bims-mitmed Biomed News
on Mitochondrial medicine
Issue of 2022‒03‒06
24 papers selected by
Dario Brunetti
Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico

  1. Brain. 2022 Mar 04. pii: awab303. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are essential organelles found in every eukaryotic cell, required to convert food into usable energy. Therefore, it is not surprising that mutations in either mtDNA or nuclear DNA-encoded genes of mitochondrial proteins cause diseases affecting the oxidative phosphorylation system, which are heterogeneous from a clinical, genetic, biochemical and molecular perspective and can affect patients at any age. Despite all this, it is surprising that our understanding of the mechanisms governing mitochondrial gene expression and its associated pathologies remain superficial and therapeutic interventions largely unexplored. We recently showed that loss of the mitochondrial matrix protease caseinolytic protease proteolytic subunit (CLPP) ameliorates phenotypes in cells characterized by defects in oxidative phosphorylation maintenance. Here, we build upon this finding by showing that CLPP depletion is indeed beneficial in vivo for various types of neuronal populations, including Purkinje cells in the cerebellum and cortical and hippocampal neurons in the forebrain, as it strongly improves distinct phenotypes of mitochondria encephalopathy, driven by the deficiency of the mitochondrial aspartyl tRNA synthase DARS2. In the absence of CLPP, neurodegeneration of DARS2-deficient neurons is delayed as they present milder oxidative phosphorylation dysfunction. This in turn leads to a decreased neuroinflammatory response and significantly improved motor functions in both double-deficient models (Purkinje cell-specific or forebrain neuron-specific Dars2/Clpp double knockout mice). We propose that diminished turnover of respiratory complex I caused by the loss of CLPP is behind the improved phenotype in Dars2/Clpp double knockout animals, even though this intervention might not restore respiratory complex I activity but rather improve mitochondrial cristae morphology or help maintain the NAD+/NADH ratio inside mitochondria. These results also open the possibility of targeting CLPP activity in many other mitochondrial encephalopathies characterized by respiratory complex I instability.
    Keywords:  CLPP protease; DARS2 deficiency; LBSL; mitochondrial diseases
  2. Pharmacol Res. 2022 Feb 28. pii: S1043-6618(22)00094-9. [Epub ahead of print] 106149
      Neural tissue has high metabolic requirements. Following spinal cord injury (SCI), the damaged, tissue suffers from a severe metabolic impairment, which aggravates axonal degeneration and, neuronal loss. Impaired cellular energetic, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and oxidative, phosphorylation metabolism in neuronal cells has been demonstrated to be a major cause of neural tissue death and regeneration failure following SCI. Therefore, rewiring the spinal cord cell metabolism may be an innovative therapeutic strategy for the treatment of SCI. In this study, we evaluated the therapeutic effect of the recovery of oxidative metabolism in a mouse model of severe contusive SCI. Oral administration of TCA cycle intermediates, co-factors, essential amino acids, and branched-chain amino acids was started 3 days post-injury and continued until the end of the experimental procedures. Metabolomic, immunohistological, and biochemical analyses were performed on the injured spinal cord sections. Administration of metabolic precursors enhanced spinal cord oxidative metabolism. In line with this metabolic shift, we observed the activation of the mTORC1 anabolic pathway, the increase in mitochondrial mass, and ROS defense which effectively prevented the injury-induced neural cell apoptosis in treated animals. Consistently, we found more choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-expressing motor neurons and increased neurofilament positive corticospinal axons in the spinal cord parenchyma of the treated mice. Interestingly, oral administration of the metabolic precursors increased the number of activated microglia expressing the CD206 marker suggestive of a, pro-resolutive, M2-like phenotype. These molecular and histological modifications observed in treated animals ultimately led to a significant, although partial, improvement of the motor functions. Our data demonstrate that rewiring the cellular metabolism can represent an effective strategy to treat SCI.
    Keywords:  Spinal cord injury; cell metabolism; microglia; mitochondrial metabolism; neural regeneration
  3. Trends Cell Biol. 2022 Feb 24. pii: S0962-8924(22)00034-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Intracellular long-lived proteins (LLPs) provide structural support for several highly stable protein complexes and assemblies that play essential roles in ensuring cellular homeostasis and function. Recently, mitochondrial long-lived proteins (mt-LLPs) were discovered within inner mitochondria membranes (IMMs) and cristae invagination in tissues with old postmitotic cells. This observation is at odds with the fact that mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles that are continually remodeled through processes of fission, fusion, biogenesis, and multiple quality control pathways. In this opinion article, we propose that a subset of the mitochondrial proteome persists over long time frames and these mt-LLPs provide key structural support for the lifelong maintenance of mitochondrial structure.
