that mtDNA point mutations and small indels are unlikely to be involved in the pathogenesis of late-onset neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; Amyloid; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial DNA copy number; Mitochondrial heteroplasmy; Neurodegeneration; TDP-43; Tau
  15. Sci Rep. 2021 Nov 11. 11(1): 22106
      O-GlcNAcylation is a prevalent form of glycosylation that regulates proteins within the cytosol, nucleus, and mitochondria. The O-GlcNAc modification can affect protein cellular localization, function, and signaling interactions. The specific impact of O-GlcNAcylation on mitochondrial morphology and function has been elusive. In this manuscript, the role of O-GlcNAcylation on mitochondrial fission, oxidative phosphorylation (Oxphos), and the activity of electron transport chain (ETC) complexes were evaluated. In a cellular environment with hyper O-GlcNAcylation due to the deletion of O-GlcNAcase (OGA), mitochondria showed a dramatic reduction in size and a corresponding increase in number and total mitochondrial mass. Because of the increased mitochondrial content, OGA knockout cells exhibited comparable coupled mitochondrial Oxphos and ATP levels when compared to WT cells. However, we observed reduced protein levels for complex I and II when comparing normalized mitochondrial content and reduced linked activity for complexes I and III when examining individual ETC complex activities. In assessing mitochondrial fission, we observed increased amounts of O-GlcNAcylated dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) in cells genetically null for OGA and in glioblastoma cells. Individual regions of Drp1 were evaluated for O-GlcNAc modifications, and we found that this post-translational modification (PTM) was not limited to the previously characterized residues in the variable domain (VD). Additional modification sites are predicted in the GTPase domain, which may influence enzyme activity. Collectively, these results highlight the impact of O-GlcNAcylation on mitochondrial dynamics and ETC function and mimic the changes that may occur during glucose toxicity from hyperglycemia.
  16. BMC Biol. 2021 Nov 11. 19(1): 242
      BACKGROUND: Proteostasis unbalance and mitochondrial dysfunction are two hallmarks of aging. While the chaperone folds and activates its clients, it is the cochaperone that determines the specificity of the clients. Ids2 is an HSP90's cochaperone controlling mitochondrial functions, but no in vivo clients of Ids2 have been reported yet.RESULTS: We performed a screen of the databases of HSP90 physical interactors, mitochondrial components, and mutants with respiratory defect, and identified Atp3, a subunit of the complex V ATP synthase, as a client of Ids2. Deletion of IDS2 destabilizes Atp3, and an α-helix at the middle region of Ids2 recruits Atp3 to the folding system. Shortage of Ids2 or Atp3 leads to the loss of mitochondrial DNA. The intermembrane space protease Yme1 is critical to maintaining the Atp3 protein level. Moreover, Ids2 is highly induced when cells carry out oxidative respiration.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings discover a cochaperone essentially for maintaining the stability of mitochondrial DNA and the proteostasis of the electron transport chain-crosstalk between two hallmarks of aging.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; Aging; Ids2; Mitochondria; Proteostasis
  17. Neurotoxicology. 2021 Nov 05. pii: S0161-813X(21)00153-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Iron is a key element for mitochondrial function and homeostasis, which is also crucial for maintaining the neuronal system, but too much iron promotes oxidative stress. A large body of evidence has indicated that abnormal iron accumulation in the brain is associated with various neurogenerative diseases such as Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Friedreich's ataxia. However, it is still unclear how irregular iron status contributes to the development of neuronal disorders. Hence, the current review provides an update on the causal effects of iron overload in the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases and discusses important roles of mitochondrial iron homeostasis in these disease conditions. Furthermore, this review discusses potential therapeutic targets for the treatments of iron overload-linked neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Brain iron; Iron overload; Iron transport; Mitochondria; Neuron
  18. Dev Cell. 2021 Nov 08. pii: S1534-5807(21)00846-7. [Epub ahead of print]56(21): 2925-2927
      The significance of mitochondrial long-lived proteins (mitoLLPs) to tissue health has remained mysterious for over a decade. In this issue of Developmental Cell, Krishna et al. demonstrate that mitochondrial lifetimes are highly heterogeneous and that mitoLLPs promote respiratory capacity by facilitating supercomplex assembly within the electron transport chain.
