bims-nenemi Biomed News
on Neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and mitochondria
Issue of 2022‒08‒14
seventeen papers selected by
Marco Tigano
Thomas Jefferson University

  1. Mol Cell. 2022 Aug 09. pii: S1097-2765(22)00708-0. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitochondrial energetics and respiration have emerged as important factors in how cancer cells respond to or evade apoptotic signals. The study of the functional connection between these two processes may provide insight into following questions old and new: how might we target respiration or downstream signaling pathways to amplify apoptotic stress in the context of cancer therapy? Why are respiration and apoptotic regulation housed in the same organelle? Here, we briefly review mitochondrial respiration and apoptosis and then focus on how the intersection of these two processes is regulated by cytoplasmic signaling pathways such as the integrated stress response.
    Keywords:  CRISPR; apoptosis; cancer; electron transport chain; integrated stress response; leukemia; mitochondria; oncology; oxidative phosphorylation; respiration; stress; venetoclax
  2. Cells. 2022 Aug 01. pii: 2364. [Epub ahead of print]11(15):
      Neuroinflammation is a common hallmark in different neurodegenerative conditions that share neuronal dysfunction and a progressive loss of a selectively vulnerable brain cell population. Alongside ageing and genetics, inflammation, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are considered key risk factors. Microglia are considered immune sentinels of the central nervous system capable of initiating an innate and adaptive immune response. Nevertheless, the pathological mechanisms underlying the initiation and spread of inflammation in the brain are still poorly described. Recently, a new mechanism of intercellular signalling mediated by small extracellular vesicles (EVs) has been identified. EVs are nanosized particles (30-150 nm) with a bilipid membrane that carries cell-specific bioactive cargos that participate in physiological or pathological processes. Damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) are cellular components recognised by the immune receptors of microglia, inducing or aggravating neuroinflammation in neurodegenerative disorders. Diverse evidence links mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation mediated by mitochondrial-DAMPs (mtDAMPs) such as mitochondrial DNA, mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) and cardiolipin, among others. Mitochondrial-derived vesicles (MDVs) are a subtype of EVs produced after mild damage to mitochondria and, upon fusion with multivesicular bodies are released as EVs to the extracellular space. MDVs are particularly enriched in mtDAMPs which can induce an immune response and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Importantly, growing evidence supports the association between mitochondrial dysfunction, EV release and inflammation. Here, we describe the role of extracellular vesicles-associated mtDAMPS in physiological conditions and as neuroinflammation activators contributing to neurodegenerative disorders.
    Keywords:  extracellular vesicles; inflammation; mitochondrial damage-associated molecular patterns; neurodegenerative disorders
  3. Nucleic Acids Res. 2022 Aug 10. pii: gkac661. [Epub ahead of print]
      The in vivo role for RNase H1 in mammalian mitochondria has been much debated. Loss of RNase H1 is embryonic lethal and to further study its role in mtDNA expression we characterized a conditional knockout of Rnaseh1 in mouse heart. We report that RNase H1 is essential for processing of RNA primers to allow site-specific initiation of mtDNA replication. Without RNase H1, the RNA:DNA hybrids at the replication origins are not processed and mtDNA replication is initiated at non-canonical sites and becomes impaired. Importantly, RNase H1 is also needed for replication completion and in its absence linear deleted mtDNA molecules extending between the two origins of mtDNA replication are formed accompanied by mtDNA depletion. The steady-state levels of mitochondrial transcripts follow the levels of mtDNA, and RNA processing is not altered in the absence of RNase H1. Finally, we report the first patient with a homozygous pathogenic mutation in the hybrid-binding domain of RNase H1 causing impaired mtDNA replication. In contrast to catalytically inactive variants of RNase H1, this mutant version has enhanced enzyme activity but shows impaired primer formation. This finding shows that the RNase H1 activity must be strictly controlled to allow proper regulation of mtDNA replication.
