bims-nenemi Biomed News
on Neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and mitochondria
Issue of 2022‒02‒13
twenty-one papers selected by
Marco Tigano
Thomas Jefferson University

  1. Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Res. 2022 Feb 04. pii: S0167-4889(22)00024-6. [Epub ahead of print] 119233
      Mitochondrion is a double membrane organelle that is responsible for cellular respiration and production of most of the ATP in eukaryotic cells. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is the genetic material carried by mitochondria, which encodes some essential subunits of respiratory complexes independent of nuclear DNA. Normally, mtDNA binds to certain proteins to form a nucleoid that is stable in mitochondria. Nevertheless, a variety of physiological or pathological stresses can cause mtDNA damage, and the accumulation of damaged mtDNA in mitochondria leads to mitochondrial dysfunction, which triggers the occurrence of mitochondrial diseases in vivo. In response to mtDNA damage, cell initiates multiple pathways including mtDNA repair, degradation, clearance and release, to recover mtDNA, and maintain mitochondrial quality and cell homeostasis. In this review, we provide our current understanding of the fate of damaged mtDNA, focus on the pathways and mechanisms of removing damaged mtDNA in the cell.
    Keywords:  Mitochondria DNA (mtDNA); Mitocytosis; Mitophagy; mtDNA release
  2. Am J Cancer Res. 2022 ;12(1): 327-336
      Six Transmembrane Protein of Prostate 2 (STAMP2) is critical for prostate cancer (PCa) growth. We previously showed that STAMP2 regulates the expression of stress induced transcription factor ATF4, which is implicated in starvation-induced autophagy. We therefore investigated whether STAMP2 is involved in the regulation of autophagy in PCa cells. Here we show that STAMP2 suppresses autophagy in PCa cells through modulation of the integrated stress response axis. We also find that STAMP2 regulates mitochondrial respiration. These findings suggest that STAMP2 has significant metabolic effects through mitochondrial function and autophagy, both of which support PCa growth.
    Keywords:  ATF4; Prostate cancer; STAMP2; autophagy; eIF2α; integrated stress response; mitochondria
  3. Nat Commun. 2022 Feb 08. 13(1): 750
      Mitochondria host key metabolic processes vital for cellular energy provision and are central to cell fate decisions. They are subjected to unique genetic control by both nuclear DNA and their own multi-copy genome - mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Mutations in mtDNA often lead to clinically heterogeneous, maternally inherited diseases that display different organ-specific presentation at any stage of life. For a long time, genetic manipulation of mammalian mtDNA has posed a major challenge, impeding our ability to understand the basic mitochondrial biology and mechanisms underpinning mitochondrial disease. However, an important new tool for mtDNA mutagenesis has emerged recently, namely double-stranded DNA deaminase (DddA)-derived cytosine base editor (DdCBE). Here, we test this emerging tool for in vivo use, by delivering DdCBEs into mouse heart using adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors and show that it can install desired mtDNA edits in adult and neonatal mice. This work provides proof-of-concept for use of DdCBEs to mutagenize mtDNA in vivo in post-mitotic tissues and provides crucial insights into potential translation to human somatic gene correction therapies to treat primary mitochondrial disease phenotypes.
  4. Nat Aging. 2021 Sep;1(9): 760-768
      Healthy aging requires the coordination of numerous stress signaling pathways that converge on the protein homeostasis network. The Integrated Stress Response (ISR) is activated by diverse stimuli, leading to phosphorylation of the eukaryotic translation initiation factor elF2 in its α-subunit. Under replete conditions, elF2 orchestrates 5' cap-dependent mRNA translation and is thus responsible for general protein synthesis. elF2α phosphorylation, the key event of the ISR, reduces global mRNA translation while enhancing the expression of a signature set of stress response genes. Despite the critical role of protein quality control in healthy aging and in numerous longevity pathways, the role of the ISR in longevity remains largely unexplored. ISR activity increases with age, suggesting a potential link with the aging process. Although decreased protein biosynthesis, which occurs during ISR activation, have been linked to lifespan extension, recent data show that lifespan is limited by the ISR as its inhibition extends survival in nematodes and enhances cognitive function in aged mice. Here we survey how aging affects the ISR, the role of the ISR in modulating aging, and pharmacological interventions to tune the ISR. Finally, we will explore the ISR as a plausible target for clinical interventions in aging and age-related disease.