    Keywords:  cristae ultrastructure; long-lived proteins; mitochondria; mitochondrial dynamics; protein turnover; stable structures
  4. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2021 ;8 808115
      Mitochondria is a ubiquitous, energy-supplying (ATP-based) organelle found in nearly all eukaryotes. It acts as a "power plant" by producing ATP through oxidative phosphorylation, providing energy for the cell. The bioenergetic functions of mitochondria are regulated by nuclear genes (nDNA). Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and respiratory enzymes lose normal structure and function when nuclear genes encoding the related mitochondrial factors are impaired, resulting in deficiency in energy production. Massive generation of reactive oxygen species and calcium overload are common causes of mitochondrial diseases. The mitochondrial depletion syndrome (MDS) is associated with the mutations of mitochondrial genes in the nucleus. It is a heterogeneous group of progressive disorders characterized by the low mtDNA copy number. TK2, FBXL4, TYPM, and AGK are genes known to be related to MDS. More recent studies identified new mutation loci associated with this disease. Herein, we first summarize the structure and function of mitochondria, and then discuss the characteristics of various types of MDS and its association with cardiac diseases.
    Keywords:  ATP; cardiac disease; mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome; mtDNA; nuclear gene mutation
  5. Mitochondrion. 2022 Feb 24. pii: S1567-7249(22)00019-8. [Epub ahead of print]64 45-58
      Mitochondrial diseases are a group of genetic disorders characterized by dysfunctional mitochondria. Within eukaryotic cells, mitochondria contain their own ribosomes, which synthesize small amounts of proteins, all of which are essential for the biogenesis of the oxidative phosphorylation system. The ribosome is an evolutionarily conserved macromolecular machine in nature both from a structural and functional point of view, universally responsible for the synthesis of proteins. Among the diseases afflicting humans, those of ribosomal origin - either cytoplasmic ribosomes (80S) or mitochondrial ribosomes (70S) - are relevant. These are inherited or acquired diseases most commonly caused by either ribosomal protein haploinsufficiency or defects in ribosome biogenesis. Here we review the scientific literature about the recent advances on changes in mitochondrial ribosomal structural and assembly proteins that are implicated in primary mitochondrial diseases and neurodegenerative disorders, and their possible connection with metalloid pollution and toxicity, with a focus on MRPL44, NAM9 (MNA6) and GEP3 (MTG3), whose lack or defect was associated with resistance to tellurite. Finally, we illustrate the suitability of yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae) and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) as model organisms for studying mitochondrial ribosome dysfunctions including those involved in human diseases.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; Mitochondrial diseases; Mitochondrial ribosomal protein genes; Mitochondrial ribosome; Yeast and C. elegans model organisms
  6. Clin Genet. 2022 Mar 04.
      Genetic defect in the nuclear encoded subunits of cytochrome c oxidase are very rare. To date, most deleterious variants affect the mitochondrially encoded subunits of complex IV and the nuclear genes encoded for assembly factors. A biallelic pathogenic variant in the mitochondrial complex IV subunit COX5A was previously reported in a couple of sibs with failure to thrive, lactic acidosis and pulmonary hypertension and a lethal phenotype. Here, we describe a second family with a 11-year-old girl presenting with failure to thrive, lactic acidosis, hypoglycemia and short stature. Clinical exome revealed the homozygous missense variant c.266T>G in COX5A, which produces a drop of the corresponding protein and a reduction of the COX activity. Compared to the previous observation, this girl showed an attenuated metabolic derangement without involvement of the cardiovascular system and neurodevelopment. Our observation confirms that COX5A recessive variants may cause mitochondrial disease and expands the associated phenotype to less severe presentations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Keywords:  COX5A; cytochrome c oxidase; mitochondrial disorders; supercomplexes
  7. Elife. 2022 Mar 02. pii: e75658. [Epub ahead of print]11
      Mitochondrial biogenesis has two major steps: the transcriptional activation of nuclear genome-encoded mitochondrial proteins and the import of nascent mitochondrial proteins that are synthesized in the cytosol. These nascent mitochondrial proteins are aggregation-prone and can cause cytosolic proteostasis stress. The transcription factor-dependent transcriptional regulations and the TOM-TIM complex-dependent import of nascent mitochondrial proteins have been extensively studied. Yet, little is known regarding how these two steps of mitochondrial biogenesis coordinate with each other to avoid the cytosolic accumulation of these aggregation-prone nascent mitochondrial proteins. Here we show that in budding yeast, Tom70, a conserved receptor of the TOM complex, moonlights to regulate the transcriptional activity of mitochondrial proteins. Tom70's transcription regulatory role is conserved in Drosophila. The dual roles of Tom70 in both transcription/biogenesis and import of mitochondrial proteins allow the cells to accomplish mitochondrial biogenesis without compromising cytosolic proteostasis. The age-related reduction of Tom70, caused by reduced biogenesis and increased degradation of Tom70, is associated with the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, mtDNA, and mitochondrial proteins. While loss of Tom70 accelerates aging and age-related mitochondrial defects, overexpressing TOM70 delays these mitochondrial dysfunctions and extends the replicative lifespan. Our results reveal unexpected roles of Tom70 in mitochondrial biogenesis and aging.