  4. Mol Neurobiol. 2022 Aug 13.
      In attempts to develop effective therapeutic strategies to limit post-ischemic injury, mitochondria emerge as a key element determining neuronal fate. Mitochondrial damage can be alleviated by various mechanisms including mitochondrial network remodelling, mitochondrial elimination and mitochondrial protein biogenesis. However, the mechanisms regulating relationships between these phenomena are poorly understood. We hypothesized that mitofusin 2 (Mfn2), a mitochondrial GTPase involved in mitochondrial fusion, mitochondria trafficking and mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) tethering, may act as one of linking and regulatory factors in neurons following ischemic insult. To verify this assumption, we performed temporal oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD/R) on rat cortical primary culture to determine whether Mfn2 protein reduction affected the onset of mitophagy, subsequent mitochondrial biogenesis and thus neuronal survival. We found that Mfn2 knockdown increased neuronal susceptibility to OGD/R, prevented mitochondrial network remodelling and resulted in prolonged mitophagosomes formation in response to the insult. Next, Mfn2 knockdown was observed to be accompanied by reduced Parkin protein levels and increased Parkin accumulation on mitochondria. As for wild-type neurons, OGD/R insult was followed by an elevated mtDNA content and an increase in respiratory chain proteins. Neither of these phenomena were observed for Mfn2 knockdown neurons. Collectively, our findings showed that Mfn2 in neurons affected their response to mild and transient OGD stress, balancing the extent of defective mitochondria elimination and positively influencing mitochondrial respiratory protein levels. Our study suggests that Mfn2 is one of essential elements for neuronal response to ischemic insult, necessary for neuronal survival.
    Keywords:  Brain ischemia; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial DNA; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Mitofusin 2; Mitophagy; Primary neurons
  5. Immunity. 2022 Aug 09. pii: S1074-7613(22)00345-4. [Epub ahead of print]55(8): 1331-1333
      Oxidized mitochondrial DNA (ox-mtDNA) activates NLRP3 inflammasome signaling through an ill-defined mechanism. In this issue of Immunity, Xian et al. reveal FEN1 endonuclease cleaves ox-mtDNA into fragments that escape mitochondria, igniting NLRP3 and cGAS-STING signaling and inflammation.
  6. Genome Biol. 2022 Aug 09. 23(1): 170
      BACKGROUND: Oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes consist of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA-encoded subunits. Their biogenesis requires cross-compartment gene regulation to mitigate the accumulation of disproportionate subunits. To determine how human cells coordinate mitochondrial and nuclear gene expression processes, we tailored ribosome profiling for the unique features of the human mitoribosome.RESULTS: We resolve features of mitochondrial translation initiation and identify a small ORF in the 3' UTR of MT-ND5. Analysis of ribosome footprints in five cell types reveals that average mitochondrial synthesis levels correspond precisely to cytosolic levels across OXPHOS complexes, and these average rates reflect the relative abundances of the complexes. Balanced mitochondrial and cytosolic synthesis does not rely on rapid feedback between the two translation systems, and imbalance caused by mitochondrial translation deficiency is associated with the induction of proteotoxicity pathways.
    CONCLUSIONS: Based on our findings, we propose that human OXPHOS complexes are synthesized proportionally to each other, with mitonuclear balance relying on the regulation of OXPHOS subunit translation across cellular compartments, which may represent a proteostasis vulnerability.
