bims-mitmed Biomed News
on Mitochondrial medicine
Issue of 2022‒06‒19
nineteen papers selected by
Dario Brunetti
Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Neurologico

  1. Front Genet. 2022 ;13 906667
      Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance disorders embrace a broad range of clinical syndromes distinguished by the evidence of mtDNA depletion and/or deletions in affected tissues. Among the nuclear genes associated with mtDNA maintenance disorders, RNASEH1 mutations produce a homogeneous phenotype, with progressive external ophthalmoplegia (PEO), ptosis, limb weakness, cerebellar ataxia, and dysphagia. The encoded enzyme, ribonuclease H1, is involved in mtDNA replication, whose impairment leads to an increase in replication intermediates resulting from mtDNA replication slowdown. Here, we describe two unrelated Italian probands (Patient 1 and Patient 2) affected by chronic PEO, ptosis, and muscle weakness. Cerebellar features and severe dysphagia requiring enteral feeding were observed in one patient. In both cases, muscle biopsy revealed diffuse mitochondrial abnormalities and multiple mtDNA deletions. A targeted next-generation sequencing analysis revealed the homozygous RNASEH1 mutations c.129-3C>G and c.424G>A in patients 1 and 2, respectively. The c.129-3C>G substitution has never been described as disease-related and resulted in the loss of exon 2 in Patient 1 muscle RNASEH1 transcript. Overall, we recommend implementing the use of high-throughput sequencing approaches in the clinical setting to reach genetic diagnosis in case of suspected presentations with impaired mtDNA homeostasis.
    Keywords:  CPEO; RNASEH1; mitochondrial DNA; mtDNA maintenance disorders; myopathy; ribonuclease H1
  2. Neurol Sci. 2022 Jun 14.
      BACKGROUND: Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a common mitochondrial disease. More than 30 variants in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) have been previously described in LHON. However, the pathogenicity of some variants remains unclear. Herein, we report a 19-year-old boy presenting unique LHON plus dystonia syndrome with the rare m.4136A > G and m.4160 T > C variants and elucidate the molecular pathomechanisms of the m.4160 T > C mutation.METHODS: We performed clinical, molecular genetic analysis, and biochemical investigation in the patient's different tissues and cybrid cell lines.
    RESULTS: The optical coherence tomography (OCT) and optical coherence tomography angiography (OCTA) of the patient showed typical pathological changes-a significant decrease in the 17 thickness of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and the ganglion cell complex (GCC). Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) found noteworthy abnormal signals in the basal ganglia region. The genetic analysis revealed that the m.4160 T > C variant was heteroplasmic in the blood (80.2%), urine sediment (90.8%), and oral mucosal (81.7%) samples of the patient. In contrast, the m.4136A > G variant was homoplasmic in all available tissues. Biochemical and bioenergetic investigations showed decreased mitochondrial protein levels and mitochondrial respiration deficiency in cybrid cells harboring these variants.
    CONCLUSIONS: This research provided more comprehensive data to help gain insight into the pathogenicity of the m.4160 T > C variant and broaden our view on the LHON plus phenotype.