    Keywords:  S. cerevisiae; cell biology
  8. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2022 Mar 01.
      Both mitochondrial dysfunction and neuroinflammation are implicated in neurodegeneration and neurodegenerative diseases. Accumulating evidence shows multiple links between mitochondrial dysfunction and neuroinflammation. Mitochondrial-derived damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) are recognized by immune receptors of microglia and aggravate neuroinflammation. On the other hand, inflammatory factors released by activated glial cells trigger an intracellular cascade, which regulates mitochondrial metabolism and function. The crosstalk between mitochondrial dysfunction and neuroinflammatory activation is a complex and dynamic process. There is strong evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction precedes neuroinflammation during the progression of diseases. Thus, an in-depth understanding of the specific molecular mechanisms associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and the progression of neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative diseases may contribute to the identification of new targets for the treatment of diseases. In this review, we describe in detail the DAMPs that induce or aggravate neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative diseases including mtDNA, mitochondrial unfolded protein response (mtUPR), mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS), adenosine triphosphate (ATP), transcription factor A mitochondria (TFAM), cardiolipin, cytochrome c, mitochondrial Ca2+ and iron.
    Keywords:  microglia; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial-derived damage-associated molecular pattern; neurodegenerative diseases; neuroinflammation
  9. Development. 2022 Mar 03. pii: dev.200458. [Epub ahead of print]
      The mitochondrial matrix AAA+ Lon protease (LONP1) degrades misfolded or unassembled proteins, which play a pivotal role in mitochondrial quality control. During heart development, a metabolic shift from anaerobic glycolysis to mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation takes place, and this process relies highly on functional mitochondria. However, the relationship between mitochondrial quality control machinery and metabolic shifts is elusive. Here, we interfered with mitochondrial quality control by inactivating Lonp1 in embryonic cardiac tissue and found severely impaired heart development, leading to embryonic lethality. Mitochondrial swelling, cristae loss and abnormal protein aggregates were evident in the mitochondria of Lonp1-deficient cardiomyocytes. Accordingly, the p-eIF2α-ATF4 pathway was triggered, and nuclear translocation of ATF4 was observed. We further demonstrated that ATF4 negatively regulates the expression of Tfam while promoting that of Glut1, which was responsible for the disruption of the metabolic shift to oxidative phosphorylation. Meanwhile, elevated levels of reactive oxygen species were observed in Lonp1 mutant cardiomyocytes. This study revealed that LONP1 safeguards metabolic shifts in the developing heart by controlling mitochondrial protein quality and implies that disrupted mitochondrial quality control may cause prenatal cardiomyopathy.
