bims-nenemi Biomed News
on Neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and mitochondria
Issue of 2022‒08‒21
eight papers selected by
Marco Tigano
Thomas Jefferson University

  1. EMBO Rep. 2022 Aug 18. e54859
      The hexameric AAA-ATPase valosin-containing protein (VCP) is essential for mitochondrial protein quality control. How VCP is recruited to mammalian mitochondria remains obscure. Here we report that UBXD8, an ER- and lipid droplet-localized VCP adaptor, also localizes to mitochondria and locally recruits VCP. UBXD8 associates with mitochondrial and ER ubiquitin E3 ligases and targets their substrates for degradation. Remarkably, both mitochondria- and ER-localized UBXD8 can degrade mitochondrial and ER substrates in cis and in trans. UBXD8 also associates with the TOM complex but is dispensable for translocation-associated degradation. UBXD8 knockout impairs the degradation of the pro-survival protein Mcl1 but surprisingly sensitizes cells to apoptosis and mitochondrial stresses. UBXD8 knockout also hyperactivates mitophagy. We identify pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins Noxa, Bik, and Bnip3 as novel UBXD8 substrates and determine that UBXD8 inhibits apoptosis via degrading Noxa and restrains mitophagy via degrading Bnip3. Collectively, our characterizations reveal UBXD8 as the major mitochondrial adaptor of VCP and unveil its role in apoptosis and mitophagy regulation.
    Keywords:  UBXD8; VCP; apoptosis; mitochondria-associated degradation; mitophagy
  2. Cell Death Discov. 2022 Aug 13. 8(1): 357
      Proliferating cancer cells are dependent on glutamine metabolism for survival when challenged with oxidative stresses caused by reactive oxygen species, hypoxia, nutrient deprivation and matrix detachment. ATF4, a key stress responsive transcription factor, is essential for cancer cells to sustain glutamine metabolism when challenged with these various types of stress. While it is well documented how the ATF4 transcript is translated into protein as a stress response, an important question concerns how the ATF4 message levels are sustained to enable cancer cells to survive the challenges of nutrient deprivation and damaging reactive oxygen species. Here, we now identify the pathway in triple negative breast cancer cells that provides a sustained ATF4 response and enables their survival when encountering these challenges. This signaling pathway starts with mTORC2, which upon sensing cellular stresses arising from glutamine deprivation or an acute inhibition of glutamine metabolism, initiates a cascade of events that triggers an increase in ATF4 transcription. Surprisingly, this signaling pathway is not dependent on AKT activation, but rather requires the mTORC2 target, PKC, which activates the transcription factor Nrf2 that then induces ATF4 expression. Additionally, we identify a sirtuin family member, the NAD+-dependent de-succinylase Sirt5, as a key transcriptional target for ATF4 that promotes cancer cell survival during metabolic stress. Sirt5 plays fundamental roles in supporting cancer cell metabolism by regulating various enzymatic activities and by protecting an enzyme essential for glutaminolysis, glutaminase C (GAC), from degradation. We demonstrate that ectopic expression of Sirt5 compensates for knockdowns of ATF4 in cells exposed to glutamine deprivation-induced stress. These findings provide important new insights into the signaling cues that lead to sustained ATF4 expression as a general stress-induced regulator of glutamine metabolism, as well as highlight Sirt5 an essential effector of the ATF4 response to metabolic stress.
  3. Cell Rep. 2022 Aug 16. pii: S2211-1247(22)01015-4. [Epub ahead of print]40(7): 111198
      The relationship between nutrient starvation and mitochondrial dynamics is poorly understood. We find that cells facing amino acid starvation display clear mitochondrial fusion as a means to evade mitophagy. Surprisingly, further supplementation of glutamine (Q), leucine (L), and arginine (R) did not reverse, but produced stronger mitochondrial hyperfusion. Interestingly, the hyperfusion response to Q + L + R was dependent upon mitochondrial fusion proteins Mfn1 and Opa1 but was independent of MTORC1. Metabolite profiling indicates that Q + L + R addback replenishes amino acid and nucleotide pools. Inhibition of fumarate hydratase, glutaminolysis, or inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase all block Q + L + R-dependent mitochondrial hyperfusion, which suggests critical roles for the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and purine biosynthesis in this response. Metabolic tracer analyses further support the idea that supplemented Q promotes purine biosynthesis by serving as a donor of amine groups. We thus describe a metabolic mechanism for direct sensing of cellular amino acids to control mitochondrial fusion and cell fate.
    Keywords:  CP: Cell biology; CP: Metabolism; Drp1; Mfn1; Mfn2; Opa1; amino acid sensing; arginine; dynamics; fusion; glutamine; hyperfusion; leucine; mitochondria; stable isotope tracer
  4. Nucleic Acids Res. 2022 Aug 18. pii: gkac690. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cells are constantly challenged by genotoxic stresses that can lead to genome instability. The integrity of the nuclear genome is preserved by the DNA damage response (DDR) and repair. Additionally, these stresses can induce mitochondria to transiently hyperfuse; however, it remains unclear whether canonical DDR is linked to these mitochondrial morphological changes. Here, we report that the abolition of mitochondrial fusion causes a substantial defect in the ATM-mediated DDR signaling. This deficiency is overcome by the restoration of mitochondria fusion. In cells with fragmented mitochondria, genotoxic stress-induced activation of JNK and its translocation to DNA lesion are lost. Importantly, the mitochondrial fusion machinery of MFN1/MFN2 associates with Sab (SH3BP5) and JNK, and these interactions are indispensable for the Sab-mediated activation of JNK and the ATM-mediated DDR signaling. Accordingly, the formation of BRCA1 and 53BP1 foci, as well as homology and end-joining repair are impaired in cells with fragmented mitochondria. Together, these data show that mitochondrial fusion-dependent JNK signaling is essential for the DDR, providing vital insight into the integration of nuclear and cytoplasmic stress signals.