  7. J Biol Chem. 2022 Aug 04. pii: S0021-9258(22)00748-7. [Epub ahead of print] 102306
      In higher eukaryotes, mitochondria play multiple roles in energy production, signaling, and biosynthesis. Mitochondria possess multiple copies of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which encodes 37 genes that are essential for mitochondrial and cellular function. When mtDNA is challenged by endogenous and exogenous factors, mtDNA undergoes repair, degradation, and compensatory synthesis. mtDNA degradation is an emerging pathway in mtDNA damage response and maintenance. A key factor involved is the human mitochondrial genome maintenance nuclease 1 (MGME1). Despite previous biochemical and functional studies, controversies exist regarding the polarity of MGME1-mediated DNA cleavage. Also, how DNA sequence may affect the activities of MGME1 remains elusive. Such information is not only fundamental to the understanding of MGME1 but also critical for deciphering the mechanism of mtDNA degradation. Herein, we use quantitative assays to examine the effects of substrate structure and sequence on the DNA-binding and enzymatic activities of MGME1. We demonstrate that MGME1 binds to and cleaves from the 5'-end of single-stranded DNA substrates, especially in the presence of 5'-phosphate, which plays an important role in DNA-binding and optimal cleavage by MGME1. Additionally, MGME1 can tolerate certain modifications at the terminal end, such as a 5'-deoxyribosephosphate (5'dRp) intermediate formed in base excision repair (BER). We show MGME1 processes different sequences with varying efficiencies, with dT- and dC-sequences being the most and least efficiently digested, respectively. Our results provide insights into the enzymatic properties of MGME1 and a rationale for the coordination of MGME1 with the 3'-5' exonuclease activity of DNA polymerase γ in mtDNA degradation.
    Keywords:  DNA damage; DNA enzyme; DNA repair; DNA turnover; mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)
  8. Cell Rep. 2022 Aug 09. pii: S2211-1247(22)00991-3. [Epub ahead of print]40(6): 111178
      Protein kinase R (PKR) is an immune response protein that becomes activated by double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs). PKR overactivation is associated with degenerative diseases with inflammation, including osteoarthritis (OA), but the dsRNA activator remains largely unknown. Here, we find that mitochondrial dsRNA (mt-dsRNA) expression and its cytosolic efflux are facilitated in chondrocytes under OA-eliciting conditions, leading to innate immune activation. Moreover, mt-dsRNAs are released to the extracellular space and activate Toll-like receptor 3 at the plasma membrane. Elevated levels of mt-dsRNAs in the synovial fluids and damaged cartilage of OA patients and in the cartilage of surgery-induced OA mice further support our data. Importantly, autophagy prevents PKR activation and protects chondrocytes from mitochondrial stress partly by removing cytosolic mtRNAs. Our study provides a comprehensive understanding of innate immune activation by mt-dsRNAs during stress responses that underlie the development of OA and suggests mt-dsRNAs as a potential target for chondroprotective intervention.
    Keywords:  CP: Molecular biology; autophagy; innate immune response; mitochondrial double-stranded RNA; osteoarthritis; protein kinase R
  9. Transl Psychiatry. 2022 Aug 08. 12(1): 319
      Bromodomain containing 1 (BRD1) encodes an epigenetic regulator that controls the expression of genetic networks linked to mental illness. BRD1 is essential for normal brain development and its role in psychopathology has been demonstrated in genetic and preclinical studies. However, the neurobiology that bridges its molecular and neuropathological effects remains poorly explored. Here, using publicly available datasets, we find that BRD1 targets nuclear genes encoding mitochondrial proteins in cell lines and that modulation of BRD1 expression, irrespective of whether it is downregulation or upregulation of one or the other existing BRD1 isoforms (BRD1-L and BRD1-S), leads to distinct shifts in the expression profile of these genes. We further show that the expression of nuclear genes encoding mitochondrial proteins is negatively correlated with the expression of BRD1 mRNA during human brain development. In accordance, we identify the key gate-keeper of mitochondrial metabolism, Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) among BRD1's co-transcription factors and provide evidence that BRD1 acts as a co-repressor of PPAR-mediated transcription. Lastly, when using quantitative PCR, mitochondria-targeted fluorescent probes, and the Seahorse XFe96 Analyzer, we demonstrate that modulation of BRD1 expression in cell lines alters mitochondrial physiology (mtDNA content and mitochondrial mass), metabolism (reducing power), and bioenergetics (among others, basal, maximal, and spare respiration) in an expression level- and isoform-dependent manner. Collectively, our data suggest that BRD1 is a transcriptional regulator of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins and that disruption of BRD1's genomic actions alters mitochondrial functions. This may be the mechanism underlying the cellular and atrophic changes of neurons previously associated with BRD1 deficiency and suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction may be a possible link between genetic variation in BRD1 and psychopathology in humans.