    Keywords:  ATF4; Glycolysis; Heart development; LONP1; Metabolic shift; Mitochondrial quality control; Oxidative phosphorylation
  10. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2022 ;2022 3644318
      Reduced testosterone level is a common feature of aging in men. Aging, as a risk factor for several neurodegenerative disorders, shows declined mitochondrial function and downregulated mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial dynamics. Mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial dynamics are crucial in maintaining proper mitochondrial function. Supplementation with testosterone is conducive to improving mitochondrial function of males during aging. Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a regulator of redox homeostasis, is involved in the ameliorative effects of testosterone supplementation upon aging. To explore Nrf2 role in the effects of testosterone supplementation on mitochondrial function during aging, we studied the efficiency of testosterone supplementation in improving mitochondrial function of Nrf2 knockout- (KO-) aged male mice by analyzing the changes of mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial dynamics. It was found that wild-type- (WT-) aged male mice showed low mitochondrial function and expression levels of PGC-1α, NRF-1\NRF-2, and TFAM regulating mitochondrial biogenesis, as well as Drp1, Mfn1, and OPA1 controlling mitochondrial dynamics in the substantia nigra (SN). Nrf2 KO aggravated the defects above in SN of aged male mice. Testosterone supplementation to WT-aged male mice significantly ameliorated mitochondrial function and upregulated mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial dynamics, which were not shown in Nrf2 KO-aged male mice due to Nrf2 deficiency. Testosterone deficiency by gonadectomy (GDX) decreased mitochondrial function, downregulated mitochondrial biogenesis, and altered mitochondrial dynamics balance in young male mice. Supplementation with testosterone to Nrf2 KO-GDX mice only ameliorated the alterations above but did not reverse them to sham level. Nrf2 deficiency attenuated testosterone efficiency in ameliorating mitochondrial function in the SN of aged male mice through mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial dynamics to some extent. Activation of Nrf2 might contribute to testosterone-upregulating mitochondrial biogenesis and mitochondrial dynamics in the SN during aging to produce efficient mitochondria for ATP production.
  11. Sci Transl Med. 2022 Mar 02. 14(634): eabl6992
      SERAC1 deficiency is associated with the mitochondrial 3-methylglutaconic aciduria with deafness, (hepatopathy), encephalopathy, and Leigh-like disease [MEGD(H)EL] syndrome, but the role of SERAC1 in mitochondrial physiology remains unknown. Here, we generated Serac1-/- mice that mimic the major diagnostic clinical and biochemical phenotypes of the MEGD(H)EL syndrome. We found that SERAC1 localizes to the outer mitochondrial membrane and is a protein component of the one-carbon cycle. By interacting with the mitochondrial serine transporter protein SFXN1, SERAC1 facilitated and was required for SFXN1-mediated serine transport from the cytosol to the mitochondria. Loss of SERAC1 impaired the one-carbon cycle and disrupted the balance of the nucleotide pool, which led to primary mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion in mice, HEK293T cells, and patient-derived immortalized lymphocyte cells due to insufficient supply of nucleotides. Moreover, both in vitro and in vivo supplementation of nucleosides/nucleotides restored mtDNA content and mitochondrial function. Collectively, our findings suggest that MEGD(H)EL syndrome shares both clinical and molecular features with the mtDNA depletion syndrome, and nucleotide supplementation may be an effective therapeutic strategy for MEGD(H)EL syndrome.
  12. Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2022 Mar 01.
      Musculoskeletal system disorders are among the most common age-related conditions worldwide. All associated with a degeneration of the supporting tissues under pro-inflammatory micro- and macro-environments, the erosion of cartilage and later of bones, are the main hallmarks of these pathologies. Affected chondrocytes, osteoblasts and synoviocytes, that are all critical actors in the bone and cartilage defects exhibit mitochondrial dysfunction that develops immediately following cartilage and bone injury, and leads to tissue residing specific cell death, cartilage degeneration, bone erosion, and ultimately post-traumatic musculoskeletal degeneration. Herein, we would like to introduce a novel concept for bone and cartilage related defects treatment based on artificial transfer of exogeneous functional mitochondria (AMT). Particularly, we believe that because mitochondrial failure critically contributes to degenerative disorders onset and progression, replacing malfunctioning mitochondria with their healthy and functional counterparts can represent a novel, and effective therapeutic solution for the management of bone and cartilage related degenerative diseases. Artificial mitochondrial transfer (AMT) may reverse the failed metabolic status of musculoskeletal tissues cells and reduce bone and cartilage tissues defects by restoring mitochondrial bioenergetics.