    Keywords:  Complex I; Dystonia; LHON; Mitochondrial DNA; Mutation; ND1 gene
  3. Ageing Res Rev. 2022 Jun 14. pii: S1568-1637(22)00109-X. [Epub ahead of print] 101667
      Mitochondria have been largely described as the powerhouse of the cell and recent findings demonstrate that this organelle is fundamental for neurogenesis. The mechanisms underlying neural stem cells (NSCs) maintenance and differentiation are highly regulated by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Mitochondrial-mediated switch from glycolysis to oxidative phosphorylation, accompanied by mitochondrial remodeling and dynamics are vital to NSCs fate. Deregulation of mitochondrial proteins, mitochondrial DNA, function, fission/fusion and metabolism underly several neurodegenerative diseases; data show that these impairments are already present in early developmental stages and NSC fate decisions. However, little is known about mitochondrial role in neurogenesis. In this Review, we describe the recent evidence covering mitochondrial role in neurogenesis, its impact in selected neurodegenerative diseases, for which aging is the major risk factor, and the recent advances in stem cell-based therapies that may alleviate neurodegenerative disorders-related neuronal deregulation through improvement of mitochondrial function and dynamics.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria; Neural Stem Cells; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Neurogenesis
  4. J Clin Invest. 2022 Jun 14. pii: e157504. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial stress triggers a response in the cell's mitochondria and nucleus, but how these stress responses are coordinated in vivo is poorly understood. Here, we characterize a family with myopathy caused by a dominant p.G58R mutation in the mitochondrial protein CHCHD10. To understand the disease etiology, we developed a knock-in mouse model and found that mutant CHCHD10 aggregates in affected tissues, applying a toxic protein stress to the inner mitochondrial membrane. Unexpectedly, survival of CHCHD10 knock-in mice depended on a protective stress response mediated by OMA1. The OMA1 stress response acted both locally within mitochondria, causing mitochondrial fragmentation, and signaled outside the mitochondria, activating the integrated stress response through cleavage of DELE1. We additionally identified an isoform switch in the terminal complex of the electron transport chain as a component of this response. Our results demonstrate that OMA1 is critical for neonatal survival conditionally in the setting of inner mitochondrial membrane stress, coordinating local and global stress responses to reshape the mitochondrial network and proteome.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Cell stress; Genetics; Mitochondria; Proteases
  5. Neurotox Res. 2022 Jun 14.
      An inherent challenge that mitochondria face is the continuous exposure to diverse stresses which increase their likelihood of dysregulation. In response, human cells have evolved sophisticated quality control mechanisms to identify and eliminate abnormal dysfunctional mitochondria. One pivotal mitochondrial quality control pathway is PINK1/Parkin-dependent mitophagy which mediates the selective removal of the dysfunctional mitochondria from the cell by autophagy. PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) is a mitochondrial Ser/Thr kinase that was originally identified as a gene responsible for autosomal recessive early-onset Parkinson's disease (PD). Notably, upon failure of mitochondrial import, Parkin, another autosomal-recessive PD gene, is recruited to mitochondria and mediates the autophagic clearance of deregulated mitochondria. Importantly, recruitment of Parkin to damaged mitochondria hinges on the accumulation of PINK1 on the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM). Normally, PINK1 is imported from the cytosol through the translocase of the outer membrane (TOM) complex, a large multimeric channel responsible for the import of most mitochondrial proteins. After import, PINK1 is rapidly degraded. Thus, at steady-state, PINK1 levels are kept low. However, upon mitochondrial import failure, PINK1 accumulates and forms a high-molecular weight > 700 kDa complex with TOM on the OMM. Thus, PINK1 functions as sensor, tagging dysfunctional mitochondria for Parkin-mediated mitophagy. Although much has been learned about the function of PINK1 in mitophagy, the biochemical and structural basis of negative regulation of PINK1 operation and functions is far from clear. Recent work unveiled new players as PTEN-l as negative regulator of PINK1 function. Herein, we review key aspects of mitophagy and PINK1/Parkin-mediated mitophagy with highlighting the role of negative regulation of PINK1 function and presenting some of the key future directions in PD cell biology.
    Keywords:  Mitochondrial quality control; Mitophagy; Neurodegeneration; PINK1; PTEN-L; Parkin; Protein degradation; Protein quality control
  6. EMBO Rep. 2022 Jun 14. e54825
      The mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) is composed of four multiheteromeric enzyme complexes. According to the endosymbiotic origin of mitochondria, eukaryotic MRC derives from ancestral proteobacterial respiratory structures consisting of a minimal set of complexes formed by a few subunits associated with redox prosthetic groups. These enzymes, which are the "core" redox centers of respiration, acquired additional subunits, and increased their complexity throughout evolution. Cytochrome c oxidase (COX), the terminal component of MRC, has a highly interspecific heterogeneous composition. Mammalian COX consists of 14 different polypeptides, of which COX7B is considered the evolutionarily youngest subunit. We applied proteomic, biochemical, and genetic approaches to investigate the COX composition in the invertebrate model Drosophila melanogaster. We identified and characterized a novel subunit which is widely different in amino acid sequence, but similar in secondary and tertiary structures to COX7B, and provided evidence that this object is in fact replacing the latter subunit in virtually all protostome invertebrates. These results demonstrate that although individual structures may differ the composition of COX is functionally conserved between vertebrate and invertebrate species.