  19. Pharmacol Res. 2021 Nov 08. pii: S1043-6618(21)00557-0. [Epub ahead of print] 105973
      The purpose of our study is to determine the protective effects of mitophagy enhancers against phosphorylated tau (P-tau)-induced mitochondrial and synaptic toxicities in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Mitochondrial abnormalities, including defective mitochondrial dynamics, biogenesis, axonal transport and impaired clearance of dead mitochondria are linked to P-tau in AD. Mitophagy enhancers are potential therapeutic candidates to clear dead mitochondria and improve synaptic and cognitive functions in AD. We recently optimized the doses of mitophagy enhancers urolithin A, actinonin, tomatidine, nicotinamide riboside in immortalized mouse primary hippocampal (HT22) neurons. In the current study, we treated mutant Tau expressed in HT22 (mTau-HT22) cells with mitophagy enhancers and assessed mRNA and protein levels of mitochondrial/synaptic genes, cell survival and mitochondrial respiration. We also assessed mitochondrial morphology in mTau-HT22 cells treated and untreated with mitophagy enhancers. Mutant Tau-HT22 cells showed increased fission, decreased fusion, synaptic & mitophagy genes, reduced cell survival and defective mitochondrial respiration. However, these events were reversed in mitophagy enhancers treated mTau-HT22 cells. Cell survival was increased, mRNA and protein levels of mitochondrial fusion, synaptic and mitophagy genes were increased, and mitochondrial fragmentation is reduced in mitophagy enhancers treated mTau-HT22 cells. Further, urolithin A showed strongest protective effects among all enhancers tested in AD. Our combination treatments of urolithin A + EGCG, addition to urolithin A and EGCG individual treatment revealed that combination treatments approach is even stronger than urolithin A treatment. Based on these findings, we cautiously propose that mitophagy enhancers are promising therapeutic drugs to treat mitophagy in patients with AD.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria: Synaptic activity; Mitochondrial fragmentation; Mitophagy enhancers; Urolithin A
  20. FASEB J. 2021 Dec;35(12): e22031
      Loss of skeletal muscle mass and force is of critical importance in numerous pathologies, like age-related sarcopenia or cancer. It has been shown that the Akt-mTORC1 pathway is critical for stimulating adult muscle mass and function, however, it is unknown if mTORC1 is the only mediator downstream of Akt and which intracellular processes are required for functional muscle growth. Here, we show that loss of Raptor reduces muscle hypertrophy after Akt activation and completely prevents increases in muscle force. Interestingly, the residual hypertrophy after Raptor deletion can be completely prevented by administration of the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin. Using a quantitative proteomics approach we find that loss of Raptor affects the increases in mitochondrial proteins, while rapamycin mainly affects ribosomal proteins. Taken together, these results suggest that mTORC1 is the key mediator of Akt-dependent muscle growth and its regulation of the mitochondrial proteome is critical for increasing muscle force.
    Keywords:  Raptor; hypertrophy; mTOR; mitochondria; rapamycin; skeletal muscle
  21. FASEB J. 2021 Dec;35(12): e21991
      Mitochondria are intimately connected to cell fate and function. Here, we review how these intracellular organelles participate in the induction and maintenance of the senescent state. In particular, we discuss how alterations in mitochondrial metabolism, quality control and dynamics are all involved in various aspects of cellular senescence. Together, these observations suggest that mitochondria are active participants and are mechanistically linked to the unique biology of senescence. We further describe how these insights can be potentially exploited for therapeutic benefit.
    Keywords:  aging; metabolism; mitophagy; reactive oxygen species; senolytic
  22. J Clin Med. 2021 Oct 22. pii: 4855. [Epub ahead of print]10(21):
      Mitochondrial fatty acid β-oxidation (FAO) contributes a large proportion to the body's energy needs in fasting and in situations of metabolic stress. Most tissues use energy from fatty acids, particularly the heart, skeletal muscle and the liver. In the brain, ketone bodies formed from FAO in the liver are used as the main source of energy. The mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation disorders (FAODs), which include the carnitine system defects, constitute a group of diseases with several types and subtypes and with variable clinical spectrum and prognosis, from paucisymptomatic cases to more severe affectations, with a 5% rate of sudden death in childhood, and with fasting hypoketotic hypoglycemia frequently occurring. The implementation of newborn screening programs has resulted in new challenges in diagnosis, with the detection of new phenotypes as well as carriers and false positive cases. In this article, a review of the biochemical markers used for the diagnosis of FAODs is presented. The analysis of acylcarnitines by MS/MS contributes to improving the biochemical diagnosis, both in affected patients and in newborn screening, but acylglycines, organic acids, and other metabolites are also reported. Moreover, this review recommends caution, and outlines the differences in the interpretation of the biomarkers depending on age, clinical situation and types of samples or techniques.
