bims-nenemi Biomed News
on Neuroinflammation, neurodegeneration and mitochondria
Issue of 2022‒10‒09
fourteen papers selected by
Marco Tigano
Thomas Jefferson University

  1. Commun Biol. 2022 Oct 05. 5(1): 1060
      Effective protein import from cytosol is critical for mitochondrial functions and metabolic regulation. We describe here the mammalian muscle-specific and systemic consequences to disrupted mitochondrial matrix protein import by targeted deletion of the mitochondrial HSP70 co-chaperone GRPEL1. Muscle-specific loss of GRPEL1 caused rapid muscle atrophy, accompanied by shut down of oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation, and excessive triggering of proteotoxic stress responses. Transcriptome analysis identified new responders to mitochondrial protein import toxicity, such as the neurological disease-linked intermembrane space protein CHCHD10. Besides communication with ER and nucleus, we identified crosstalk of distressed mitochondria with peroxisomes, in particular the induction of peroxisomal Acyl-CoA oxidase 2 (ACOX2), which we propose as an ATF4-regulated peroxisomal marker of integrated stress response. Metabolic profiling indicated fatty acid enrichment in muscle, a shift in TCA cycle intermediates in serum and muscle, and dysregulated bile acids. Our results demonstrate the fundamental importance of GRPEL1 and provide a robust model for detecting mammalian inter-organellar and systemic responses to impaired mitochondrial matrix protein import and folding.
  2. J Virol. 2022 Oct 05. e0082822
      Mitochondrial fitness is governed by mitochondrial quality control pathways comprising mitochondrial dynamics and mitochondrial-selective autophagy (mitophagy). Disruption of these processes has been implicated in many human diseases, including viral infections. Here, we report a comprehensive analysis of the effect of dengue infection on host mitochondrial homeostasis and its significance in dengue disease pathogenesis. Despite severe mitochondrial stress and injury, we observed that the pathways of mitochondrial quality control and mitochondrial biogenesis are paradoxically downregulated in dengue-infected human liver cells. This leads to the disruption of mitochondrial homeostasis and the onset of cellular injury and necrotic death in the infected cells. Interestingly, dengue promotes global autophagy but selectively disrupts mitochondrial-selective autophagy (mitophagy). Dengue downregulates the expression of PINK1 and Parkin, the two major proteins involved in tagging the damaged mitochondria for elimination through mitophagy. Mitophagy flux assays also suggest that Parkin-independent pathways of mitophagy are also inactive during dengue infection. Dengue infection also disrupts mitochondrial biogenesis by downregulating the master regulators PPARγ and PGC1α. Dengue-infected cells release mitochondrial damage-associated molecular patterns (mtDAMPs) such as mitochondrial DNA into the cytosol and extracellular milieu. Furthermore, the challenge of naive immune cells with culture supernatants from dengue-infected liver cells was sufficient to trigger proinflammatory signaling. In correlation with our in vitro observations, dengue patients have high levels of cell-free mitochondrial DNA in their blood in proportion to the degree of thrombocytopenia. Overall, our study shows how defective mitochondrial homeostasis in dengue-infected liver cells can drive dengue disease pathogenesis. IMPORTANCE Many viruses target host cell mitochondria to create a microenvironment conducive to viral dissemination. Dengue virus also exploits host cell mitochondria to facilitate its viral life cycle. Dengue infection of liver cells leads to severe mitochondrial injury and inhibition of proteins that regulate mitochondrial quality control and biogenesis, thereby disrupting mitochondrial homeostasis. A defect in mitochondrial quality control leads to the accumulation of damaged mitochondria and promotes cellular injury. This leads to the release of mitochondrial damage-associated molecular patterns (mt-DAMPs) into the cell cytoplasm and extracellular milieu. These mt-DAMPs activate the naive immune cells and trigger proinflammatory signaling, leading to the release of cytokines and chemokines, which may trigger systemic inflammation and contribute to dengue disease pathogenesis. In correlation with this, we observed high levels of cell-free mitochondrial DNA in dengue patient blood. This study provides insight into how the disruption of mitochondrial quality control in dengue-infected cells can trigger inflammation and drive dengue disease pathogenesis.