    Keywords:   D. melanogaster ; COX7B; cytochrome c oxidase; mitochondria; respiratory chain
  7. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2022 Jun 17. 13(1): 260
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial dysfunction and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). However, a deeper understanding is required to determine the contribution of mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired mitochondrial autophagy (mitophagy) to RPE damage and AMD pathobiology. In this study, we model the impact of a prototypical systemic mitochondrial defect, mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), in RPE health and homeostasis as an in vitro model for impaired mitochondrial bioenergetics.METHODS: We used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from skin biopsies of MELAS patients (m.3243A > G tRNA leu mutation) with different levels of mtDNA heteroplasmy and differentiated them into RPE cells. Mitochondrial depletion of ARPE-19 cells (p0 cells) was also performed using 50 ng/mL ethidium bromide (EtBr) and 50 mg/ml uridine. Cell fusion of the human platelets with the p0 cells performed using polyethylene glycol (PEG)/suspension essential medium (SMEM) mixture to generate platelet/RPE "cybrids." Confocal microscopy, FLowSight Imaging cytometry, and Seahorse XF Mito Stress test were used to analyze mitochondrial function. Western Blotting was used to analyze expression of autophagy and mitophagy proteins.
    RESULTS: We found that MELAS iPSC-derived RPE cells exhibited key characteristics of native RPE. We observed heteroplasmy-dependent impairment of mitochondrial bioenergetics and reliance on glycolysis for generating energy in the MELAS iPSC-derived RPE. The degree of heteroplasmy was directly associated with increased activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), reduced adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα) activation, and decreased autophagic activity. In addition, impaired autophagy was associated with aberrant lysosomal function, and failure of mitochondrial recycling. The mitochondria-depleted p0 cells replicated the effects on autophagy impairment and aberrant STAT3/AMPKα signaling and showed reduced mitochondrial respiration, demonstrating phenotypic similarities between p0 and MELAS iPSC-derived RPE cells.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our studies demonstrate that the MELAS iPSC-derived disease models are powerful tools for dissecting the molecular mechanisms by which mitochondrial DNA alterations influence RPE function in aging and macular degeneration, and for testing novel therapeutics in patients harboring the MELAS genotype.
    Keywords:  AMPKα; Age-related macular degeneration; Autophagy flux; MELAS; Mitochondrial heteroplasmy; Mitophagy; PGC-1α; Prom1/CD133; Regenerative medicine; iPSC-derived retinal pigment epithelium
  8. Sci Adv. 2022 Jun 17. 8(24): eabl8070
      Eggs contain about 200,000 mitochondria that generate adenosine triphosphate and metabolites essential for oocyte development. Mitochondria also integrate metabolism and transcription via metabolites that regulate epigenetic modifiers, but there is no direct evidence linking oocyte mitochondrial function to the maternal epigenome and subsequent embryo development. Here, we have disrupted oocyte mitochondrial function via deletion of the mitochondrial fission factor Drp1. Fission-deficient oocytes exhibit a high frequency of failure in peri- and postimplantation development. This is associated with altered mitochondrial function, changes in the oocyte transcriptome and proteome, altered subcortical maternal complex, and a decrease in oocyte DNA methylation and H3K27me3. Transplanting pronuclei of fertilized Drp1 knockout oocytes to normal ooplasm fails to rescue embryonic lethality. We conclude that mitochondrial function plays a role in establishing the maternal epigenome, with serious consequences for embryo development.
  9. Mol Metab. 2022 Jun 09. pii: S2212-8778(22)00095-3. [Epub ahead of print] 101526
      OBJECTIVE: Uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) catalyses mitochondrial proton leak in brown adipose tissue to facilitate nutrient oxidation for heat production, and may combat metabolic disease if activated in humans. During the adrenergic stimulation of brown adipocytes, free fatty acids generated from lipolysis activate UCP1 via an unclear interaction. Here, we set out to characterise activator binding to purified UCP1 to clarify the activation process, discern novel activators and the potential to target UCP1.METHODS: We assessed ligand binding to purified UCP1 by protein thermostability shift analysis, which unlike many conventional approaches can inform on the binding of hydrophobic ligands to membrane proteins. A detailed activator interaction analysis and screening approach was carried out, supported by investigations of UCP1 activity in liposomes, isolated brown fat mitochondria and UCP1 expression-controlled cell lines.