    Keywords:  acylcarnitines; acylglycines; carnitine; fatty acid β-oxidation diseases; mass spectrometry; newborn screening
  23. J Biol Chem. 2021 Oct 28. pii: S0021-9258(21)01164-9. [Epub ahead of print] 101358
      Preserving optimal mitochondrial function is critical in the heart, which is the most ATP-avid organ in the body. Recently, we showed that global deficiency of the nuclear receptor RORα in the "staggerer" (RORαsg/sg) mouse exacerbates angiotensin II-induced cardiac hypertrophy and compromises cardiomyocyte mitochondrial function. However, the mechanisms underlying these observations have not been defined previously. Here we used pharmacological and genetic gain- and loss-of-function tools to demonstrate that RORα regulates cardiomyocyte mitophagy to preserve mitochondrial abundance and function. We found that RORαsg/sg cardiomyocyte mitochondria were less numerous and exhibited fewer mitophagy events than wild type (WT) controls. The hearts of our novel cardiomyocyte-specific RORα knockout (CMKO) mouse line demonstrated impaired contractile function, enhanced oxidative stress, increased apoptosis and reduced autophagic flux relative to Cre(-) littermates. We found that cardiomyocyte RORα was upregulated by hypoxia, a classical inducer of mitophagy. The loss of RORα blunted mitophagy and broadly compromised mitochondrial function in normoxic and hypoxic conditions in vivo and in vitro. We also show that RORα is a direct transcriptional regulator of the mitophagy mediator caveolin-3 in cardiomyocytes and that enhanced expression of RORα increases caveolin-3 abundance and enhances mitophagy. Finally, knockdown of RORα impairs cardiomyocyte mitophagy, compromises mitochondrial function, and induces apoptosis, but these defects could be rescued by caveolin-3 overexpression. Collectively, these findings reveal a novel role for RORα in regulating mitophagy through caveolin-3 and expand our currently limited understanding of the mechanisms underlying RORα-mediated cardioprotection.
  24. Mol Neurobiol. 2021 Nov 10.
      Understanding the mechanisms underlying amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is crucial for the development of new therapies. Previous studies have demonstrated that mitochondrial dysfunction is a key pathogenetic event in ALS. Interestingly, studies in Alzheimer's disease (AD) post-mortem brain and animal models link alterations in mitochondrial function to interactions between hyperphosphorylated tau and dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), the GTPase involved in mitochondrial fission. Recent evidence suggest that tau may be involved in ALS pathogenesis, therefore, we sought to determine whether hyperphosphorylated tau may lead to mitochondrial fragmentation and dysfunction in ALS and whether reducing tau may provide a novel therapeutic approach. Our findings demonstrated that pTau-S396 is mis-localized to synapses in post-mortem motor cortex (mCTX) across ALS subtypes. Additionally, the treatment with ALS synaptoneurosomes (SNs), enriched in pTau-S396, increased oxidative stress, induced mitochondrial fragmentation, and altered mitochondrial connectivity without affecting cell survival in vitro. Furthermore, pTau-S396 interacted with DRP1, and similar to pTau-S396, DRP1 accumulated in SNs across ALS subtypes, suggesting increases in mitochondrial fragmentation in ALS. As previously reported, electron microscopy revealed a significant decrease in mitochondria density and length in ALS mCTX. Lastly, reducing tau levels with QC-01-175, a selective tau degrader, prevented ALS SNs-induced mitochondrial fragmentation and oxidative stress in vitro. Collectively, our findings suggest that increases in pTau-S396 may lead to mitochondrial fragmentation and oxidative stress in ALS and decreasing tau may provide a novel strategy to mitigate mitochondrial dysfunction in ALS. pTau-S396 mis-localizes to synapses in ALS. ALS synaptoneurosomes (SNs), enriched in pTau-S396, increase oxidative stress and induce mitochondrial fragmentation in vitro. pTau-S396 interacts with the pro-fission GTPase DRP1 in ALS. Reducing tau with a selective degrader, QC-01-175, mitigates ALS SNs-induced mitochondrial fragmentation and increases in oxidative stress in vitro.
