Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are central mediators of cardiac dysfunction following ischemia-reperfusion. ABC-me (ABCB10/mABC2) is a mitochondrial transporter highly induced during erythroid differentiation and predominantly expressed in bone marrow, liver and heart. However, ABC-me function in heart is unknown. Several lines of evidence demonstrate that the yeast orthologue of ABC-me protects from increased oxidative stress. Therefore, ABC-me is a potential modulator of the outcome of ischemia-reperfusion in the heart.
Methods and results
Mice harboring one functional allele of ABC-me (ABC-me +/-) were generated by replacing ABC-me exons 2 and 3 by a neomycin resistance cassette. Cardiac function was assessed using Langendorff perfusion and echocardiography. Under basal conditions, ABC-me +/- mice had normal heart structure, hemodynamic function, mitochondrial respiration and oxidative status. However, following ischemia-reperfusion, the recovery of hemodynamic function was reduced by 50% in ABC-me +/- hearts due to impairments in both systolic and diastolic function. This reduction was associated with impaired mitochondrial bioenergetic function and with oxidative damage to both mitochondrial lipids and the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA) after reperfusion. Treatment of ABC-me +/- hearts with the superoxide dismutase/catalase mimetic EUK-207 prevented oxidative damage to mitochondria and SERCA, and restored mitochondrial and cardiac function to wild type levels after reperfusion.
Inactivation of one allele of ABC-me increases the susceptibility to oxidative stress induced by ischemia-reperfusion, leading to increased oxidative damage to mitochondria and SERCA, and to impaired functional recovery. Thus, ABC-me is a novel gene that determines the ability to tolerate cardiac ischemia-reperfusion.
ischemia-reperfusion; oxidative stress; ABC-me; ABCB10; mABC2
ABCB10 (ATP binding cassette sub-family B10) is a mitochondrial inner-membrane ABC transporter. ABCB10 has been shown to protect the heart from the impact of ROS during ischemia-reperfusion and to allow for proper hemoglobin synthesis during erythroid development. ABC transporters are proteins that increase ATP binding and hydrolysis activity in the presence of the transported substrate. However, molecular entities transported by ABCB10 and its regulatory mechanisms are currently unknown. Here we characterized ATP binding and hydrolysis properties of ABCB10 by using the 8-azido-ATP photolabeling technique. This technique can identify potential ABCB10 regulators, transported substrates and amino-acidic residues required for ATP binding and hydrolysis. We confirmed that Gly497 and Lys498 in the Walker A motif, Glu624 in the Walker B motif and Gly602 in the C-Loop motif of ABCB10 are required for proper ATP binding and hydrolysis activity, as their mutation changed ABCB10 8-Azido-ATP photo-labeling. In addition, we show that the potential ABCB10 transported entity and heme precursor delta-aminolevulinic acid (dALA) does not alter 8-azido-ATP photo-labeling. In contrast, oxidized glutathione (GSSG) stimulates ATP hydrolysis without affecting ATP binding, whereas reduced glutathione (GSH) inhibits ATP binding and hydrolysis. Indeed, we detectABCB10 glutathionylation in Cys547 and show that it is one of the exposed cysteine residues within ABCB10 structure. In all, we characterize essential residues for ABCB10 ATPase activity and we provide evidence that supports the exclusion of dALA as a potential substrate directly transported by ABCB10. Last, we show the first molecular mechanism by which mitochondrial oxidative status, through GSH/GSSG, can regulate ABCB10.
Macroautophagy (autophagy) is a critical cellular stress response; however, the signal transduction pathways controlling autophagy induction in response to stress are poorly understood. Here we reveal a new mechanism of autophagy control whose deregulation disrupts mitochondrial integrity and energy homeostasis in vivo. Stress conditions including hypoxia and exercise induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) through upregulation of a protein complex involving REDD1, an mTORC1 inhibitor and the pro-oxidant protein TXNIP. Decreased ROS in cells and tissues lacking either REDD1 or TXNIP increases catalytic activity of the redox-sensitive ATG4B cysteine endopeptidase, leading to enhanced LC3B delipidation and failed autophagy. Conversely, REDD1/TXNIP complex expression is sufficient to induce ROS, suppress ATG4B activity and activate autophagy. In Redd1−/− mice, deregulated ATG4B activity and disabled autophagic flux cause accumulation of defective mitochondria, leading to impaired oxidative phosphorylation, muscle ATP depletion and poor exercise capacity. Thus, ROS regulation through REDD1/TXNIP is physiological rheostat controlling stress-induced autophagy.
