bims-nenemi Biomed News
on Neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and mitochondria
Issue of 2022‒05‒08
thirteen papers selected by
Marco Tigano
Thomas Jefferson University

  1. Cancer Discov. 2022 May 06. OF1
      High ceramide levels promote the apoptotic integrated stress response in acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
  2. J Mol Biol. 2022 Apr 29. pii: S0022-2836(22)00198-X. [Epub ahead of print] 167618
      The double-membrane-bound architecture of mitochondria, essential for ATP production, sub-divides the organelle into inter-membrane space (IMS) and matrix. IMS and matrix possess contrasting oxido-reductive environments and discrete protein quality control (PQC) machineries resulting inherent differences in their protein folding environments. To understand the nature of stress response elicited by equivalent proteotoxic stress to these sub-mitochondrial compartments, we took misfolding and aggregation-prone stressor proteins and fused it to well described signal sequences to specifically target and impart stress to yeast mitochondrial IMS or matrix. We show, mitochondrial proteotoxicity leads to growth arrest of yeast cells of varying degrees depending on nature of stressor proteins and the intra-mitochondrial location of stress. Next, by employing transcriptomics and proteomics, we report a comprehensive stress response elicited by stressor proteins specifically targeted to mitochondrial matrix or IMS. A general response to proteotoxic stress by mitochondria-targeted misfolded proteins is mitochondrial fragmentation, and an adaptive abrogation of mitochondrial respiration with concomitant upregulation of glycolysis. Beyond shared stress responses, specific signatures due to stress within mitochondrial sub-compartments are also revealed. We report that stress-imparted by bipartite signal sequence-fused stressor proteins to IMS, leads to specific upregulation of IMS-chaperones and TOM complex components. In contrast, matrix-targeted stressors lead to specific upregulation of matrix-chaperones and cytosolic PQC components. Finally, by systematic genetic interaction using deletion strains of differentially upregulated genes, we found prominent modulatory role of TOM complex components during IMS-stress response. In contrast, VMS1 markedly modulates the stress response originated from matrix.
    Keywords:  Mitochondrial Unfolded Protein Response; Molecular Chaperone; Protein misfolding; Proteostasis; Proteotoxic stress; Ribosome Quality Control; Stress Response; TOM complex; Vms1
  3. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2022 May 05. 79(5): 283
      Mitochondria play important roles in the regulation of key cellular processes, including energy metabolism, oxidative stress response, and signaling towards cell death or survival, and are distinguished by carrying their own genome (mtDNA). Mitochondrial dysfunction has emerged as a prominent cellular mechanism involved in neurodegeneration, including Parkinson's disease (PD), a neurodegenerative movement disorder, characterized by progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons and the occurrence of proteinaceous Lewy body inclusions. The contribution of mtDNA variants to PD pathogenesis has long been debated and is still not clearly answered. Cytoplasmic hybrid (cybrid) cell models provided evidence for a contribution of mtDNA variants to the PD phenotype. However, conclusive evidence of mtDNA mutations as genetic cause of PD is still lacking. Several models have shown a role of somatic, rather than inherited mtDNA variants in the impairment of mitochondrial function and neurodegeneration. Accordingly, several nuclear genes driving inherited forms of PD are linked to mtDNA quality control mechanisms, and idiopathic as well as familial PD tissues present increased mtDNA damage. In this review, we highlight the use of cybrids in this PD research field and summarize various aspects of how and to what extent mtDNA variants may contribute to the etiology of PD.
    Keywords:  Cybrids; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial genome; Parkinson’s disease; mtDNA
  4. Mitochondrion. 2022 May 02. pii: S1567-7249(22)00041-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      O-GlcNAcylation, a ubiquitous post-translational modification, rapidly modulates protein activity through the reversible addition and removal of O-GlcNAc groups from serine or threonine residues in target proteins, and is involved in multiple metabolic pathways. With the discovery of enzymes and substrates for O-GlcNAc cycling in mitochondria, mitochondrial O-GlcNAc modification and its regulatory role in mitochondrial function deserve extensive attention. Adaptive regulation of the O-GlcNAc cycling in response to energy perturbations is demonstrated to be important in maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis. Dysregulation of O-GlcNAcylation in mitochondria has been associated with various mitochondrial dysfunctions, such as abnormal mitochondrial dynamics, reduced mitochondrial biosynthesis, disruption of the electron transport chain, oxidative stress and the calcium paradox, as well as activation of mitochondrial apoptosis pathways. Here, we outline the current understanding of O-GlcNAc modification in mitochondria and the key discovery of O-GlcNAcylation in regulating mitochondrial network homeostasis. This review will provide insights into targeting mitochondrial O-GlcNAcylation, as well as the mechanisms linking mitochondrial dysfunction and disease.