    Keywords:  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Hyperphosphorylated tau; Mitochondrial dynamics; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Tau degrader
  25. Hum Genet. 2021 Nov 08.
      Mitochondrial disorders are challenging to diagnose. Exome sequencing has greatly enhanced the diagnostic precision of these disorders although interpreting variants of uncertain significance (VUS) remains a formidable obstacle. Whether specific mitochondrial morphological changes can aid in the classification of these variants is unknown. Here, we describe two families (four patients), each with a VUS in a gene known to affect the morphology of mitochondria through a specific role in the fission-fusion balance. In the first, the missense variant in MFF, encoding a fission factor, was associated with impaired fission giving rise to a characteristically over-tubular appearance of mitochondria. In the second, the missense variant in DNAJA3, which has no listed OMIM phenotype, was associated with fragmented appearance of mitochondria consistent with its published deficiency states. In both instances, the highly specific phenotypes allowed us to upgrade the classification of the variants. Our results suggest that, in select cases, mitochondrial "dysmorphology" can be helpful in interpreting variants to reach a molecular diagnosis.
  26. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 29. pii: 11722. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      Autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by mutations in the SACS gene, encoding the 520 kDa modular protein sacsin, which comprises multiple functional sequence domains that suggest a role either as a scaffold in protein folding or in proteostasis. Cells from patients with ARSACS display a distinct phenotype including altered organisation of the intermediate filament cytoskeleton and a hyperfused mitochondrial network where mitochondrial respiration is compromised. Here, we used vimentin bundling as a biomarker of sacsin function to test the therapeutic potential of Hsp90 inhibition with the C-terminal-domain-targeted compound KU-32, which has demonstrated mitochondrial activity. This study shows that ARSACS patient cells have significantly increased vimentin bundling compared to control, and this was also present in ARSACS carriers despite them being asymptomatic. We found that KU-32 treatment significantly reduced vimentin bundling in carrier and patient cells. We also found that cells from patients with ARSACS were unable to maintain mitochondrial membrane potential upon challenge with mitotoxins, and that the electron transport chain function was restored upon KU-32 treatment. Our preliminary findings presented here suggest that targeting the heat-shock response by Hsp90 inhibition alleviates vimentin bundling and may represent a promising area for the development of therapeutics for ARSACS.
    Keywords:  ARSACS; Hsp90 inhibition; KU-32; ataxia; vimentin
  27. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Oct 26. pii: 11569. [Epub ahead of print]22(21):
      Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A (CMT2A) is the most common hereditary axonal neuropathy caused by mutations in MFN2 encoding Mitofusin-2, a multifunctional protein located in the outer mitochondrial membrane. In order to study the effects of a novel MFN2K357T mutation associated with early onset, autosomal dominant severe CMT2A, we generated a knock-in mouse model. While Mfn2K357T/K357T mouse pups were postnatally lethal, Mfn2+/K357T heterozygous mice were asymptomatic and had no histopathological changes in their sciatic nerves up to 10 months of age. However, immunofluorescence analysis of Mfn2+/K357T mice revealed aberrant mitochondrial clustering in the sciatic nerves from 6 months of age, in optic nerves from 8 months, and in lumbar spinal cord white matter at 10 months, along with microglia activation. Ultrastructural analyses confirmed dysmorphic mitochondrial aggregates in sciatic and optic nerves. After exposure of 6-month-old mice to lipopolysaccharide, Mfn2+/K357T mice displayed a higher immune response, a more severe motor impairment, and increased CNS inflammation, microglia activation, and macrophage infiltrates. Overall, ubiquitous Mfn2K357T expression renders the CNS and peripheral nerves of Mfn2+/K357T mice more susceptible to mitochondrial clustering, and augments their response to inflammation, modeling some cellular mechanisms that may be relevant for the development of neuropathy in patients with CMT2A.