    Keywords:  autophagy; dengue virus; inflammation; mitochondria; mitochondrial homeostasis; mitochondrial quality control; mitophagy; mt-DNA; necrosis
  3. Elife. 2022 Oct 06. pii: e80396. [Epub ahead of print]11
      Mitochondria harbor an independent genome, called mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which contains essential metabolic genes. Although mtDNA mutations occur at high frequency, they are inherited infrequently, indicating that germline mechanisms limit their accumulation. To determine how germline mtDNA is regulated, we examined the control of mtDNA quantity and quality in C. elegans primordial germ cells (PGCs). We show that PGCs combine strategies to generate a low point in mtDNA number by segregating mitochondria into lobe-like protrusions that are cannibalized by adjacent cells, and by concurrently eliminating mitochondria through autophagy, reducing overall mtDNA content twofold. As PGCs exit quiescence and divide, mtDNAs replicate to maintain a set point of ~200 mtDNAs per germline stem cell. Whereas cannibalism and autophagy eliminate mtDNAs stochastically, we show that the kinase PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1), operating independently of Parkin and autophagy, preferentially reduces the fraction of mutant mtDNAs. Thus, PGCs employ parallel mechanisms to control both the quantity and quality of the founding population of germline mtDNAs.
    Keywords:  C. elegans; PINK1; autophagy; bottleneck; cell biology; developmental biology; mitochondrial DNA; primordial germ cells; purifying selection
  4. Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 06. 13(1): 5902
      Methods to reconstruct the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence using short-read sequencing come with an inherent bias due to amplification and mapping. They can fail to determine the phase of variants, to capture multiple deletions and to cover the mitochondrial genome evenly. Here we describe a method to target, multiplex and sequence at high coverage full-length human mitochondrial genomes as native single-molecules, utilizing the RNA-guided DNA endonuclease Cas9. Combining Cas9 induced breaks, that define the mtDNA beginning and end of the sequencing reads, as barcodes, we achieve high demultiplexing specificity and delineation of the full-length of the mtDNA, regardless of the structural variant pattern. The long-read sequencing data is analysed with a pipeline where our custom-developed software, baldur, efficiently detects single nucleotide heteroplasmy to below 1%, physically determines phase and can accurately disentangle complex deletions. Our workflow is a tool for studying mtDNA variation and will accelerate mitochondrial research.
  5. BMB Rep. 2022 Oct 05. pii: 5694. [Epub ahead of print]
      The implications of nutrient starvation due to aging on the degeneration of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is yet to be fully explored. We examined the involvement of AMPK activation in mitochondrial homeostasis and its relationship with the maintenance of a healthy mitochondrial population and epithelial characteristics of RPE cells under nutrient starvation. Nutrient starvation induced mitochondrial senescence, which led to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in RPE cells. As nutrient starvation persisted, RPE cells underwent pathological epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) via the upregulation of TWIST1, a transcription regulator which is activated by ROS-induced NF-κB signaling. Enhanced activation of AMPK with metformin decelerated mitochondrial senescence and EMT progression through mitochondrial biogenesis, primed by activation of PGC1-α. Thus, by facilitating mitochondrial biogenesis, AMPK protects RPE cells from the loss of epithelial integrity due to the accumulation of ROS in senescent mitochondria under nutrient starvation.
  6. Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 07. 13(1): 5918
      Replication errors and various genotoxins cause DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) where error-prone repair creates genomic mutations, most frequently focal deletions, and defective repair may lead to neurodegeneration. Despite its pathophysiological importance, the extent to which faulty DSB repair alters the genome, and the mechanisms by which mutations arise, have not been systematically examined reflecting ineffective methods. Here, we develop PhaseDel, a computational method to detect focal deletions and characterize underlying mechanisms in single-cell whole genome sequences (scWGS). We analyzed high-coverage scWGS of 107 single neurons from 18 neurotypical individuals of various ages, and found that somatic deletions increased with age and in highly expressed genes in human brain. Our analysis of 50 single neurons from DNA repair-deficient diseases with progressive neurodegeneration (Cockayne syndrome, Xeroderma pigmentosum, and Ataxia telangiectasia) reveals elevated somatic deletions compared to age-matched controls. Distinctive mechanistic signatures and transcriptional associations suggest roles for somatic deletions in neurodegeneration.