  5. EMBO J. 2022 Feb 11. e109169
      Hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2 ) has key signaling roles at physiological levels, while causing molecular damage at elevated concentrations. H2 O2 production by mitochondria is implicated in regulating processes inside and outside these organelles. However, it remains unclear whether and how mitochondria in intact cells release H2 O2 . Here, we employed a genetically encoded high-affinity H2 O2 sensor, HyPer7, in mammalian tissue culture cells to investigate different modes of mitochondrial H2 O2 release. We found substantial heterogeneity of HyPer7 dynamics between individual cells. We further observed mitochondria-released H2 O2 directly at the surface of the organelle and in the bulk cytosol, but not in the nucleus or at the plasma membrane, pointing to steep gradients emanating from mitochondria. Gradient formation is controlled by cytosolic peroxiredoxins, which act redundantly and with a substantial reserve capacity. Dynamic adaptation of cytosolic thioredoxin reductase levels during metabolic changes results in improved H2 O2 handling and explains previously observed differences between cell types. Our data suggest that H2 O2 -mediated signaling is initiated only in close proximity to mitochondria and under specific metabolic conditions.
    Keywords:  HyPer7; hydrogen peroxide release; mitochondria; peroxiredoxin
  6. Stem Cell Reports. 2022 Feb 01. pii: S2213-6711(22)00055-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are fundamental but complex determinants for hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) maintenance. However, the factors involved in the regulation of mitochondrial metabolism in HSCs and the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. Here, we identify sterol regulatory element binding factor-1c (Srebf1c) as a key factor in maintaining HSC biology under both steady-state and stress conditions. Srebf1c knockout (Srebf1c-/-) mice display increased phenotypic HSCs and less HSC quiescence. In addition, Srebf1c deletion compromises the function and survival of HSCs in competitive transplantation or following chemotherapy and irradiation. Mechanistically, SREBF1c restrains the excessive activation of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and mitochondrial metabolism in HSCs by regulating the expression of tuberous sclerosis complex 1 (Tsc1). Our study demonstrates that Srebf1c plays an important role in regulating HSC fate via the TSC1-mTOR-mitochondria axis.
    Keywords:  Srebf1c; TSC1; hematopoietic stem cell; mTOR; mitochondrial metabolism
  7. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2022 ;2022 3745135
      Sodium butyrate has gained increasing attention for its vast beneficial effects. However, whether sodium butyrate could alleviate oxidative stress-induced intestinal dysfunction and mitochondrial damage of piglets and its underlying mechanism remains unclear. The present study used a hydrogen peroxide- (H2O2-) induced oxidative stress model to study whether sodium butyrate could alleviate oxidative stress, intestinal epithelium injury, and mitochondrial dysfunction of porcine intestinal epithelial cells (IPEC-J2) in AMPK-mitophagy-dependent pathway. The results indicated that sodium butyrate alleviated the H2O2-induced oxidative stress, decreased the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS), increased mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and mRNA expression of genes related to mitochondrial function, and inhibited the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c (Cyt c). Sodium butyrate reduced the protein expression of recombinant NLR family, pyrin domain-containing protein 3 (NLRP3) and fluorescein isothiocyanate dextran 4 kDa (FD4) permeability and increased transepithelial resistance (TER) and the protein expression of tight junction. Sodium butyrate increased the expression of light-chain-associated protein B (LC3B) and Beclin-1, reduced the expression of P62, and enhanced mitophagy. However, the use of AMPK inhibitor or mitophagy inhibitor weakened the protective effect of sodium butyrate on mitochondrial function and intestinal epithelium barrier function and suppressed the induction effect of sodium butyrate on mitophagy. In addition, we also found that after interference with AMPKα, the protective effect of sodium butyrate on IPEC-J2 cells treated with H2O2 was suppressed, indicating that AMPKα is necessary for sodium butyrate to exert its protective effect. In summary, these results revealed that sodium butyrate induced mitophagy by activating AMPK, thereby alleviating oxidative stress, intestinal epithelium barrier injury, and mitochondrial dysfunction induced by H2O2.