    Keywords:  Cellular bioenergetics; Metabolism; Mitochondrial homeostasis; Nutrient sensing; O-GlcNAcylation
  5. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 May 02.
      Innate DNA sensing via the cyclic GMP-AMP synthase-stimulator of interferon genes (cGAS-STING) mechanism surveys microbial invasion and cellular damage and thus participates in various human infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases and cancers. However, how DNA sensing rapidly and adaptively shapes cellular physiology is incompletely known. Here we identify the STING-PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK)-eIF2α pathway, a previously unknown cGAS-STING mechanism, enabling an innate immunity control of cap-dependent messenger RNA translation. Upon cGAMP binding, STING at the ER binds and directly activates the ER-located kinase PERK via their intracellular domains, which precedes TBK1-IRF3 activation and is irrelevant to the unfolded protein response. The activated PERK phosphorylates eIF2α, forming an inflammatory- and survival-preferred translation program. Notably, this STING-PERK-eIF2α pathway is evolutionarily primitive and physiologically critical to cellular senescence and organ fibrosis. Pharmacologically or genetically targeting this non-canonical cGAS-STING pathway attenuated lung and kidney fibrosis. Collectively, the findings identify an alternative innate immune pathway and its critical role in organ fibrosis, report an innate immunity-directed translation program and suggest the therapeutic potential for targeting the STING-PERK pathway in treating fibrotic diseases.
  6. Cell Death Differ. 2022 May 03.
      The bacterium Helicobacter pylori induces gastric inflammation and predisposes to cancer. H. pylori-infected epithelial cells secrete cytokines and chemokines and undergo DNA-damage. We show that the host cell's mitochondrial apoptosis system contributes to cytokine secretion and DNA-damage in the absence of cell death. H. pylori induced secretion of cytokines/chemokines from epithelial cells, dependent on the mitochondrial apoptosis machinery. A signalling step was identified in the release of mitochondrial Smac/DIABLO, which was required for alternative NF-κB-activation and contributed to chemokine secretion. The bacterial cag-pathogenicity island and bacterial muropeptide triggered mitochondrial host cell signals through the pattern recognition receptor NOD1. H. pylori-induced DNA-damage depended on mitochondrial apoptosis signals and the caspase-activated DNAse. In biopsies from H. pylori-positive patients, we observed a correlation of Smac-levels and inflammation. Non-apoptotic cells in these samples showed evidence of caspase-3-activation, correlating with phosphorylation of the DNA-damage response kinase ATM. Thus, H. pylori activates the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway to a sub-lethal level. During infection, Smac has a cytosolic, pro-inflammatory role in the absence of apoptosis. Further, DNA-damage through sub-lethal mitochondrial signals is likely to contribute to mutagenesis and cancer development.
  7. Nat Commun. 2022 May 03. 13(1): 2412
      Human neurodegenerative disorders often exhibit similar pathologies, suggesting a shared aetiology. Key pathological features of Parkinson's disease (PD) are also observed in other neurodegenerative diseases. Pantothenate Kinase-Associated Neurodegeneration (PKAN) is caused by mutations in the human PANK2 gene, which catalyzes the initial step of de novo CoA synthesis. Here, we show that fumble (fbl), the human PANK2 homolog in Drosophila, interacts with PINK1 genetically. fbl and PINK1 mutants display similar mitochondrial abnormalities, and overexpression of mitochondrial Fbl rescues PINK1 loss-of-function (LOF) defects. Dietary vitamin B5 derivatives effectively rescue CoA/acetyl-CoA levels and mitochondrial function, reversing the PINK1 deficiency phenotype. Mechanistically, Fbl regulates Ref(2)P (p62/SQSTM1 homolog) by acetylation to promote mitophagy, whereas PINK1 regulates fbl translation by anchoring mRNA molecules to the outer mitochondrial membrane. In conclusion, Fbl (or PANK2) acts downstream of PINK1, regulating CoA/acetyl-CoA metabolism to promote mitophagy, uncovering a potential therapeutic intervention strategy in PD treatment.