    Keywords:  ATM; Aging; Bone defect; Mitochondrial Dysfunction; OXPHOS; Synovitis
  13. Mol Med Rep. 2022 Apr;pii: 147. [Epub ahead of print]25(4):
      Mitochondria are key organelles of cellular energy metabolism; both mitochondrial function and metabolism determine the physiological function of cells and serve an essential role in immune responses. Key damage‑associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), such as mitochondrial DNA and N‑formyl peptides, released following severe trauma‑induced mitochondrial damage may affect the respiratory chain, enhance oxidative stress and activate systemic inflammatory responses via a variety of inflammation‑associated signaling pathways. Severe trauma can lead to sepsis, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome and death. The present review aimed to summarize the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying the effects of human mitochondrial injury‑released DAMPs on triggering systemic inflammatory responses and to determine their potential future clinical applications in preventing and treating sepsis.
    Keywords:  damage‑associated molecular patterns; intestinal barrier dysfunction; mitochondrial DNA; systemic inflammatory response syndrome
  14. J Vis Exp. 2022 Feb 10.
      Most of the cell's energy is obtained through the degradation of glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids by different pathways that converge on the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system, which is regulated in response to cellular demands. The lipid molecule Coenzyme Q (CoQ) is essential in this process by transferring electrons to complex III in the electron transport chain (ETC) through constant oxidation/reduction cycles. Mitochondria status and, ultimately, cellular health can be assessed by measuring ETC oxygen consumption using respirometric assays. These studies are typically performed in established or primary cell lines that have been cultured for several days. In both cases, the respiration parameters obtained may have deviated from normal physiological conditions in any given organ or tissue. Additionally, the intrinsic characteristics of cultured single fibers isolated from skeletal muscle impede this type of analysis. This paper presents an updated and detailed protocol for the analysis of respiration in freshly isolated mitochondria from mouse skeletal muscle. We also provide solutions to potential problems that could arise at any step of the process. The method presented here could be applied to compare oxygen consumption rates in diverse transgenic mouse models and study the mitochondrial response to drug treatments or other factors such as aging or sex. This is a feasible method to respond to crucial questions about mitochondrial bioenergetics metabolism and regulation.
  15. Autophagy. 2022 Feb 27. 1-12
      Mutations in the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) are ubiquitous in humans and can lead to a broad spectrum of disorders. However, due to the presence of multiple mtDNA molecules in the cell, co-existence of mutant and wild-type mtDNAs (termed heteroplasmy) can mask disease phenotype unless a threshold of mutant molecules is reached. Importantly, the mutant mtDNA level can change across lifespan as mtDNA segregates in an allele- and cell-specific fashion, potentially leading to disease. Segregation of mtDNA is mainly evident in hepatic cells, resulting in an age-dependent increase of mtDNA variants, including non-synonymous potentially deleterious mutations. Here we modeled mtDNA segregation using a well-established heteroplasmic mouse line with mtDNA of NZB/BINJ and C57BL/6N origin on a C57BL/6N nuclear background. This mouse line showed a pronounced age-dependent NZB mtDNA accumulation in the liver, thus leading to enhanced respiration capacity per mtDNA molecule. Remarkably, liver-specific atg7 (autophagy related 7) knockout abolished NZB mtDNA accumulat ion, resulting in close-to-neutral mtDNA segregation through development into adulthood. prkn (parkin RBR E3 ubiquitin protein ligase) knockout also partially prevented NZB mtDNA accumulation in the liver, but to a lesser extent. Hence, we propose that age-related liver mtDNA segregation is a consequence of macroautophagic clearance of the less-fit mtDNA. Considering that NZB/BINJ and C57BL/6N mtDNAs have a level of divergence comparable to that between human Eurasian and African mtDNAs, these findings have potential implications for humans, including the safe use of mitochondrial replacement therapy.
    Keywords:  Atg7; NZB; heteroplasmy; mitochondria; mitophagy; parkin
  16. Biomed Res Int. 2022 ;2022 7436577
      The mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) can repair and remove misfolded or unfolded proteins in mitochondria and enhance mitochondrial protein homeostasis. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by regular exercise is a crucial signal for promoting health, and skeletal muscle mitochondria are the primary source of ROS during exercise. To verify whether UPRmt is related to ROS produced by mitochondria in skeletal muscle during regular exercise, we adapted MitoTEMPO, mitochondrially targeted antioxidants, and ROS production by mitochondria. Our results showed that mitochondrial ROS is the key factor for activating UPRmt in different pathways.