  8. Exp Mol Med. 2022 Feb 10.
      Low back pain (LBP) is a major musculoskeletal disorder and the socioeconomic problem with a high prevalence that mainly involves intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration, characterized by progressive nucleus pulposus (NP) cell death and the development of an inflammatory microenvironment in NP tissue. Excessively accumulated cytosolic DNA acts as a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) that is monitored by the cGAS-STING axis to trigger the immune response in many degenerative diseases. NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent pyroptosis is a type of inflammatory programmed death that promotes a chronic inflammatory response and tissue degeneration. However, the relationship between the cGAS-STING axis and NLRP3 inflammasome-induced pyroptosis in the pathogenesis of IVD degeneration remains unclear. Here, we used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and histopathology to demonstrate that cGAS, STING, and NLRP3 are associated with the degree of IVD degeneration. Oxidative stress induced cGAS-STING axis activation and NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated pyroptosis in a STING-dependent manner in human NP cells. Interestingly, the canonical morphological and functional characteristics of mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) opening with the cytosolic escape of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) were observed in human NP cells under oxidative stress. Furthermore, the administration of a specific pharmacological inhibitor of mPTP and self-mtDNA cytosolic leakage effectively reduced NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated pyroptotic NP cell death and microenvironmental inflammation in vitro and degenerative progression in a rat disc needle puncture model. Collectively, these data highlight the critical roles of the cGAS-STING-NLRP3 axis and pyroptosis in the progression of IVD degeneration and provide promising therapeutic approaches for discogenic LBP.
  9. Ophthalmic Surg Lasers Imaging Retina. 2022 Feb;53(2): 116-119
      The guanine-to-adenine substitution at nucleotide 1606 (G1606A) mutation in the mitochondrial DNA transfer RNA-valine gene has been reported to cause sensorineural deafness, ataxia, myoclonus, seizures, and mental retardation. This study hereby presents a single case report of a new retinal phenotype associated with this mutation: a middle-aged woman with retinal pigment epithelium stippling, atrophy, and peripapillary (retinal pigment epithelium) dropout on fundus examination. The patient was administered an empiric trial of a mitochondrial cocktail with close monitoring of her systemic symptoms. This study identified a novel G1606A mutation to cause early-onset macular pathology resembling that previously described in the A3243G mutation. [Ophthalmic Surg Lasers Imaging Retina. 2022;53:116-119.].
  10. Hum Mol Genet. 2022 Feb 11. pii: ddac040. [Epub ahead of print]
    Care4Rare Canada Consortium
      Mitochondrial diseases are a group of inherited diseases with highly varied and complex clinical presentations. Here, we report four individuals, including two siblings, affected by a progressive mitochondrial encephalopathy with biallelic variants in the cardiolipin biosynthesis gene CRLS1. Three affected individuals had a similar infantile presentation comprising progressive encephalopathy, bull's eye maculopathy, auditory neuropathy, diabetes insipidus, autonomic instability, cardiac defects and early death. The fourth affected individual presented with chronic encephalopathy with neurodevelopmental regression, congenital nystagmus with decreased vision, sensorineural hearing loss, failure to thrive and acquired microcephaly. Using patient-derived fibroblasts, we characterised cardiolipin synthase 1 (CRLS1) dysfunction that impaired mitochondrial morphology and biogenesis, providing functional evidence that the CRLS1 variants cause a mitochondrial phenotype. Lipid profiling in fibroblasts from two patients further confirmed the functional defect demonstrating reduced cardiolipin levels, altered acyl-chain composition and significantly increased levels of phosphatidylglycerol, the substrate of CRLS1. Proteomic profiling of patient cells and mouse Crls1 knockout cell lines identified both endoplasmic reticular and mitochondrial stress responses, and key features that distinguish between varying degrees of cardiolipin insufficiency. These findings support that deleterious variants in CRLS1 cause an autosomal recessive mitochondrial disease, presenting as a severe encephalopathy with multisystemic involvement. Furthermore, we identify key signatures in cardiolipin and proteome profiles across various degrees of cardiolipin loss, facilitating the use of omics technologies to guide a diagnosis for this mitochondrial disease.