  5. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Aug 23. 119(34): e2120157119
      Dynamic regulation of mitochondrial morphology provides cells with the flexibility required to adapt and respond to electron transport chain (ETC) toxins and mitochondrial DNA-linked disease mutations, yet the mechanisms underpinning the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics machinery by these stimuli is poorly understood. Here, we show that pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) is genetically required for cells to undergo rapid mitochondrial fragmentation when challenged with ETC toxins. Moreover, PDK4 overexpression was sufficient to promote mitochondrial fission even in the absence of mitochondrial stress. Importantly, we observed that the PDK4-mediated regulation of mitochondrial fission was independent of its canonical function, i.e., inhibitory phosphorylation of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC). Phosphoproteomic screen for PDK4 substrates, followed by nonphosphorylatable and phosphomimetic mutations of the PDK4 site revealed cytoplasmic GTPase, Septin 2 (SEPT2), as the key effector molecule that acts as a receptor for DRP1 in the outer mitochondrial membrane to promote mitochondrial fission. Conversely, inhibition of the PDK4-SEPT2 axis could restore the balance in mitochondrial dynamics and reinvigorates cellular respiration in mitochondrial fusion factor, mitofusin 2-deficient cells. Furthermore, PDK4-mediated mitochondrial reshaping limits mitochondrial bioenergetics and supports cancer cell growth. Our results identify the PDK4-SEPT2-DRP1 axis as a regulator of mitochondrial function at the interface between cellular bioenergetics and mitochondrial dynamics.
    Keywords:  OCR; dynamin-related protein 1; mitochondrial fission; pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4; septin 2
  6. J Theor Biol. 2022 Aug 13. pii: S0022-5193(22)00238-7. [Epub ahead of print] 111244
      In this paper we use simulation methods to investigate the proliferation of deletion mutations of mitochondrial DNA in neurons. We simulate three mtDNA proliferation mechanisms, namely, random drift, replicative advantage and vicious cycle. For each mechanism, we investigated the effect mutation rates have on neuron loss within a human host. We also compare heteroplasmy of each mechanism at mutation rates that yield the levels neuron loss that would be associated with dementia. Both random drift and vicious cycle predicted high levels of heteroplasmy, while replicative advantage showed a small number of dominant clones with a low background of heteroplasmy.
    Keywords:  Dementia; Heteroplasmy; Mitochondria; Mutation deletions; Neuron loss
  7. Cell Rep. 2022 Aug 16. pii: S2211-1247(22)00968-8. [Epub ahead of print]40(7): 111159
      Many scenarios in cellular communication require cells to interpret multiple dynamic signals. It is unclear how exposure to inflammatory stimuli alters transcriptional responses to subsequent stimulus. Using high-throughput microfluidic live-cell analysis, we systematically profile the NF-κB response to different signal sequences in single cells. We find that NF-κB dynamics store the short-term history of received signals: depending on the prior pathogenic or cytokine signal, the NF-κB response to subsequent stimuli varies from no response to full activation. Using information theory, we reveal that these stimulus-dependent changes in the NF-κB response encode and reflect information about the identity and dose of the prior stimulus. Small-molecule inhibition, computational modeling, and gene expression profiling show that this encoding is driven by stimulus-dependent engagement of negative feedback modules. These results provide a model for how signal transduction networks process sequences of inflammatory stimuli to coordinate cellular responses in complex dynamic environments.
    Keywords:  CP: Immunology; NF-κB; cellular memory; inflammation; information theory; innate immune signaling; live-cell imaging; mathematical modeling; microfluidics; pathogen-associated molecular patterns; signaling dynamics
  8. Cell Rep. 2022 Aug 16. pii: S2211-1247(22)01021-X. [Epub ahead of print]40(7): 111204
      Electron transport chain (ETC) biogenesis is tightly coupled to energy levels and availability of ETC subunits. Complex III (CIII), controlling ubiquinol:ubiquinone ratio in ETC, is an attractive node for modulating ETC levels during metabolic stress. Here, we report the discovery of mammalian Co-ordinator of mitochondrial CYTB (COM) complexes that regulate the stepwise CIII biogenesis in response to nutrient and nuclear-encoded ETC subunit availability. The COMA complex, consisting of UQCC1/2 and membrane anchor C16ORF91, facilitates translation of CIII enzymatic core subunit CYTB. Subsequently, microproteins SMIM4 and BRAWNIN together with COMA subunits form the COMB complex to stabilize nascent CYTB. Finally, UQCC3-containing COMC facilitates CYTB hemylation and association with downstream CIII subunits. Furthermore, when nuclear CIII subunits are limiting, COMB is required to chaperone nascent CYTB to prevent OXPHOS collapse. Our studies highlight CYTB synthesis as a key regulatory node of ETC biogenesis and uncover the roles of microproteins in maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis.
    Keywords:  CP: Metabolism; CYTB; SEPs; SMIM4; UQCC1; UQCC2; complex III; electron transport chain; microproteins; nuclear-mitochondrial coordination; smORFs