  8. Cell Death Differ. 2022 May 06.
      Autophagy targets cytoplasmic materials for degradation, and influences cell health. Alterations in Atg6/Beclin-1, a key regulator of autophagy, are associated with multiple diseases. While the role of Atg6 in autophagy regulation is heavily studied, the role of Atg6 in organism health and disease progression remains poorly understood. Here, we discover that loss of Atg6 in Drosophila results in various alterations to stress, metabolic and immune signaling pathways. We find that the increased levels of circulating blood cells and tumor-like masses in atg6 mutants vary depending on tissue-specific function of Atg6, with contributions from intestine and hematopoietic cells. These phenotypes are suppressed by decreased function of macrophage and inflammatory response receptors crq and drpr. Thus, these findings provide a basis for understanding how Atg6 systemically regulates cell health within multiple organs, and highlight the importance of Atg6 in inflammation to organismal health.
  9. Blood Adv. 2022 May 02. pii: bloodadvances.2021005776. [Epub ahead of print]
      IFNγ is an essential and pleiotropic activator of human monocytes, but little is known about the changes in cellular metabolism required for IFNγ-induced activation. We sought to elucidate the mechanisms by which IFNγ reprograms monocyte metabolism to support its immunologic activities. We found that IFNγ increased oxygen consumption rates (OCR) in monocytes, indicative of reactive oxygen species generation by both mitochondria and NADPH oxidase. Transcriptional profiling revealed that this oxidative phenotype was driven by IFNγ-induced reprogramming of NAD+ metabolism, which is dependent on nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT)-mediated NAD+ salvage to generate NADH and NADPH for oxidation by mitochondrial complex I and NADPH oxidase, respectively. Consistent with this pathway, monocytes from patients with gain-of-function mutations in STAT1 demonstrated higher than normal OCR. Whereas chemical or genetic disruption of mitochondrial complex I (rotenone treatment or Leigh Syndrome patient monocytes) or NADPH oxidase (DPI treatment or chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) patient monocytes) reduced OCR. Interestingly, inhibition of NAMPT in healthy monocytes completely abrogated the IFNγ-induced oxygen consumption, comparable to levels observed in CGD monocytes. These data identify an IFNγ-induced, NAMPT-dependent, NAD+ salvage pathway that is critical for IFNγ activation of human monocytes.
  10. J Biol Chem. 2022 May 02. pii: S0021-9258(22)00448-3. [Epub ahead of print] 102008
      Mitochondrial ATPase ATAD3A is essential for cholesterol transport, mitochondrial structure, and cell survival. However, the relationship between ATAD3A and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is largely unknown. In this study, we found that ATAD3A was upregulated in the progression of NAFLD in livers from rats with diet-induced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and in human livers from patients diagnosed with NAFLD. We used CRISPR-Cas9 to delete ATAD3A in Huh7 human hepatocellular carcinoma cells, and used RNAi to silence ATAD3A expression in human hepatocytes isolated from humanized liver-chimeric mice to assess the influence of ATAD3A deletion on liver cells with free cholesterol (FC) overload induced by treatment with cholesterol plus 58035, an inhibitor of acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase. Our results showed that ATAD3A KO exacerbated FC accumulation under FC overload in Huh7 cells, and also that triglyceride (TG) levels were significantly increased in ATAD3A KO Huh7 cells following inhibition of lipolysis mediated by upregulation of lipid droplet-binding protein perilipin-2. Moreover, loss of ATAD3A upregulated autophagosome-associated light chain 3-II protein and p62 in Huh7 cells and fresh human hepatocytes through blockage of autophagosome degradation. Finally, we show the mitophagy mediator, PTEN-induced kinase 1, was downregulated in ATAD3A KO Huh7 cells, suggesting that ATAD3A KO inhibits mitophagy. These results also showed that loss of ATAD3A impaired mitochondrial basal respiration and ATP production in Huh7 cells under FC overload, accompanied by downregulation of mitochondrial ATP synthase. Taken together, we conclude that loss of ATAD3A promotes the progression of NAFLD through the accumulation of FC, TG, and damaged mitochondria in hepatocytes.