  11. Sci Immunol. 2022 Feb 11. 7(68): eabi6763
      Proteasome dysfunction can lead to autoinflammatory disease associated with elevated type I interferon (IFN-αβ) and NF-κB signaling; however, the innate immune pathway driving this is currently unknown. Here, we identified protein kinase R (PKR) as an innate immune sensor for proteotoxic stress. PKR activation was observed in cellular models of decreased proteasome function and in multiple cell types from patients with proteasome-associated autoinflammatory disease (PRAAS). Furthermore, genetic deletion or small-molecule inhibition of PKR in vitro ameliorated inflammation driven by proteasome deficiency. In vivo, proteasome inhibitor-induced inflammatory gene transcription was blunted in PKR-deficient mice compared with littermate controls. PKR also acted as a rheostat for proteotoxic stress by triggering phosphorylation of eIF2α, which can prevent the translation of new proteins to restore homeostasis. Although traditionally known as a sensor of RNA, under conditions of proteasome dysfunction, PKR sensed the cytoplasmic accumulation of a known interactor, interleukin-24 (IL-24). When misfolded IL-24 egress into the cytosol was blocked by inhibition of the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation pathway, PKR activation and subsequent inflammatory signaling were blunted. Cytokines such as IL-24 are normally secreted from cells; therefore, cytoplasmic accumulation of IL-24 represents an internal danger-associated molecular pattern. Thus, we have identified a mechanism by which proteotoxic stress is detected, causing inflammation observed in the disease PRAAS.
  12. BMC Biol. 2022 Feb 09. 20(1): 40
      BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is present at high copy numbers in animal cells, and though characterized by a single haplotype in each individual due to maternal germline inheritance, deleterious mutations and intact mtDNA molecules frequently co-exist (heteroplasmy). A number of factors, such as replicative segregation, mitochondrial bottlenecks, and selection, may modulate the exitance of heteroplasmic mutations. Since such mutations may have pathological consequences, they likely survive and are inherited due to functional complementation via the intracellular mitochondrial network. Here, we hypothesized that compromised mitochondrial fusion would hamper such complementation, thereby affecting heteroplasmy inheritance.RESULTS: We assessed heteroplasmy levels in three Caenorhabditis elegans strains carrying different heteroplasmic mtDNA deletions (ΔmtDNA) in the background of mutant mitofusin (fzo-1). Animals displayed severe embryonic lethality and developmental delay. Strikingly, observed phenotypes were relieved during subsequent generations in association with complete loss of ΔmtDNA molecules. Moreover, deletion loss rates were negatively correlated with the size of mtDNA deletions, suggesting that mitochondrial fusion is essential and sensitive to the nature of the heteroplasmic mtDNA mutations. Introducing the ΔmtDNA into a fzo-1;pdr-1;+/ΔmtDNA (PARKIN ortholog) double mutant resulted in a skewed Mendelian progeny distribution, in contrast to the normal distribution in the fzo-1;+/ΔmtDNA mutant, and severely reduced brood size. Notably, the ΔmtDNA was lost across generations in association with improved phenotypes.
    CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, our findings show that when mitochondrial fusion is compromised, deleterious heteroplasmic mutations cannot evade natural selection while inherited through generations. Moreover, our findings underline the importance of cross-talk between mitochondrial fusion and mitophagy in modulating the inheritance of mtDNA heteroplasmy.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; Heteroplasmy inheritance; Mitofusin; PARKIN; fzo-1; mtDNA; pdr-1
  13. PLoS One. 2022 ;17(2): e0263606
      Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease of the central nervous system with genetics and environmental determinants. Studies focused on the neurogenetics of MS showed that mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations that can ultimately lead to mitochondrial dysfunction, alter brain energy metabolism and cause neurodegeneration. We analyzed the whole mitochondrial genome using next-generation sequencing (NGS) from 47 Saudi individuals, 23 patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 24 healthy controls to identify mtDNA disease-related mutations/variants. A large number of variants were detected in the D-loop and coding genes of mtDNA. While distinct unique variants were only present in patients or only occur in controls, a number of common variants were shared among the two groups. The prevalence of some common variants differed significantly between patients and controls, thus could be implicated in susceptibility to MS. Of the unique variants only present in the patients, 34 were missense mutations, located in different mtDNA-encoded genes. Seven of these mutations were not previously reported in MS, and predicted to be deleterious with considerable impacts on the functions and structures of encoded-proteins and may play a role in the pathogenesis of MS. These include two heteroplasmic mutations namely 10237T>C in MT-ND3 gene and 15884G>C in MT-CYB gene; and three homoplasmic mutations namely 9288A>G in MT-CO3 gene, 14484T>C in MT-ND6 gene, 15431G>A in MT-CYB gene, 8490T>C in MT-ATP8 gene and 5437C>T in MT-ND2 gene. Notably some patients harboured multiple mutations while other patients carried the same mutations. This study is the first to sequence the entire mitochondrial genome in MS patients in an Arab population. Our results expanded the mutational spectrum of mtDNA variants in MS and highlighted the efficiency of NGS in population-specific mtDNA variant discovery. Further investigations in a larger cohort are warranted to confirm the role of mtDNA MS.