    RESULTS: We reveal that fatty acids and other activators influence UCP1 through a specific destabilising interaction, behaving as transport substrates that shift the protein to a less stable conformation of a transport cycle. Through the detection of specific stability shifts in screens, we identify novel activators, including the over-the-counter drug ibuprofen, where ligand analysis indicates that UCP1 has a relatively wide structural specificity for interacting molecules. Ibuprofen successfully induced UCP1 activity in liposomes, isolated brown fat mitochondria and UCP1-expressing HEK293 cells but not in cultured brown adipocytes, suggesting drug delivery differs in each cell type.
    CONCLUSIONS: These findings clarify the nature of the activator-UCP1 interaction and demonstrate that the targeting of UCP1 in cells by approved drugs is in principle achievable as a therapeutic avenue, but requires variants with more effective delivery in brown adipocytes.
    Keywords:  Brown adipose tissue; Differential scanning fluorimetry; Energy expenditure; Ligand binding; Mitochondrial carrier; Proton transport; Thermal stability assay
  10. Free Radic Biol Med. 2022 Jun 14. pii: S0891-5849(22)00213-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      Adenine Nucleotide Translocator isoforms (ANTs) exchange ADP/ATP across the inner mitochondrial membrane, are also voltage-activated proton channels and regulate mitophagy and apoptosis. The ANT1 isoform predominates in heart and muscle while ANT2 is systemic. Here, we report the creation of Ant mutant mouse myoblast cell lines with normal Ant1 and Ant2 genes, deficient in either Ant1 or Ant2, and deficient in both the Ant1 and Ant2 genes. These cell lines are immortal under permissive conditions (IFN-γ + serum at 32 °C) permitting expansion but return to normal myoblasts that can be differentiated into myotubes at 37 °C. With this system we were able to complement our Ant1 mutant studies by demonstrating that ANT2 is important for myoblast to myotube differentiation and myotube mitochondrial respiration. ANT2 is also important in, the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and antioxidant defenses. in association with increased oxidative stress response and modulation for Ca++ sequestration and activation of the mitochondrial permeability transition (mtPTP) pore during cell differentiation.
  11. Methods Mol Biol. 2022 ;2528 173-202
      R-loops forming inadvertently during transcription can threaten genome stability, but R-loops are also formed intentionally, as a means of regulating transcription and other aspects of DNA metabolism. The study of R-loops in mitochondria is in its infancy, and yet there is already clear evidence that they are predominantly located in the major regulatory region of the mammalian mitochondrial genome. Here, we describe how mitochondrial R-loops have been characterized to date, with the emphasis on the problems of their being extremely labile, and how to minimize their loss during extraction. The oft-overlooked issues of RNA-DNA hybrids not being synonymous with R-loops, and adventitious RNA hybridization to DNA, are tackled head on; and possible new approaches are described and placed in the context of future research lines that could reveal the detailed roles of R-loops in the metabolism of mitochondrial DNA.
    Keywords:  Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial DNA replication; Mitochondrial transcription; R-loop; RNA–DNA hybrid
  12. Life Sci Alliance. 2022 Oct;pii: e202201478. [Epub ahead of print]5(10):
      Ion fluxes across the inner mitochondrial membrane control mitochondrial volume, energy production, and apoptosis. TMBIM5, a highly conserved protein with homology to putative pH-dependent ion channels, is involved in the maintenance of mitochondrial cristae architecture, ATP production, and apoptosis. Here, we demonstrate that overexpressed TMBIM5 can mediate mitochondrial calcium uptake. Under steady-state conditions, loss of TMBIM5 results in increased potassium and reduced proton levels in the mitochondrial matrix caused by attenuated exchange of these ions. To identify the in vivo consequences of TMBIM5 dysfunction, we generated mice carrying a mutation in the channel pore. These mutant mice display increased embryonic or perinatal lethality and a skeletal myopathy which strongly correlates with tissue-specific disruption of cristae architecture, early opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore, reduced calcium uptake capability, and mitochondrial swelling. Our results demonstrate that TMBIM5 is an essential and important part of the mitochondrial ion transport system machinery with particular importance for embryonic development and muscle function.