    Keywords:  ATAD3A; NAFLD; autophagy; cholesterol; fatty acid oxidation; free fatty acid; mitochondrial respiration; mitophagy; triglyceride
  11. PLoS One. 2022 ;17(5): e0254296
      The translocator protein (TSPO) has been implicated in mitochondrial transmembrane cholesterol transport, brain inflammation, and other mitochondrial functions. It is upregulated in glial cells during neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease. High affinity TSPO imaging radioligands are utilized to visualize neuroinflammation. However, this is hampered by the common A147T polymorphism which compromises ligand binding. Furthermore, this polymorphism has been linked to increased risk of neuropsychiatric disorders, and possibly reduces TSPO protein stability. Here, we used immunoprecipitation coupled to mass-spectrometry (IP-MS) to establish a mitochondrial protein binding profile of wild-type (WT) TSPO and the A147T polymorphism variant. Using mitochondria from human glial cells expressing either WT or A147T TSPO, we identified 30 WT TSPO binding partners, yet only 23 for A147T TSPO. Confirming that A147T polymorphism of the TSPO might confer loss of function, we found that one of the identified interactors of WT TSPO, 14-3-3 theta (YWHAQ), a protein involved in regulating mitochondrial membrane proteins, interacts much less with A147T TSPO. Our data presents a network of mitochondrial interactions of TSPO and its A147T polymorphism variant in human glial cells and indicate functional relevance of A147T in mitochondrial protein networks.
  12. Nat Commun. 2022 May 05. 13(1): 2483
      The SLC25 carrier family consists of 53 transporters that shuttle nutrients and co-factors across mitochondrial membranes. The family is highly redundant and their transport activities coupled to metabolic state. Here, we use a pooled, dual CRISPR screening strategy that knocks out pairs of transporters in four metabolic states - glucose, galactose, OXPHOS inhibition, and absence of pyruvate - designed to unmask the inter-dependence of these genes. In total, we screen 63 genes in four metabolic states, corresponding to 2016 single and pair-wise genetic perturbations. We recover 19 gene-by-environment (GxE) interactions and 9 gene-by-gene (GxG) interactions. One GxE interaction hit illustrates that the fitness defect in the mitochondrial folate carrier (SLC25A32) KO cells is genetically buffered in galactose due to a lack of substrate in de novo purine biosynthesis. GxG analysis highlights a buffering interaction between the iron transporter SLC25A37 (A37) and the poorly characterized SLC25A39 (A39). Mitochondrial metabolite profiling, organelle transport assays, and structure-guided mutagenesis identify A39 as critical for mitochondrial glutathione (GSH) import. Functional studies reveal that A39-mediated glutathione homeostasis and A37-mediated mitochondrial iron uptake operate jointly to support mitochondrial OXPHOS. Our work underscores the value of studying family-wide genetic interactions across different metabolic environments.
  13. Nucleic Acids Res. 2022 May 07. pii: gkac306. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondria are subcellular organelles present in almost all eukaryotic cells, which play a central role in cellular metabolism. Different tissues, health and age conditions are characterized by a difference in mitochondrial structure and composition. The visual data mining platform mitoXplorer 1.0 was developed to explore the expression dynamics of genes associated with mitochondrial functions that could help explain these differences. It, however, lacked functions aimed at integrating mitochondria in the cellular context and thus identifying regulators that help mitochondria adapt to cellular needs. To fill this gap, we upgraded the mitoXplorer platform to version 2.0 (mitoXplorer 2.0). In this upgrade, we implemented two novel integrative functions, network analysis and transcription factor enrichment, to specifically help identify signalling or transcriptional regulators of mitochondrial processes. In addition, we implemented several other novel functions to allow the platform to go beyond simple data visualization, such as an enrichment function for mitochondrial processes, a function to explore time-series data, the possibility to compare datasets across species and an IDconverter to help facilitate data upload. We demonstrate the usefulness of these functions in three specific use cases. mitoXplorer 2.0 is freely available without login at