    Keywords:  Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A; knock-in mouse model; lipopolysaccharide; mitochondria; mitofusin-2; neuroinflammation; peripheral neuropathy
  28. Hum Reprod. 2021 Nov 10. pii: deab231. [Epub ahead of print]
      STUDY QUESTION: Are relative mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and mitochondrial genome (mtGenome) variants in human cumulus cells (CCs) associated with oocyte reproductive potential and assisted reproductive technology (ART) outcomes?SUMMARY ANSWER: Neither the CC mtDNA quantity nor the presence of specific mtDNA genetic variants was associated with ART outcomes, although associations with patient body mass index (BMI) were detected, and the total number of oocytes retrieved differed between major mitochondrial haplogroups.
    WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: CCs fulfil a vital role in the support of oocyte developmental competence. As with other cell types, appropriate cellular function is likely to rely upon adequate energy production, which in turn depends on the quantity and genetic competence of the mitochondria. mtDNA mutations can be inherited or they can accumulate in somatic cells over time, potentially contributing to aging. Such mutations may be homoplasmic (affecting all mtDNA in a cell) or they may display varying levels of heteroplasmy (affecting a proportion of the mtDNA). Currently, little is known concerning variation in CC mitochondrial genetics and how this might influence the reproductive potential of the associated oocyte.
    STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: This was a prospective observational study involving human CCs collected with 541 oocytes from 177 IVF patients. mtDNA quantity was measured in all the samples with a validated quantitative PCR method and the entire mtGenome was sequenced in a subset of 138 samples using a high-depth massively parallel sequencing approach. Associations between relative mtDNA quantity and mtGenome variants in CCs and patient age, BMI (kg/m2), infertility diagnosis and ART outcomes were investigated.
    PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Massively parallel sequencing permitted not only the accurate detection of mutations but also the precise quantification of levels of mutations in cases of heteroplasmy. Sequence variants in the mtDNA were evaluated using Mitomaster and HmtVar to predict their potential impact.
    MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: The relative mtDNA CC content was significantly associated with BMI. No significant associations were observed between CC mtDNA quantity and patient age, female infertility diagnosis or any ART outcome variable. mtGenome sequencing revealed 4181 genetic variants with respect to a reference genome. The COXI locus contained the least number of coding sequence variants, whereas ATPase8 had the most. The number of variants predicted to affect the ATP production differed significantly between mitochondrial macrohaplogroups. The total number of retrieved oocytes was different between the H-V and J-T as well as the U-K and J-T macrohaplogroups. There was a non-significant increase in mtDNA levels in CCs with heteroplasmic mitochondrial mutations.
    LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Although a large number of samples were analysed in this study, it was not possible to analyse all the CCs from every patient. Also, the results obtained with respect to specific clinical outcomes and macrohaplogroups should be interpreted with caution due to the smaller sample sizes when subdividing the dataset.
    WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: These findings suggest that the analysis of mtDNA in CCs is unlikely to provide an advantage in terms of improved embryo selection during assisted reproduction cycles. Nonetheless, our data raise interesting biological questions, particularly regarding the interplay of metabolism and BMI and the association of mtDNA haplogroup with oocyte yield in ovarian stimulation cycles.
    STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): This study was funded by National Institutes of Health grant 5R01HD092550-02. D.J.N. and C.R. co-hold patent US20150346100A1 and D.J.N. holds US20170039415A1, both for metabolic imaging methods. D.W. receives support from the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre. The remaining authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
    Keywords:  BMI; assisted reproduction; cumulus cells; mitochondria; mitochondrial genome sequencing
  29. Front Mol Neurosci. 2021 ;14 767219
      Extracellular vesicles (EVs) have emerged in the last decade as critical cell-to-cell communication devices used to carry nucleic acids and proteins between cells. EV cargo includes plasma membrane and endosomal proteins, but EVs also contain material from other cellular compartments, including mitochondria. Within cells, mitochondria are responsible for a large range of metabolic reactions, but they can also produce damaging levels of reactive oxygen species and induce inflammation when damaged. Consistent with this, recent evidence suggests that EV-mediated transfer of mitochondrial content alters metabolic and inflammatory responses of recipient cells. As EV mitochondrial content is also altered in some pathologies, this could have important implications for their diagnosis and treatment. In this review, we will discuss the nature and roles of mitochondrial EVs, with a special emphasis on the nervous system.