  13. Sci Rep. 2022 Jun 16. 12(1): 10092
      The most accepted hypothesis in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the amyloid cascade which establishes that Aβ accumulation may induce the disease development. This accumulation may occur years before the clinical symptoms but it has not been elucidated if this accumulation is the cause or the consequence of AD. It is however, clear that Aβ accumulation exerts toxic effects in the cerebral cells. It is important then to investigate all possible associated events that may help to design new therapeutic strategies to defeat or ameliorate the symptoms in AD. Alterations in the mitochondrial physiology have been found in AD but it is not still clear if they could be an early event in the disease progression associated to amyloidosis or other conditions. Using APP/PS1 mice, our results support published evidence and show imbalances in the mitochondrial dynamics in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of these mice representing very early events in the disease progression. We demonstrate in cellular models that these imbalances are consequence of Aβ accumulation that ultimately induce increased mitophagy, a mechanism which selectively removes damaged mitochondria by autophagy. Along with increased mitophagy, we also found that Aβ independently increases autophagy in APP/PS1 mice. Therefore, mitochondrial dysfunction could be an early feature in AD, associated with amyloid overload.
  14. Front Pediatr. 2022 ;10 889089
      Background: The AIFM1 gene is located on chromosome Xq26.1 and encodes a flavoprotein essential for nuclear disassembly in apoptotic cells. Mutations in this gene can cause variable clinical phenotypes, but genotype-phenotype correlations of AIFM1-related disorder have not yet been fully determined because of the clinical scarcity.Case Presentation: We describe a 4-month-old infant with mitochondrial encephalopathy, carrying a novel intronic variant in AIFM1 (NM_004208.4: c.1164 + 5G > A). TA cloning of the complementary DNA (cDNA) and Sanger sequencing revealed the simultaneous presence of an aberrant transcript with exon 11 skipping (89 bp) and a normal transcript through analysis of mRNA extracted from the patient's fibroblasts, which is consistent with direct RNA sequencing results.
    Conclusion: We verified the pathogenic effect of the AIFM1 c.1164 + 5G > A splicing variant, which disturbed normal mRNA splicing. Our findings expand the mutation spectrum of AIFM1 and point out the necessity of intronic sequence analysis and the importance for integrative functional studies in the interpretation of sequence variants.
    Keywords:  AIFM1; fatal encephalomyopathy; mitochondrial disease; novel intronic mutation; whole-exome sequencing
  15. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Jun 21. 119(25): e2122477119
      Alcohol intoxication at early ages is a risk factor for the development of addictive behavior. To uncover neuronal molecular correlates of acute ethanol intoxication, we used stable-isotope-labeled mice combined with quantitative mass spectrometry to screen more than 2,000 hippocampal proteins, of which 72 changed synaptic abundance up to twofold after ethanol exposure. Among those were mitochondrial proteins and proteins important for neuronal morphology, including MAP6 and ankyrin-G. Based on these candidate proteins, we found acute and lasting molecular, cellular, and behavioral changes following a single intoxication in alcohol-naïve mice. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed a shortening of axon initial segments. Longitudinal two-photon in vivo imaging showed increased synaptic dynamics and mitochondrial trafficking in axons. Knockdown of mitochondrial trafficking in dopaminergic neurons abolished conditioned alcohol preference in Drosophila flies. This study introduces mitochondrial trafficking as a process implicated in reward learning and highlights the potential of high-resolution proteomics to identify cellular mechanisms relevant for addictive behavior.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; addiction; ethanol; plasticity; two-photon microscopy
  16. Sci Rep. 2022 Jun 15. 12(1): 9977
      Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a complex, chronic, relapsing and heterogeneous disease induced by environmental, genomic, microbial and immunological factors. MCJ is a mitochondrial protein that regulates the metabolic status of macrophages and their response to translocated bacteria. Previously, an acute murine model of DSS-induced colitis showed increased disease severity due to MCJ deficiency. Unexpectedly, we now show that MCJ-deficient mice have augmented tumor necrosis factor α converting enzyme (TACE) activity in the context of chronic inflammation. This adaptative change likely affects the balance between soluble and transmembrane TNF and supports the association of the soluble form and a milder phenotype. Interestingly, the general shifts in microbial composition previously observed during acute inflammation were absent in the chronic model of inflammation in MCJ-deficient mice. However, the lack of the mitochondrial protein resulted in increased alpha diversity and the reduction in critical microbial members associated with inflammation, such as Ruminococcus gnavus, which could be associated with TACE activity. These results provide evidence of the dynamic metabolic adaptation of the colon tissue to chronic inflammatory changes mediated by the control of mitochondrial function.
