bims-nenemi Biomed News
on Neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and mitochondria
Issue of 2022‒07‒31
twelve papers selected by
Marco Tigano
Thomas Jefferson University

  1. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Jul 15. pii: 7823. [Epub ahead of print]23(14):
      In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients, loss of cellular homeostasis within cortical and spinal cord motor neurons triggers the activation of the integrated stress response (ISR), an intracellular signaling pathway that remodels translation and promotes a gene expression program aimed at coping with stress. Beyond its neuroprotective role, under regimes of chronic or excessive stress, ISR can also promote cell/neuronal death. Given the two-edged sword nature of ISR, many experimental attempts have tried to establish the therapeutic potential of ISR enhancement or inhibition in ALS. This review discusses the complex interplay between ISR and disease progression in different models of ALS, as well as the opportunities and limitations of ISR modulation in the hard quest to find an effective therapy for ALS.
    Keywords:  ALS clinical trials; ALS experimental models; RNA-binding proteins; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; integrated stress response; translation; uORFs-containing mRNAs
  2. Nucleic Acids Res. 2022 Jul 29. pii: gkac660. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial DNA has been investigated for nearly fifty years, but many aspects of the maintenance of this essential small genome remain unknown. Like any genome, mammalian mitochondrial DNA requires the function of topoisomerases to counter and regulate the topological tension arising during replication, transcription, segregation, and repair. However, the functions of the different mitochondrial topoisomerases are poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of Topoisomerase 3α (Top3α) in mtDNA replication and transcription, providing evidence that this enzyme, previously reported to act in mtDNA segregation, also participates in mtDNA replication fork progression. Top3α knockdown caused replication fork stalling, increased mtDNA catenation and decreased mtDNA levels. Overexpression in contrast induced abundant double-strand breaks around the replication origin OH and abortion of early replication, while at the same time improving the resolution of mtDNA replication termination intermediates. Both Top3α knockdown and overexpression affected mitochondrial RNA transcription, leading to a decrease in steady-state levels of mitochondrial transcripts. Together, our results indicate that the mitochondrial isoform of Top3α is not only involved in mtDNA segregation, as reported previously, but also supports the progression of the replication fork. Mitochondrial Top3α is also influencing the progression of transcription, with its absence affecting downstream transcript levels.
  3. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Aug 02. 119(31): e2119009119
      Unknown processes promote the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations during aging. Accumulation of defective mitochondrial genomes is thought to promote the progression of heteroplasmic mitochondrial diseases and degenerative changes with natural aging. We used a heteroplasmic Drosophila model to test 1) whether purifying selection acts to limit the abundance of deleterious mutations during development and aging, 2) whether quality control pathways contribute to purifying selection, 3) whether activation of quality control can mitigate accumulation of deleterious mutations, and 4) whether improved quality control improves health span. We show that purifying selection operates during development and growth but is ineffective during aging. Genetic manipulations suggest that a quality control process known to enforce purifying selection during oogenesis also suppresses accumulation of a deleterious mutation during growth and development. Flies with nuclear genotypes that enhance purifying selection sustained higher genome quality, retained more vigorous climbing activity, and lost fewer dopaminergic neurons. A pharmacological agent thought to enhance quality control produced similar benefits. Importantly, similar pharmacological treatment of aged mice reversed age-associated accumulation of a deleterious mtDNA mutation. Our findings reveal dynamic maintenance of mitochondrial genome fitness and reduction in the effectiveness of purifying selection during life. Importantly, we describe interventions that mitigate and even reverse age-associated genome degeneration in flies and in mice. Furthermore, mitigation of genome degeneration improved well-being in a Drosophila model of heteroplasmic mitochondrial disease.
    Keywords:  aging; heteroplasmy; mitochondria; mtDNA; mutations
  4. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 954536
      PINK1 has been characterized as a mitochondrial kinase that can target to damaged mitochondria to initiate mitophagy, a process to remove unhealthy mitochondria for protecting neuronal cells. Mutations of the human PINK1 gene are also found to cause early onset Parkinson's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder with the pathological feature of mitochondrial dysfunction. Despite compelling evidence from in vitro studies to support the role of PINK1 in regulation of mitochondrial function, there is still lack of strong in vivo evidence to validate PINK1-mediated mitophagy in the brain. In addition, growing evidence indicates that PINK1 also executes function independent of mitochondria. In this review, we discuss the mitochondrial dependent and independent functions of PINK1, aiming at elucidating how PINK1 functions differentially under different circumstances.
    Keywords:  PINK1; Parkinson’s disease (PD); mitochondria; mitophagy; parkin (PARK2)
  5. Nat Rev Immunol. 2022 Jul 25.
      Numerous mitochondrial constituents and metabolic products can function as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) and promote inflammation when released into the cytosol or extracellular milieu. Several safeguards are normally in place to prevent mitochondria from eliciting detrimental inflammatory reactions, including the autophagic disposal of permeabilized mitochondria. However, when the homeostatic capacity of such systems is exceeded or when such systems are defective, inflammatory reactions elicited by mitochondria can become pathogenic and contribute to the aetiology of human disorders linked to autoreactivity. In addition, inefficient inflammatory pathways induced by mitochondrial DAMPs can be pathogenic as they enable the establishment or progression of infectious and neoplastic disorders. Here we discuss the molecular mechanisms through which mitochondria control inflammatory responses, the cellular pathways that are in place to control mitochondria-driven inflammation and the pathological consequences of dysregulated inflammatory reactions elicited by mitochondrial DAMPs.