  10. Mol Metab. 2022 Aug 05. pii: S2212-8778(22)00135-1. [Epub ahead of print] 101566
      OBJECTIVE: The mitochondrial fission protein Drp1 was proposed to promote NAFLD, as inhibition of hepatocyte Drp1 early in life prevents liver steatosis induced by high-fat diet in mice. However, whether Drp1-knockdown in older mice can reverse established NASH is unknown.METHODS: N-acetylgalactosamine-siRNA conjugates, an FDA approved method to deliver siRNA selectively to hepatocytes, were used to knockdown hepatocyte-Drp1 in mice (NAG-Drp1si). NASH was induced in C57BL/6NTac mice by Gubra-Amylin-NASH diet (D09100310, 40% fat, 22% fructose and 2% cholesterol) and treatment with NAG-Drp1si was started at week 24 of diet. Circulating transaminases, liver histology, gene expression of fibrosis and inflammation markers, and hydroxyproline synthesis determined NASH severity. Liver NEFA and triglycerides were quantified by GC/MS. Mitochondrial function was determined by respirometry. Western blots of OMA1, OPA1, p-eIF2α, as well as transcriptional analyses of Atf4-regulated genes determined ISR engagement.
    RESULTS: NAG-Drp1si treatment decreased body weight and induced liver inflammation in adult healthy mice. Increased hepatic Gdf15 production was the major contributor to body-weight loss caused by NAG-Drp1si treatment, as Gdf15 receptor deletion (Gfral KO) prevented the decrease in food intake and mitigated weight loss. NAG-Drp1si activated the Atf4-controlled integrated stress response (ISR) to increase hepatic Gdf15 expression. NAG-Drp1si in healthy mice caused ER stress and activated the mitochondrial protease Oma1, which are the ER and mitochondrial triggers that activate the Atf4-controlled ISR. Remarkably, induction of NASH was not sufficient to activate Oma1 in liver. However, NAG-Drp1si treatment was sufficient to activate Oma1 in adult mice with NASH, as well as exacerbating NASH-induced ER stress. Consequently, NAG-Drp1si treatment in mice with NASH led to higher ISR activation, exacerbated inflammation, fibrosis and necrosis.
    CONCLUSION: Drp1 mitigates NASH by decreasing ER stress, preventing Oma1 activation and ISR exacerbation. The elevation in Gdf15 actions induced by NAG-Drp1si might represent an adaptive response decreasing the nutrient load to liver when mitochondria are misfunctional. Our study argues against blocking Drp1 in hepatocytes to combat NASH.
    Keywords:  Atf4; Drp1; ISR; NASH; Oma1; mitochondria
  11. Front Immunol. 2022 ;13 955671
      Seneca Valley virus (SVV), a non-enveloped positive single-stranded virus can cause vesicular disease in swine. However, the mechanisms by which SVV activates an innate immune response remain unknown. Mitofusin-2 (MFN2), a mitochondria-shaping protein regulating mitochondrial fusion and fission, plays a crucial role in innate immune responses. But, the roles of Mfn2 in SVV infection have not been elucidated. Here, we show that SVV inhibited Mfn2 expression and NLRP3 inflammasome, activating RIG-I/IRF7 signaling pathway to increase IFN-λ3 expression. Overexpression of Mfn2 inhibited RIG-I/IRF7 signaling pathway, thus decreasing IFN-λ3 expression and promoting SVV replication. Interestingly, overexpression of Mfn2 also activated NLRP3 inflammasome but did not inhibit SVV proliferation. That may mean the RIG-I/IRF7 signaling pathway plays a more important role in SVV proliferation in PK-15 cells. This study could provide important insights into the modulation of host metabolism during SVV infection and provide a strong theoretical basis for a better understanding of the pathogenic mechanism and immune activation mechanism of SVV.