  14. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Feb 15. pii: e2121491119. [Epub ahead of print]119(7):
      Mitochondrial inner NEET (MiNT) and the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) mitoNEET (mNT) proteins belong to the NEET protein family. This family plays a key role in mitochondrial labile iron and reactive oxygen species (ROS) homeostasis. NEET proteins contain labile [2Fe-2S] clusters which can be transferred to apo-acceptor proteins. In eukaryotes, the biogenesis of [2Fe-2S] clusters occurs within the mitochondria by the iron-sulfur cluster (ISC) system; the clusters are then transferred to [2Fe-2S] proteins within the mitochondria or exported to cytosolic proteins and the cytosolic iron-sulfur cluster assembly (CIA) system. The last step of export of the [2Fe-2S] is not yet fully characterized. Here we show that MiNT interacts with voltage-dependent anion channel 1 (VDAC1), a major OMM protein that connects the intermembrane space with the cytosol and participates in regulating the levels of different ions including mitochondrial labile iron (mLI). We further show that VDAC1 is mediating the interaction between MiNT and mNT, in which MiNT transfers its [2Fe-2S] clusters from inside the mitochondria to mNT that is facing the cytosol. This MiNT-VDAC1-mNT interaction is shown both experimentally and by computational calculations. Additionally, we show that modifying MiNT expression in breast cancer cells affects the dynamics of mitochondrial structure and morphology, mitochondrial function, and breast cancer tumor growth. Our findings reveal a pathway for the transfer of [2Fe-2S] clusters, which are assembled inside the mitochondria, to the cytosol.
    Keywords:  CISD3; VDAC1; [2Fe-2S] cluster; mitoNEET; mitochondrial inner NEET protein (MiNT)
  15. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2022 Feb 04. pii: S1044-7431(22)00010-0. [Epub ahead of print] 103704
      In the central nervous system (CNS), many neurons develop axonal arbors that are crucial for information processing. Previous studies have demonstrated that premature axons contain motile and stationary mitochondria, and their balance is important for axonal arborization. However, the mechanisms by which neurons determine the positions of stationary mitochondria as well as their turnover remain to be elucidated. We observed that the distribution of stationary mitochondrial spots along the unmyelinated and nonsynaptic axons is not random but rather relatively uniform both in primary cultured neurons and in tissues. Intriguingly, whereas the positions of each mitochondrial spot changed over time, the overall distribution remained uniform. In addition, local inactivation of mitochondria by KillerRed mediated chromophore-assisted light inactivation (CALI) inhibited the translocation of mitochondrial spots in adjacent axonal regions, suggesting that functional mitochondria enhance the motility of other mitochondria in the vicinity. Signals of ATP:ADP sensor, PercevalHR indicated that the ATP:ADP ratio was relatively high around mitochondria, and treating axons with phosphocreatine (PCr), which supplies ATP, reduced the immobile mitochondria induced by the local mitochondrial inactivation. In a mathematical model, we found that the ATP gradient generated by mitochondria, and ATP dependent regulation of mitochondrial motility could establish uniform mitochondrial distribution. These observations suggest that axons in the CNS possess the system that distributes mitochondria uniformly, and intermitochondrial signaling contribute to the regulation. In addition, our results suggest the possibility that ATP might be one of the molecules mediating the signaling.