  6. Cells. 2022 Jul 11. pii: 2168. [Epub ahead of print]11(14):
      The unavailability of tractable reverse genetic analysis approaches represents an obstacle to a better understanding of mitochondrial DNA replication. Here, we used CRISPR-Cas9 mediated gene editing to establish the conditional viability of knockouts in the key proteins involved in mtDNA replication. This observation prompted us to develop a set of tools for reverse genetic analysis in situ, which we called the GeneSwap approach. The technique was validated by identifying 730 amino acid (aa) substitutions in the mature human TFAM that are conditionally permissive for mtDNA replication. We established that HMG domains of TFAM are functionally independent, which opens opportunities for engineering chimeric TFAMs with customized properties for studies on mtDNA replication, mitochondrial transcription, and respiratory chain function. Finally, we present evidence that the HMG2 domain plays the leading role in TFAM species-specificity, thus indicating a potential pathway for TFAM-mtDNA evolutionary co-adaptations.
    Keywords:  GeneSwap approach; TFAM; TFAM chimeras; TFAM knockout; TFAM-mtDNA evolutionary co-adaptation; mtDNA instability; mtDNA metabolism; mtDNA replication; mtDNA transcription
  7. Autophagy. 2022 Jul 28.
      PINK1-PRKN/Parkin-mediated mitophagy represents an important mitochondrial quality control (MQC) pathway that clears damaged/dysfunctional mitochondria. Although the conjugation of mammalian Atg8-family proteins (mATG8s) to phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) is a defining step in autophagy, its role in mitophagy remains unclear. In our recent study, we found that the mATG8 conjugation system is not required for PINK1-PRKN-mediated mitochondria clearance. Instead, mATG8 conjugation system-independent mitochondria clearance relies on secretory autophagy, in a process we term as the autophagic secretion of mitochondria (ASM). As ASM results in the spurious activation of the CGAS-STING1 pathway, we propose that defects in mATG8 lipidation may promote inflammation through ASM.
    Keywords:  Extracellular vesicles; PINK1-PRKN; inflammation; mATG8 conjugation system; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; secretory autophagy
  8. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 25. 13(1): 4303
      Mitochondria are highly dynamic organelles whose fragmentation by fission is critical to their functional integrity and cellular homeostasis. Here, we develop a method via optogenetic control of mitochondria-lysosome contacts (MLCs) to induce mitochondrial fission with spatiotemporal accuracy. MLCs can be achieved by blue-light-induced association of mitochondria and lysosomes through various photoactivatable dimerizers. Real-time optogenetic induction of mitochondrial fission is tracked in living cells to measure the fission rate. The optogenetic method partially restores the mitochondrial functions of SLC25A46-/- cells, which display defects in mitochondrial fission and hyperfused mitochondria. The optogenetic MLCs system thus provides a platform for studying mitochondrial fission and treating mitochondrial diseases.
  9. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2022 Jul 28. 101161ATVBAHA122317869
      BACKGROUND: Radiation therapy strongly increases the risk of atherosclerotic vascular disease, such as carotid stenosis. Radiation induces DNA damage, in particular in mitochondria, but the upstream and downstream signaling events are poorly understood. The objective of this study was to define such mechanisms.METHODS: Endothelial-specific MCU (mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter) knockout and C57Bl6/J mice with or without a preinfusion of a mitoTEMPO (mitochondrial reactive oxygen species [ROS] scavenger) were exposed to a single dose of cranial irradiation. 24, and 240 hours postirradiation, vascular reactivity, endothelial function, and mitochondrial integrity were assessed ex vivo and in vitro.
    RESULTS: In cultured human endothelial cells, irradiation with 4 Gy increased cytosolic Ca2+ transients and the mitochondrial Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]mt) and activated MCU. These outcomes correlated with increases in mitochondrial ROS (mtROS), loss of NO production, and sustained damage to mitochondrial but not nDNA. Moreover, irradiation impaired activity of the ETC (electron transport chain) and the transcription of ETC subunits encoded by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of MCU blocked irradiation-induced mtROS production, mtDNA damage, loss of NO production, and impairment of ETC activity. Similarly, the pretreatment with mitoTEMPO, a scavenger of mtROS, reduced irradiation-induced Ca2+ entry, and preserved both the integrity of the mtDNA and the production of NO, suggesting a feed-forward loop involving [Ca2+]m and mtROS. Enhancement of DNA repair in mitochondria, but not in the nucleus, was sufficient to block prolonged mtROS elevations and maintain NO production. Consistent with the findings from cultured cells, in C57BL/6J mice, head and neck irradiation decreased endothelium-dependent vasodilation, and mtDNA integrity in the carotid artery after irradiation. These effects were prevented by endothelial knockout of MCU or infusion with mitoTEMPO.