  7. J Neuroinflammation. 2022 Oct 06. 19(1): 248
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the elderly globally. Emerging evidence has demonstrated microglia-driven neuroinflammation as a key contributor to the onset and progression of AD, however, the mechanisms that mediate neuroinflammation remain largely unknown. Recent studies have suggested mitochondrial dysfunction including mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage, metabolic defects, and quality control (QC) disorders precedes microglial activation and subsequent neuroinflammation. Therefore, an in-depth understanding of the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and microglial activation in AD is important to unveil the pathogenesis of AD and develop effective approaches for early AD diagnosis and treatment. In this review, we summarized current progress in the roles of mtDNA, mitochondrial metabolism, mitochondrial QC changes in microglial activation in AD, and provide comprehensive thoughts for targeting microglial mitochondria as potential therapeutic strategies of AD.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; Metabolism; Microglia; Mitochondria; mtDNA
  8. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Oct 11. 119(41): e2208649119
      Neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease (NIID) is a neuromuscular/neurodegenerative disease caused by the expansion of CGG repeats in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of the NOTCH2NLC gene. These repeats can be translated into a polyglycine-containing protein, uN2CpolyG, which forms protein inclusions and is toxic in cell models, albeit through an unknown mechanism. Here, we established a transgenic Drosophila model expressing uN2CpolyG in multiple systems, which resulted in progressive neuronal cell loss, locomotor deficiency, and shortened lifespan. Interestingly, electron microscopy revealed mitochondrial swelling both in transgenic flies and in muscle biopsies of individuals with NIID. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy showed colocalization of uN2CpolyG with mitochondria in cell and patient samples, while biochemical analysis revealed that uN2CpolyG interacted with a mitochondrial RNA binding protein, LRPPRC (leucine-rich pentatricopeptide repeat motif-containing protein). Furthermore, RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis and functional assays showed down-regulated mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in uN2CpolyG-expressing flies and NIID muscle biopsies. Finally, idebenone treatment restored mitochondrial function and alleviated neurodegenerative phenotypes in transgenic flies. Overall, these results indicate that transgenic flies expressing uN2CpolyG recapitulate key features of NIID and that reversing mitochondrial dysfunction might provide a potential therapeutic approach for this disorder.
    Keywords:  idebenone treatment; mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation defects; neuronal intranuclear inclusion disease; polyG; transgenic Drosophila model
  9. Nature. 2022 Oct 05.
      DNA transfer from cytoplasmic organelles to the cell nucleus is a legacy of the endosymbiotic event-the majority of nuclear-mitochondrial segments (NUMTs) are thought to be ancient, preceding human speciation1-3. Here we analyse whole-genome sequences from 66,083 people-including 12,509 people with cancer-and demonstrate the ongoing transfer of mitochondrial DNA into the nucleus, contributing to a complex NUMT landscape. More than 99% of individuals had at least one of 1,637 different NUMTs, with 1 in 8 individuals having an ultra-rare NUMT that is present in less than 0.1% of the population. More than 90% of the extant NUMTs that we evaluated inserted into the nuclear genome after humans diverged from apes. Once embedded, the sequences were no longer under the evolutionary constraint seen within the mitochondrion, and NUMT-specific mutations had a different mutational signature to mitochondrial DNA. De novo NUMTs were observed in the germline once in every 104 births and once in every 103 cancers. NUMTs preferentially involved non-coding mitochondrial DNA, linking transcription and replication to their origin, with nuclear insertion involving multiple mechanisms including double-strand break repair associated with PR domain zinc-finger protein 9 (PRDM9) binding. The frequency of tumour-specific NUMTs differed between cancers, including a probably causal insertion in a myxoid liposarcoma. We found evidence of selection against NUMTs on the basis of size and genomic location, shaping a highly heterogenous and dynamic human NUMT landscape.
  10. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022 ;10 910464
      Embryonic stem cells (ESCs), which are characterized by the capacity for self-renewal and pluripotency, hold great promise for regenerative medicine. Increasing evidence points to the essential role of mitophagy in pluripotency regulation. Our recent work showed that PINK1/OPTN take part in guarding ESC mitochondrial homeostasis and pluripotency. Evaluating mitophagy in ESCs is important for exploring the relationships between mitochondrial homeostasis and pluripotency. ESCs are smaller in size than adult somatic cells and the mitophagosomes in ESCs are difficult to observe. Many methods have been employed-for example, detecting colocalization of LC3-II and mitochondria-to evaluate mitophagy in ESCs. However, it is important to define an objective way to detect mitophagy in ESCs. Here, we evaluated two commonly used fluorescence-based imaging methods to detect mitophagy in ESCs. By using autophagy- or mitophagy-defective ESC lines, we showed that the mito-Keima (mt-Keima) system is a suitable and effective way for detecting and quantifying mitophagy in ESCs. Our study provides evidence that mt-Keima is an effective tool to study mitophagy function in ESCs.