    Keywords:  Mfn2; NLRP3 inflammasome; RIG-I signaling pathway; SVV; innate immune response
  12. STAR Protoc. 2022 Sep 16. 3(3): 101602
      We present a high-content screening (HCS) protocol for quantifying mitochondrial activity in live neural cells from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The assessment is based on mitochondrial membrane potential, which is influenced by the efficiency of mitochondrial bioenergetics. We describe how to perform the analysis using both an HCS platform and the open-source software CellProfiler. The protocol can identify the mitochondrial fitness of human neurons and may be used to carry out high-throughput compound screenings in patient-derived neural cells. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Lorenz et al. (2017) and Zink et al. (2020).
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Cell-based Assays; Metabolism; Microscopy; Neuroscience; Stem Cells
  13. Mol Metab. 2022 Aug 06. pii: S2212-8778(22)00136-3. [Epub ahead of print] 101567
      OBJECTIVES: Dual specificity phosphatase 1 (DUSP1) is regarded as an anti-inflammatory factor in cardiovascular disorders. Mitophagy removes damaged mitochondria and thus promotes mitochondrial regeneration. We investigated whether DUSP1 could attenuate inflammation-induced cardiomyopathy by improving mitophagy.METHODS: Lipopolysaccharide was used to induce septic cardiomyopathy in wild-type (WT) and DUSP1 transgenic (DUSP1TG) mice.
    RESULTS: Echocardiography revealed that lipopolysaccharide impaired heart function by reducing the cardiac systolic and diastolic capacities of WT mice. Freshly isolated single cardiomyocytes from lipopolysaccharide-treated WT mice also exhibited reduced contractile/relaxation parameters. However, DUSP1 overexpression not only maintained the mechanical properties of cardiomyocytes, but also improved heart performance. Lipopolysaccharide upregulated myocardial inflammatory gene transcription and adhesive factor expression, which increased myocardial neutrophil accumulation and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in WT mice. DUSP1 overexpression inhibited the inflammatory response and therefore promoted cardiomyocyte survival. Lipopolysaccharide disrupted mitochondrial respiration and metabolism in WT cardiomyocytes, but DUSP1 overexpression restored mitochondrial metabolism, maintained the mitochondrial membrane potential and inhibited mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production, possibly by increasing FUN14 domain-containing 1 (FUNDC1)-dependent mitophagy. Silencing of FUNDC1 abolished the protective effects of DUSP1 overexpression on cardiomyocytes and their mitochondria following lipopolysaccharide treatment.
    CONCLUSION: These results demonstrated that DUSP1 is a novel anti-inflammatory factor that protects against septic cardiomyopathy by improving FUNDC1-induced mitophagy.
    Keywords:  DUSP1; FUNDC1; mitochondria; mitophagy; septic cardiomyopathy
  14. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Aug 16. 119(33): e2204235119
      Mammalian cells respond to dsRNA in multiple manners. One key response to dsRNA is the activation of PKR, an eIF2α kinase, which triggers translational arrest and the formation of stress granules. However, the process of PKR activation in cells is not fully understood. In response to increased endogenous or exogenous dsRNA, we observed that PKR forms novel cytosolic condensates, referred to as dsRNA-induced foci (dRIFs). dRIFs contain dsRNA, form in proportion to dsRNA, and are enhanced by longer dsRNAs. dRIFs enrich several other dsRNA-binding proteins, including ADAR1, Stau1, NLRP1, and PACT. Strikingly, dRIFs correlate with and form before translation repression by PKR and localize to regions of cells where PKR activation is initiated. We hypothesize that dRIF formation is a mechanism that cells use to enhance the sensitivity of PKR activation in response to low levels of dsRNA or to overcome viral inhibitors of PKR activation.