    CONCLUSIONS: Irradiation-induced damage to mtDNA is driven by MCU-dependent Ca2+ influx and the generation of mtROS. Such damage leads to reduced transcription of mitochondrial genes and activity of the ETC, promoting sustained mtROS production that induces endothelial dysfunction. Our findings suggest that targeting MCU and mtROS might be sufficient to mitigate irradiation-induced vascular disease.
    Keywords:  calcium; carotid stenosis; endothelium; mitochondria; reactive oxygen species
  10. Curr Environ Health Rep. 2022 Jul 28.
      PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Mitochondria play various roles that are important for cell function and survival; therefore, significant mitochondrial dysfunction may have chronic consequences that extend beyond the cell. Mitochondria are already susceptible to damage, which may be exacerbated by environmental exposures. Therefore, the aim of this review is to summarize the recent literature (2012-2022) looking at the effects of six ubiquitous classes of compounds on mitochondrial dysfunction in human populations.RECENT FINDINGS: The literature suggests that there are a number of biomarkers that are commonly used to identify mitochondrial dysfunction, each with certain advantages and limitations. Classes of environmental toxicants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, air pollutants, heavy metals, endocrine-disrupting compounds, pesticides, and nanomaterials can damage the mitochondria in varied ways, with changes in mtDNA copy number and measures of oxidative damage the most commonly measured in human populations. Other significant biomarkers include changes in mitochondrial membrane potential, calcium levels, and ATP levels. This review identifies the biomarkers that are commonly used to characterize mitochondrial dysfunction but suggests that emerging mitochondrial biomarkers, such as cell-free mitochondria and blood cardiolipin levels, may provide greater insight into the impacts of exposures on mitochondrial function. This review identifies that the mtDNA copy number and measures of oxidative damage are commonly used to characterize mitochondrial dysfunction, but suggests using novel approaches in addition to well-characterized ones to create standardized protocols. We identified a dearth of studies on mitochondrial dysfunction in human populations exposed to metals, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, pesticides, and nanoparticles as a gap in knowledge that needs attention.
    Keywords:  Environmental chemicals; Heteroplasmy; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Oxidative stress; mtDNA
  11. Elife. 2022 Jul 25. pii: e77706. [Epub ahead of print]11
      Signal-anchored (SA) proteins are anchored into the mitochondrial outer membrane (OM) via a single transmembrane segment at their N-terminus while the bulk of the proteins is facing the cytosol. These proteins are encoded by nuclear DNA, translated on cytosolic ribosomes, and are then targeted to the organelle and inserted into its OM by import factors. Recently, research on the insertion mechanisms of these proteins into the mitochondrial OM have gained a lot of attention. In contrast, the early cytosolic steps of their biogenesis are unresolved. Using various proteins from this category and a broad set of in vivo, in organello, and in vitro assays, we reconstituted the early steps of their biogenesis. We identified a subset of molecular (co)chaperones that interact with newly synthesized SA proteins, namely, Hsp70 and Hsp90 chaperones and co-chaperones from the Hsp40 family like Ydj1 and Sis1. These interactions were mediated by the hydrophobic transmembrane segments of the SA proteins. We further demonstrate that interfering with these interactions inhibits the biogenesis of SA proteins to a various extent. Finally, we could demonstrate direct interaction of peptides corresponding to the transmembrane segments of SA proteins with the (co)chaperones and reconstitute in vitro the transfer of such peptides from the Hsp70 chaperone to the mitochondrial Tom70 receptor. Collectively, this study unravels an array of cytosolic chaperones and mitochondrial import factors that facilitates the targeting and membrane integration of mitochondrial SA proteins.
    Keywords:  S. cerevisiae; biochemistry; chemical biology
  12. Front Neurosci. 2022 ;16 926629
      Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells sustain photoreceptor integrity, and when this function is disrupted, retinal degenerations ensue. Herein, we characterize a new cell line from human RPE that we termed ABC. These cells remarkably recapitulate human eye native cells. Distinctive from other epithelia, RPE cells originate from the neural crest and follow a neural development but are terminally differentiated into "epithelial" type, thus sharing characteristics with their neuronal lineages counterparts. Additionally, they form microvilli, tight junctions, and honeycomb packing and express distinctive markers. In these cells, outer segment phagocytosis, phagolysosome fate, phospholipid metabolism, and lipid mediator release can be studied. ABC cells display higher resistance to oxidative stress and are protected from senescence through mTOR inhibition, making them more stable in culture. The cells are responsive to Neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1), which downregulates inflammasomes and upregulates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory genes. ABC gene expression profile displays close proximity to native RPE lineage, making them a reliable cell system to unravel signaling in uncompensated oxidative stress (UOS) and retinal degenerative disease to define neuroprotection sites.
    Keywords:  RPE cell; age-related macular degeneration (AMD); apoptosis; autophagy; gene expression; lipids; neuroprotectin D1; single cell