  17. Neurochem Res. 2022 Feb 26.
      Parkinson's disease (PD), the main risk factor for which is age, is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases and imposes a substantial burden on affected individuals and the economy. While the aetiology of PD is still largely unclear, substantial evidence indicates that mitochondrial dysfunction, aggregation of α-synuclein (α-syn), oxidative stress, inflammation, and autophagy play major roles in the pathogenesis of PD. Sirtuins are NAD+-dependent protein deacetylases, includeing seven members, i.e., SIRT1-SIRT7. Among these sirtuins, SIRT3, SIRT4 and SIRT5 are located in mitochondria and are called mitochondrial sirtuins. Mitochondrial sirtuins regulate the activity and biological function of mitochondrial proteins through posttranslational modification of substrate proteins. Increasing evidence shows that mitochondrial sirtuins play an important role in degenerative diseases, including PD. Mitochondrial sirtuins exert a beneficial neuroprotective effect in various models of PD. This paper summarizes a large number of studies and discusses the latest research progress on the role of mitochondrial sirtuins in PD, focusing especially on the regulation of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC), oxidative stress, the inflammatory response and autophagy, to provide new insight into the pathogenesis of PD and new targets for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
    Keywords:  Autophagy; Inflammation; Mitochondrial respiratory chain; Mitochondrial sirtuins; PD; ROS
  18. Front Neurosci. 2022 ;16 814445
      Friedreich ataxia is a rare neurodegenerative disorder caused by insufficient levels of the essential mitochondrial protein frataxin. It is a severely debilitating disease that significantly impacts the quality of life of affected patients and reduces their life expectancy, however, an adequate cure is not yet available for patients. Frataxin function, although not thoroughly elucidated, is associated with assembly of iron-sulfur cluster and iron metabolism, therefore insufficient frataxin levels lead to reduced activity of many mitochondrial enzymes involved in the electron transport chain, impaired mitochondrial metabolism, reduced ATP production and inefficient anti-oxidant response. As a consequence, neurons progressively die and patients progressively lose their ability to coordinate movement and perform daily activities. Therapeutic strategies aim at restoring sufficient frataxin levels or at correcting some of the downstream consequences of frataxin deficiency. However, the classical pathways of drug discovery are challenging, require a significant amount of resources and time to reach the final approval, and present a high failure rate. Drug repositioning represents a viable alternative to boost the identification of a therapy, particularly for rare diseases where resources are often limited. In this review we will describe recent efforts aimed at the identification of a therapy for Friedreich ataxia through drug repositioning, and discuss the limitation of such strategies.
    Keywords:  drug development; drug repositioning; frataxin; friedreich ataxia; therapeutics
  19. Mol Genet Metab Rep. 2022 Mar;30 100847
      As a result of a founder effect, a Leigh syndrome variant called Leigh syndrome, French-Canadian type (LSFC, MIM / 220,111) is more frequent in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean (SLSJ), a geographically isolated region on northeastern Quebec, Canada. LSFC is a rare autosomal recessive mitochondrial neurodegenerative disorder due to damage in mitochondrial energy production. LSFC is caused by pathogenic variants in the nuclear gene leucine-rich pentatricopeptide repeat-containing (LRPPRC). Despite progress understanding the molecular mode of action of LRPPRC gene, there is no treatment for this disease. The present study aims to identify the biological pathways altered in the LSFC disorder through microarray-based transcriptomic profile analysis of twelve LSFC cell lines compared to twelve healthy ones, followed by gene ontology (GO) and pathway analyses. A set of 84 significantly differentially expressed genes were obtained (p ≥ 0.05; Fold change (Flc) ≥ 1.5). 45 genes were more expressed (53.57%) in LSFC cell lines compared to controls and 39 (46.43%) had lower expression levels. Gene ontology analysis highlighted altered expression of genes involved in the mitochondrial respiratory chain and energy production, glucose and lipids metabolism, oncogenesis, inflammation and immune response, cell growth and apoptosis, transcription, and signal transduction. Considering the metabolic nature of LSFC disease, genes included in the mitochondrial respiratory chain and energy production cluster stood out as the most important ones to be involved in LSFC mitochondrial disorder. In addition, the protein-protein interaction network indicated a strong interaction between the genes included in this cluster. The mitochondrial gene NDUFA4L2 (NADH dehydrogenase [ubiquinone] 1 alpha subcomplex, 4-like 2), with higher expression in LSFC cells, represents a target for functional studies to explain the role of this gene in LSFC disease. This work provides, for the first time, the LSFC gene expression profile in fibroblasts isolated from affected individuals. This represents a valuable resource to understand the pathogenic basis and consequences of LRPPRC dysfunction.