  17. Cell Prolif. 2022 Jun 13. e13274
      OBJECTIVES: Patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are materials that can be used for autologous stem cell therapy. We screened mtDNA mutations in iPSCs and iPSC-derived neuronal cells from patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). Also, we investigated whether the mutations could affect mitochondrial function and deposition of β-amyloid (Aβ) in differentiated neuronal cells.MATERIALS AND METHODS: mtDNA mutations were measured and compared among iPSCs and iPSC-derived neuronal cells. The selected iPSCs carrying mtDNA mutations were subcloned, and then their growth rate and neuronal differentiation pattern were analyzed. The differentiated cells were measured for mitochondrial respiration and membrane potential, as well as deposition of Aβ.
    RESULTS: Most iPSCs from subjects with AD harbored ≥1 mtDNA mutations, and the number of mutations was significantly higher than that from umbilical cord blood. About 35% and 40% of mutations in iPSCs were shared with isogenic iPSCs and their differentiated neuronal precursor cells, respectively, with similar or different heteroplasmy. Furthermore, the mutations in clonal iPSCs were stable during extended culture and neuronal differentiation. Finally, mtDNA mutations could induce a growth advantage with higher viability and proliferation, lower mitochondrial respiration and membrane potential, as well as increased Aβ deposition.
    CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that mtDNA mutations in patients with AD could lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and accelerated Aβ deposition. Therefore, early screening for mtDNA mutations in iPSC lines would be essential for developing autologous cell therapy or drug screening for patients with AD.
  18. Hum Mol Genet. 2022 Jun 16. pii: ddac134. [Epub ahead of print]
      Frataxin deficiency in Friedreich's ataxia results from transcriptional downregulation of the FXN gene caused by expansion of the intronic trinucleotide GAA repeats. We used multiple transcriptomic approaches to determine the molecular mechanism of transcription inhibition caused by long GAAs. We uncovered that transcription of FXN in patient cells is prematurely terminated upstream of the expanded repeats leading to formation of a novel, truncated and stable RNA. This FXN early terminated transcript, (FXN-ett) undergoes alternative, non-productive splicing and does not contribute to the synthesis of functional frataxin. The level the FXN-ett RNA directly correlates with the length of the longer of the two expanded GAA tracts. Targeting GAAs with antisense oligonucleotides or excision of the repeats eliminates the transcription impediment, diminishes expression of the aberrant FXN-ett, while increasing levels of FXN mRNA and frataxin. Non-productive transcription may represent a common phenomenon and attractive therapeutic target in diseases caused by repeat-mediated transcription aberrations.
  19. Mol Brain. 2022 Jun 14. 15(1): 54
      Parkinson's disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, is characterized by the loss of nigrostriatal dopamine neurons. FBXO7 (F-box protein only 7) (PARK15) mutations cause early-onset Parkinson's disease. FBXO7 is a subunit of the SCF (SKP1/cullin-1/F-box protein) E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, but its neuronal relevance and function have not been elucidated. To determine its function in neurons, we generated neuronal cell-specific FBXO7 conditional knockout mice (FBXO7flox/flox: Nestin-Cre) by crossing previously characterized FBXO7 floxed mice (FBXO7flox/flox) with Nestin-Cre mice (Nestin-Cre). The resultant Fbxo7flox/flox: Nestin-Cre mice showed juvenile motor dysfunction, including hindlimb defects and decreased numbers of dopaminergic neurons. Fragmented mitochondria were observed in dopaminergic and cortical neurons. Furthermore, p62- and synuclein-positive Lewy body-like aggregates were identified in neurons. Our findings highlight the unexpected role of the homeostatic level of p62, which is regulated by a non-autophagic system that includes the ubiquitin-proteasome system, in controlling intracellular inclusion body formation. These data indicate that the pathologic processes associated with the proteolytic and mitochondrial degradation systems play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of PD.
    Keywords:  Dopaminergic neuron; FBXO7; Mitochondria; Parkinson’s disease; Synuclein; p62