    Keywords:  ATP; Axonal transport; Cerebellar granule neurons; Mitochondrial distribution; Retinal ganglion cells; Stationary mitochondria
  16. Cell Death Dis. 2022 Feb 08. 13(2): 127
      MitoNEET (mitochondrial protein containing Asn-Glu-Glu-Thr (NEET) sequence) is a 2Fe-2S cluster-containing integral membrane protein that resides in the mitochondrial outer membrane and participates in a redox-sensitive signaling and Fe-S cluster transfer. Thus, mitoNEET is a key regulator of mitochondrial oxidative capacity and iron homeostasis. Moreover, mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress play critical roles in inflammatory diseases such as sepsis. Increased iron levels mediated by mitochondrial dysfunction lead to oxidative damage and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Increasing evidence suggests that targeting mitoNEET to reverse mitochondrial dysfunction deserves further investigation. However, the role of mitoNEET in inflammatory diseases is unknown. Here, we investigated the mechanism of action and function of mitoNEET during lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory responses in vitro and in vivo. Levels of mitoNEET protein increased during microbial or LPS-induced sepsis. Pharmacological inhibition of mitoNEET using mitoNEET ligand-1 (NL-1) decreased the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α in animal models of sepsis, as well as LPS-induced inflammatory responses by macrophages in vitro. Inhibition of mitoNEET using NL-1 or mitoNEET shRNA abrogated LPS-induced ROS formation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Furthermore, mitochondrial iron accumulation led to generation of LPS-induced ROS, a process blocked by NL-1 or shRNA. Taken together, these data suggest that mitoNEET could be a key therapeutic molecule that targets mitochondrial dysfunction during inflammatory diseases and sepsis.
  17. Nat Immunol. 2022 Feb 10.
      Dying mammalian cells emit numerous signals that interact with the host to dictate the immunological correlates of cellular stress and death. In the absence of reactive antigenic determinants (which is generally the case for healthy cells), such signals may drive inflammation but cannot engage adaptive immunity. Conversely, when cells exhibit sufficient antigenicity, as in the case of infected or malignant cells, their death can culminate with adaptive immune responses that are executed by cytotoxic T lymphocytes and elicit immunological memory. Suggesting a key role for immunogenic cell death (ICD) in immunosurveillance, both pathogens and cancer cells evolved strategies to prevent the recognition of cell death as immunogenic. Intriguingly, normal cells succumbing to conditions that promote the formation of post-translational neoantigens (for example, oxidative stress) can also drive at least some degree of antigen-specific immunity, pointing to a novel implication of ICD in the etiology of non-infectious, non-malignant disorders linked to autoreactivity.
  18. Brain. 2022 Feb 10. pii: awac055. [Epub ahead of print]
      Molecular markers, scalable for clinical use are critical for the development of effective treatments, and for design of clinical trials. Here, we identify proteins in sera of patients and mouse models with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) with characteristics that make them suitable as biomarkers in clinical practice and therapeutic trials. We collected serum from mouse models of CMT1A (C61 het), CMT2D (GarsC201R, GarsP278KY), CMT1X (Gjb1-null), CMT2L (Hspb8K141N) and from CMT patients with genotypes including CMT1A (PMP22d), CMT2D (GARS), CMT2N (AARS) and other rare genetic forms of CMT. The severity of neuropathy in the patients was assessed by the CMT Neuropathy Examination Score (CMTES). We performed multitargeted proteomics on both sample sets to identify proteins elevated across multiple mouse models and CMT patients. Selected proteins and additional potential biomarkers, such as growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) and cell free mitochondrial DNA were validated by ELISA and quantitative PCR, respectively. We propose that neural cell adhesion molecule 1 (NCAM1) is a candidate biomarker for CMT, as it was elevated in Gjb1-null, Hspb8K141N, GarsC201R and GarsP278KY mice, as well as in patients with both demyelinating (CMT1A) and axonal (CMT2D, CMT2N) forms of CMT. We show that NCAM1 may reflect disease severity, demonstrated by a progressive increase in mouse models with time and a significant positive correlation with CMTES neuropathy severity in patients. The increase in NCAM1 may reflect muscle regeneration triggered by denervation, which could potentially track disease progression or the effect of treatments. We found that member proteins of the complement system were elevated in Gjb1-null and Hspb8K141Nmouse models, as well as in patients with both demyelinating and axonal CMT, indicating possible complement activation at the impaired nerve terminals. However, complement proteins did not correlate with the severity of neuropathy measured on the CMTES scale. Although the complement system does not seem to be a prognostic biomarker, we do show complement elevation to be a common disease feature of CMT, which may be of interest as a therapeutic target.. We also identify serum GDF15 as a highly sensitive diagnostic biomarker, which was elevated in all CMT genotypes as well as in Hspb8K141N, Gjb1-null, GarsC201R and GarsP278KY mouse models. Although we cannot fully explain its origin, it may reflect increased stress response or metabolic disturbances in CMT. Further large and longitudinal patient studies should be performed to establish the value of these proteins as diagnostic and prognostic molecular biomarkers for CMT.