    Keywords:  ATP, adénosine-5'-triphosphate; COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; COX, cytochrome c-oxidase; Cytochrome c oxidase; DMEM, Dubelcco’s Modified Essential Medium; ETC, electron transport chain; Flc, fold change; GO, gene ontology; Gene expression; HES1, hairy and enhancer of split 1; HIF-1, hypoxia inducible factor-1; LRPPRC; LRPPRC, leucine-rich pentatricopeptide repeat-containing; LSFC, Leigh syndrome, French-Canadian type; Leigh syndrome; Leigh syndrome French-Canadian type (LSFC); Microarrays; Mitochondrial chain respiration; NAFLD, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; ND6, NADH dehydrogenase, subunit 6; NDUFA4L2; NDUFA4L2, NADH dehydrogenase [ubiquinone] 1 alpha subcomplex, 4-like 2; OXPHOS, oxidative phosphorylation; PFKFB4, 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 4; PPI, protein‐protein interaction; RMA, robust multi-array analysis; ROS, reactive oxygen species; RPL13A, ribosomal protein L13a; SLIRP, stem-loop interacting protein; SLSJ, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean; SRA, steroid receptor RNA activator; qRT-PCR, Real-time PCR; rare diseases
  20. Mol Med. 2022 Mar 04. 28(1): 28
      BACKGROUND: The underlying pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease is complex, involving different molecular pathways, including brain iron deposition and mitochondrial dysfunction. At a molecular level, these disease mechanisms are likely interconnected. Therefore, they offer potential strategies for disease-modifying treatments. We aimed to investigate subcortical brain iron deposition as a potential predictor of the bioenergetic status in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease.METHODS: Thirty patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease underwent multimodal MR imaging (T1, susceptibility-weighted imaging, SWI) and 31phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy imaging. SWI contrast-to-noise ratios served as a measure for brain iron deposition in the putamen, caudate, globus pallidus, and thalamus and were used in a multiple linear regression model to predict in-vivo energy metabolite ratios.
    RESULTS: Subcortical brain iron deposition, particularly in the putamen and globus pallidus, was highly predictive of the region-specific amount of high-energy-containing phosphorus metabolites in our subjects.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that brain iron deposition but not the variability of individual volumetric measurements are highly predictive of mitochondrial impairment in vivo. These findings offer the opportunity, e.g., by using chelating therapies, to improve mitochondrial bioenergetics in patients with idiopathic Parkinson's disease.
    Keywords:  Iron; Mitochondria; Parkinson's disease (PD)
  21. Pediatr Cardiol. 2022 Mar 03.
      Barth Syndrome (BTHS) is an X-linked mitochondrial cardioskeletal myopathy caused by defects in TAFAZZIN, a gene responsible for cardiolipin remodeling. Altered mitochondrial levels of cardiolipin lead to cardiomyopathy (CM), muscle weakness, exercise intolerance, and mortality. Cardiac risk factors predicting outcome are unknown. Therefore, we conducted a longitudinal observational study to determine risk factors for outcome in BTHS. Subjects with minimum two evaluations (or one followed by death or transplant) were included. Cardiac size, function, and QTc data were measured by echocardiography and electrocardiography at 7 time points from 2002 to 2018. Analysis included baseline, continuous, and categorical variables. Categorical risk factors included prolonged QTc, abnormal right ventricle fractional area change (RV FAC), left ventricle (LV) or RV non-compaction, and restrictive CM phenotype. The association between variables and cardiac death or transplant (CD/TX) was assessed. Median enrollment age was 7 years (range 0.5-22; n = 44). Transplant-free survival (TFS) was 74.4% at 15 years from first evaluation. The cohort demonstrated longitudinal declines in LV size and stroke volume z-scores (end-diastolic volume, p = 0.0002; stroke volume p < 0.0001), worsening RV FAC (p = 0.0405), and global longitudinal strain (GLS) (p = 0.0001) with stable ejection (EF) and shortening (FS) fraction. CD/TX subjects (n = 9) displayed worsening LV dilation (p = 0.0066), EF (p ≤ 0.0001), FS (p = 0.0028), and RV FAC (p = .0032) versus stability in TFS. Having ≥ 2 categorical risk factors predicted CD/TX (p = 0.0073). Over 15 years, 25% of BTHS subjects progressed to CD/TX. Those with progressive LV enlargement, dysfunction, and multiple cardiac risk factors warrant increased surveillance and intense therapy.