    Keywords:  PKR; condensate; dsRNA
  15. Biochem (Basel). 2021 Jun;1(1): 1-18
      Intracellular reduction-oxidation (RedOx) status mediates a myriad of critical biological processes. Importantly, RedOx status regulates the differentiation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and maturation of CD8+ T Lymphocytes. In most cells, mitochondria are the greatest contributors of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). Excess ROS leads to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage and protein depletion. We have developed a fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS)-based protocol to simultaneously analyze RedOx status and mtDNA integrity. This simultaneous analysis includes measurements of ROS (reduced glutathione (GSH)), ATP5H (nuclear encoded protein), MTCO1 (mitochondrial DNA encoded protein), and cell surface markers to allow discrimination of different cell populations. Using the ratio of MTCO1 to ATP5H median fluorescence intensity (MFI), we can gain an understanding of mtDNA genomic stability, since MTCO1 levels are decreased when mtDNA becomes significantly damaged. Furthermore, this workflow can be optimized for sorting cells, using any of the above parameters, allowing for downstream quantification of mtDNA genome copies/nucleus by quantitative PCR (qPCR). This unique methodology can be used to enhance analyses of the impacts of pharmacological interventions, as well as physiological and pathophysiological processes on RedOx status along with mitochondrial dynamics in most cell types.
    Keywords:  FACS; RedOx status; mitochondria; mitohormesis; mtDNA
  16. Nat Commun. 2022 Aug 09. 13(1): 4674
      The MYC oncogene is a potent driver of growth and proliferation but also sensitises cells to apoptosis, which limits its oncogenic potential. MYC induces several biosynthetic programmes and primary cells overexpressing MYC are highly sensitive to glutamine withdrawal suggesting that MYC-induced sensitisation to apoptosis may be due to imbalance of metabolic/energetic supply and demand. Here we show that MYC elevates global transcription and translation, even in the absence of glutamine, revealing metabolic demand without corresponding supply. Glutamine withdrawal from MRC-5 fibroblasts depletes key tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolites and, in combination with MYC activation, leads to AMP accumulation and nucleotide catabolism indicative of energetic stress. Further analyses reveal that glutamine supports viability through TCA cycle energetics rather than asparagine biosynthesis and that TCA cycle inhibition confers tumour suppression on MYC-driven lymphoma in vivo. In summary, glutamine supports the viability of MYC-overexpressing cells through an energetic rather than a biosynthetic mechanism.
  17. Ultrastruct Pathol. 2022 Aug 10. 1-14
      Huntington´s disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with onset in adulthood that leads to a complete disability and death in approximately 20 years after onset of symptoms. HD is caused by an expansion of a CAG triplet in the gene for huntingtin. Although the disease causes most damage to striatal neurons, other parts of the nervous system and many peripheral tissues are also markedly affected. Besides huntingtin malfunction, mitochondrial impairment has been previously described as an important player in HD. This study focuses on mitochondrial structure and function in cultivated skin fibroblasts from 10 HD patients to demonstrate mitochondrial impairment in extra-neuronal tissue. Mitochondrial structure, mitochondrial fission, and cristae organization were significantly disrupted and signs of elevated apoptosis were found. In accordance with structural changes, we also found indicators of functional alteration of mitochondria. Mitochondrial disturbances presented in fibroblasts from HD patients confirm that the energy metabolism damage in HD is not localized only to the central nervous system, but also may play role in the pathogenesis of HD in peripheral tissues. Skin fibroblasts can thus serve as a suitable cellular model to make insight into HD pathobiochemical processes and for the identification of possible targets for new therapies.
    Keywords:  Huntington’s disease; fibroblasts; mitochondrial dysfunction; mitochondrial network; oxidative phosphorylation system; ultrastructure