    Keywords:  ATG3; LC3; PINK1; mitophagy; mt-keima
  11. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 Oct 11. 119(41): e2207303119
      In live cells, phase separation is thought to organize macromolecules into membraneless structures known as biomolecular condensates. Here, we reconstituted transcription in condensates from purified mitochondrial components using optimized in vitro reaction conditions to probe the structure-function relationships of biomolecular condensates. We find that the core components of the mt-transcription machinery form multiphasic, viscoelastic condensates in vitro. Strikingly, the rates of condensate-mediated transcription are substantially lower than in solution. The condensate-mediated decrease in transcriptional rates is associated with the formation of vesicle-like structures that are driven by the production and accumulation of RNA during transcription. The generation of RNA alters the global phase behavior and organization of transcription components within condensates. Coarse-grained simulations of mesoscale structures at equilibrium show that the components stably assemble into multiphasic condensates and that the vesicles formed in vitro are the result of dynamical arrest. Overall, our findings illustrate the complex phase behavior of transcribing, multicomponent condensates, and they highlight the intimate, bidirectional interplay of structure and function in transcriptional condensates.
    Keywords:  biomolecular condensates; mitochondrial genome; phase separation; transcription; vesicles
  12. Autophagy. 2022 Oct 06.
      RHOA (ras homolog family member A) is a small G-protein that regulates a range of cellular processes including cell growth and survival. RHOA is a proximal downstream effector of G protein-coupled receptor coupling to GNA12/Gα12-GNA13/Gα13 proteins, and is activated in response to stretch and oxidative stress, functioning as a stress-response molecule. It has been demonstrated that RHOA signaling provides cardioprotection through inhibition of mitochondrial death pathways. Mitochondrial integrity is preserved not only by inhibition of mitochondrial death pathways but also by mitochondrial quality control mechanisms including mitophagy. One of the most well-established mechanisms of mitophagy is the mitochondrial membrane depolarization-dependent PINK1-PRKN/Parkin pathway. However, depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential is a late-stage event that occurs just before cell death, and additional intracellular mechanisms that enhance the PINK1-PRKN pathway have not been fully determined. We recently discovered that RHOA activation engages a unique mechanism to regulate PINK1 protein stability without inducing mitochondrial membrane depolarization, leading to increased mitophagy and protection against ischemia in cardiomyocytes. Our results suggest regulation of RHOA signaling as a potential strategy to enhance protective mitophagy against stress without compromising mitochondrial functions.
    Keywords:  Cardiomyocytes; PINK1, RHOA; ischemia; mitophagy, Parkin
  13. Cell Metab. 2022 Sep 28. pii: S1550-4131(22)00395-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      The structural and functional organization of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) remains intensely debated. Here, we show the co-existence of two separate MRC organizations in human cells and postmitotic tissues, C-MRC and S-MRC, defined by the preferential expression of three COX7A subunit isoforms, COX7A1/2 and SCAFI (COX7A2L). COX7A isoforms promote the functional reorganization of distinct co-existing MRC structures to prevent metabolic exhaustion and MRC deficiency. Notably, prevalence of each MRC organization is reversibly regulated by the activation state of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC). Under oxidative conditions, the C-MRC is bioenergetically more efficient, whereas the S-MRC preferentially maintains oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) upon metabolic rewiring toward glycolysis. We show a link between the metabolic signatures converging at the PDC and the structural and functional organization of the MRC, challenging the widespread notion of the MRC as a single functional unit and concluding that its structural heterogeneity warrants optimal adaptation to metabolic function.
    Keywords:  COX7A1–2; SCAFI/COX7RP/COX7A2L; bioenergetics; glycolysis; metabolic switch; mitochondria; oxidative metabolism; pyruvate dehydrogenase; respiratory chain organizations; respiratory supercomplexes