    Keywords:  Barth syndrome; Heart failure; Mitochondria transplantation; Myopathy; Natural history
  22. Ann Neurol. 2022 Feb 28.
      OBJECTIVE: Astrocytes play a significant role in the pathology of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Nevertheless, for ethical reasons, most studies in these cells were performed using the Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis model. As there are significant differences between human and mouse cells, we aimed here to better characterize astrocytes from patients with MS (PwMS), focusing mainly on mitochondrial function and cell metabolism.METHODS: We obtained and characterized induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived astrocytes from three PwMS and three unaffected controls, and performed electron microscopy, flow cytometry, cytokine and glutamate measurements, gene expression, in situ respiration, and metabolomics. We validated our findings using a single-nuclei RNA sequencing dataset.
    RESULTS: We detected several differences in MS astrocytes including: (i) enrichment of genes associated with neurodegeneration, (ii) increased mitochondrial fission, (iii) increased production of superoxide and MS-related proinflammatory chemokines, (iv) impaired uptake and enhanced release of glutamate, (v) increased electron transport capacity and proton leak, in line with the increased oxidative stress, and (vi) a distinct metabolic profile, with a deficiency in amino acid catabolism and increased sphingolipid metabolism, which have already been linked to MS.
    INTERPRETATION: Here we describe the metabolic profile of iPSC-derived astrocytes from PwMS and validate this model as a very powerful tool to study disease mechanisms and to perform non-invasive drug targeting assays in vitro. Our findings recapitulate several disease features described in patients and provide new mechanistic insights into the metabolic rewiring of astrocytes in MS, which could be targeted in future therapeutic studies. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  23. Front Mol Biosci. 2022 ;9 854321
      The mitochondrial ATP synthase is responsible for the production of cellular ATP, and it does so by harnessing the membrane potential of the mitochondria that is produced by the sequential oxidation of select cellular metabolites. Since the structural features of ATP synthase were first resolved nearly three decades ago, significant progress has been made in understanding its role in health and disease. Mitochondrial dysfunction is common to neurodegeneration, with elevated oxidative stress a hallmark of this dysfunction. The patterns of this oxidative stress, including molecular targets and the form of oxidative modification, can vary widely. In this mini review we discuss the oxidative modifications of ATP synthase that have been observed in Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease. Oxidative modifications of ATP synthase in Alzheimer's disease are well-documented, and there is a growing body of knowledge on the subject in Parkinson's disease. The consideration of ATP synthase as a pharmacological target in a variety of diseases underlines the importance of understanding these modifications, both as a potential target, and also as inhibitors of any pharmacological intervention.
    Keywords:  ATP synthase; mitochondria; neurodegenarative disease; oxidative phoshorylation; oxidative stress
  24. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2022 Mar 01. 22(1): 123-131
      OBJECTIVES: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have become seed cells and basic elements for bone regeneration and bone tissue engineering. The aim of the present study was to investigate the roles and mechanisms of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) on osteogenic differentiation of MSCs.METHODS: Primary MSCs were isolated from the femur and tibia bone of rats and then transfected with BMP-2 and PGC-1α adenovirus vectors. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and alizarin red staining were used to measure osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. Real-time PCR and western blot assays were performed to assess osteogenic differentiation-related proteins levels. The activities of mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes I and II and mitochondrial fluorescence intensity were used to explore mitochondria status during osteogenic differentiation of MSCs.
    RESULTS: We found that the ability of BMP-2 overexpressed (OE) group osteogenic differentiation was significantly improved, compared with the negative control (NC) group. The results also indicated that BMP-2 can promote the activity of mitochondria. We further used the gain- and loss-of-function approaches to demonstrate that BMP-2 promotes mitochondrial activity by up-regulating PGC-1α to promote osteogenic differentiation of MSCs.
    CONCLUSIONS: These results explored the important role of BMP-2 in the osteoblast differentiation of MSCs from a new perspective, providing a theoretical and experimental basis for bone defect and repair.
    Keywords:  BMP-2; MSCs; Mitochondrial Activity; Osteoblast Differentiation; PGC-1α