    Keywords:  Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT); GDF15; NCAM1; biomarker; mouse models; serum
  19. Chem Biol Interact. 2022 Feb 03. pii: S0009-2797(22)00009-6. [Epub ahead of print] 109804
      Recent reports have challenged the notion that the lens is immune-privileged. However, these studies have not fully identified the molecular mechanism(s) that promote immune surveillance of the lens. Using a mouse model of targeted glutathione (GSH) deficiency in ocular surface tissues, we have investigated the role of oxidative stress in upregulating cytokine expression and promoting immune surveillance of the eye. RNA-sequencing of lenses from postnatal day (P) 1-aged Gclcf/f;Le-CreTg/- (KO) and Gclcf/f;Le-Cre-/- control (CON) mice revealed upregulation of many cytokines (e.g., CCL4, GDF15, CSF1) and immune response genes in the lenses of KO mice. The eyes of KO mice had a greater number of cells in the aqueous and vitreous humors at P1, P20 and P50 than age-matched CON and Gclcw/w;Le-CreTg/- (CRE) mice. Histological analyses revealed the presence of innate immune cells (i.e., macrophages, leukocytes) in ocular structures of the KO mice. At P20, the expression of cytokines and ROS content was higher in the lenses of KO mice than in those from age-matched CRE and CON mice, suggesting that oxidative stress may induce cytokine expression. In vitro administration of the oxidant, hydrogen peroxide, and the depletion of GSH (using buthionine sulfoximine (BSO)) in 21EM15 lens epithelial cells induced cytokine expression, an effect that was prevented by co-treatment of the cells with N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC), a antioxidant. The in vivo and ex vivo induction of cytokine expression by oxidative stress was associated with the expression of markers of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), α-SMA, in lens cells. Given that EMT of lens epithelial cells causes posterior capsule opacification (PCO), we propose that oxidative stress induces cytokine expression, EMT and the development of PCO in a positive feedback loop. Collectively these data indicate that oxidative stress induces inflammation of lens cells which promotes immune surveillance of ocular structures.
    Keywords:  Glutathione; Inflammation; Lens; Microphthalmia; Ocular immune system; Oxidative stress
  20. J Cell Sci. 2022 Feb 01. pii: jcs248534. [Epub ahead of print]135(3):
      Recent advances have revealed common pathological changes in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with related frontotemporal dementia (ALS/FTD). Many of these changes can be linked to alterations in endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-mitochondria signaling, including dysregulation of Ca2+ signaling, autophagy, lipid metabolism, ATP production, axonal transport, ER stress responses and synaptic dysfunction. ER-mitochondria signaling involves specialized regions of ER, called mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs). Owing to their role in neurodegenerative processes, MAMs have gained attention as they appear to be associated with all the major neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, their specific role within neuronal maintenance is being revealed as mutant genes linked to major neurodegenerative diseases have been associated with damage to these specialized contacts. Several studies have now demonstrated that these specialized contacts regulate neuronal health and synaptic transmission, and that MAMs are damaged in patients with neurodegenerative diseases. This Review will focus on the role of MAMs and ER-mitochondria signaling within neurons and how damage of the ER-mitochondria axis leads to a disruption of vital processes causing eventual neurodegeneration.
    Keywords:  Endoplasmic reticulum; MAMs; Mitochondria; Neurodegenerative diseases; Neurons; Tethers