    Keywords:  extracellular vesicle; inflammation; metabolism; mitochondria; mitochondrial quality control
  30. Brain Commun. 2021 ;3(4): fcab252
      Glycyl-tRNA synthetase mutations are associated to the Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type-2D. The GarsP278KY/+ model for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type-2D is known best for its early onset severe neuropathic phenotype with findings including reduced axon size, slow conduction velocities and abnormal neuromuscular junction. Muscle involvement remains largely unexamined. We tested the efficacy of neurotrophin 3 gene transfer therapy in two Gars mutants with severe (GarsP278KY/+ ) and milder (GarsΔETAQ/+ ) phenotypes via intramuscular injection of adeno-associated virus setoype-1, triple tandem muscle creatine kinase promoter, neurotrophin 3 (AAV1.tMCK.NT-3) at 1 × 1011 vg dose. In the GarsP278KY/+ mice, the treatment efficacy was assessed at 12 weeks post-injection using rotarod test, electrophysiology and detailed quantitative histopathological studies of the peripheral nervous system including neuromuscular junction and muscle. Neurotrophin 3 gene transfer therapy in GarsP278KY/+ mice resulted in significant functional and electrophysiological improvements, supported with increases in myelin thickness and improvements in the denervated status of neuromuscular junctions as well as increases in muscle fibre size along with attenuation of myopathic changes. Improvements in the milder phenotype GarsΔETAQ/+ was less pronounced. Furthermore, oxidative enzyme histochemistry in muscles from Gars mutants revealed alterations in the content and distribution of oxidative enzymes with increased expression levels of Pgc1a. Cox1, Cox3 and Atp5d transcripts were significantly decreased suggesting that the muscle phenotype might be related to mitochondrial dysfunction. Neurotrophin 3 gene therapy attenuated these abnormalities in the muscle. This study shows that neurotrophin 3 gene transfer therapy has disease modifying effect in a mouse model for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type-2D, leading to meaningful improvements in peripheral nerve myelination and neuromuscular junction integrity as well as in a unique myopathic process, associated with mitochondria dysfunction, all in combination contributing to functional outcome. Based on the multiple biological effects of this versatile molecule, we predict neurotrophin 3 has the potential to be beneficial in other aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease subtypes.
    Keywords:  AAV; CMT2D; NT-3; gars
  31. Neurol India. 2021 Sep-Oct;69(5):69(5): 1380-1388
      A disturbed iron metabolism may damage brain and trigger disorders known as neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (NBIA). NBIAs are rare, inherited disorders in which responsible mutations affect the function of proteins that participate in tissue iron homeostasis. Accumulated iron, which may be recognized as a low signal intensity on T2-weighted MRI images, oftentimes points to a diagnosis. Recent genetic discoveries confirm that NBIA is not a homogenous group of diseases. Fifteen different NBIAs have been described to date; among these, autosomal recessive inheritance was reported in 13, and autosmal dominant and X-linked dominant inheritance in one disease, respectively. Among NBIAs, the most common is pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN-NBIA 1) (30%-50% of all NBIA cases), that occurrs as a consequence of the autosomal recessive mutation in PANK2 gene, followed by phospholipase 2-associated neurodegeneration (PLAN, NBIA 2), due to mutation in PLA2G6 gene, and mitochondrial membrane protein-associated neurodegeneration (MPAN) with the underlying C19orf12 mutation [Table 1]. NBIAs are characterized by complex motor presentations from early-onset degeneration and premature fatality to adult-onset parkinsonism and dystonia. Epileptic seizures, pyramidal signs, visual disorders, and cognitive deterioration can develop. NBIAs are often refractory to therapeutical strategies, although certain interventions may provide significant symptomatic relief in selected patients. In this review, we discuss the expanding clinical spectrum of these complex and rare syndromes, their genetic and imaging features, and potential therapeutical targets and strategies.
    Keywords:  Basal ganglia; dystonia; “eye of the tiger” sign; neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation; pantothenate kinase