Stress-induced macroautophagy is initiated by the induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here Qiao et al. show that the mTOR inhibitor REDD1 in a complex with pro-oxidant protein TXNIP induces ROS formation, leading to ATG4B suppression and autophagy activation in a largely mTOR-independent manner.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide an inexhaustible source of cells for modeling disease and testing drugs. Here we develop a bioinformatic approach to detect differences between the genomic programs of iPSCs derived from diseased versus normal human cohorts as they emerge during in vitro directed differentiation. Using iPSCs generated from a cohort carrying mutations (PiZZ) in the gene responsible for alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency, we find that the global transcriptomes of PiZZ iPSCs diverge from normal controls upon differentiation to hepatic cells. Expression of 135 genes distinguishes PiZZ iPSC-hepatic cells, providing potential clues to liver disease pathogenesis. The disease-specific cells display intracellular accumulation of mutant AAT protein, resulting in increased autophagic flux. Furthermore, we detect beneficial responses to the drug carbamazepine, which further augments autophagic flux, but adverse responses to known hepatotoxic drugs. Our findings support the utility of iPSCs as tools for drug development or prediction of toxicity.
•Patient iPSC-hepatic cells model disease features that normalize with gene editing•Disease-specific transcriptomic signature emerges only upon hepatic differentiation•Patient iPSC-hepatic cells are used to test response to drugs or toxicity in vitro
In this report, Kotton and colleagues examine the global transcriptomic and epigenomic programs of iPSCs derived from diseased (AAT-deficient PiZZ) or normal human cohorts during directed differentiation. The PiZZ transcriptome diverges from controls upon reaching hepatic stage, when AAT is first expressed, providing potential clues to liver disease pathogenesis. PiZZ iPSC-hepatic cells model key liver disease features and demonstrate both therapeutic drug responsiveness and sensitivity to toxic agents.
Adrenergic stimulation of brown adipocytes (BA) induces mitochondrial uncoupling, thereby increasing energy expenditure by shifting nutrient oxidation towards thermogenesis. Here we describe that mitochondrial dynamics is a physiological regulator of adrenergically-induced changes in energy expenditure. The sympathetic neurotransmitter Norepinephrine (NE) induced complete and rapid mitochondrial fragmentation in BA, characterized by Drp1 phosphorylation and Opa1 cleavage. Mechanistically, NE-mediated Drp1 phosphorylation was dependent on Protein Kinase-A (PKA) activity, whereas Opa1 cleavage required mitochondrial depolarization mediated by FFAs released as a result of lipolysis. This change in mitochondrial architecture was observed both in primary cultures and brown adipose tissue from cold-exposed mice. Mitochondrial uncoupling induced by NE in brown adipocytes was reduced by inhibition of mitochondrial fission through transient Drp1 DN overexpression. Furthermore, forced mitochondrial fragmentation in BA through Mfn2 knock down increased the capacity of exogenous FFAs to increase energy expenditure. These results suggest that, in addition to its ability to stimulate lipolysis, NE induces energy expenditure in BA by promoting mitochondrial fragmentation. Together these data reveal that adrenergically-induced changes to mitochondrial dynamics are required for BA thermogenic activation and for the control of energy expenditure.
brown adipose tissue; energy expenditure; mitochondrial dynamics
Mast cells are immune cells derived from hematopoietic precursors that mature in the tissue microenvironment. Mast cells are critical for allergic, immune and inflammatory processes, many of which involve TNF. Mast cells uniquely store TNF in their secretory granules. Upon stimulation, mast cells rapidly (30 min) secrete beta-hexosaminidase (beta-hex) and granule-stored TNF through degranulation, but also increase TNF mRNA and release de novo synthesized TNF 24 hr later. Regulation of these two distinct pathways is poorly understood.
human LAD2 leukemic mast cells are stimulated by substance P (SP). TNF secretion and gene expression were measured by ELISA and Real-Time PCR. Live cell mitochondrial dynamics was observed under Confocal Microscopy. Cell energy consumption were measured in term of oxygen consumption rate.
Here we show that granule-stored TNF is preformed and its secretion from LAD2 mast cells stimulated by SP exhibits (a) higher energy consumption and is inhibited by the mitochondrial ATP pump blocker oligomycin, (b) rapid increase of intracellular calcium levels, and (c) reversible mitochondrial translocation, from a perinuclear distribution to the cell surface, as compared to de novo synthesized TNF release induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). This mitochondrial translocation is confirmed using primary human umbilical cord blood-derived mast cells (hCBMCs) stimulated by an allergic trigger (IgE/streptavidin).
These findings indicate that unique mitochondrial functions distinguish granule-stored from newly synthesized TNF release from human mast cells, thus permitting the versatile involvement of mast cells in different biological processes.
Lipopolysaccharide; Mast cells; Mitochondria; Substance P; TNF
Apoptosis-resistance and metabolic imbalances are prominent features of cancer cells. We have recently reported on populations of human fibroblasts that exhibit resistance to mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis, acquired as a result of a single genotoxic exposure. The objective of the present study was to investigate the intrinsic bioenergetic profile of the death-resistant cells, as compared to the clonogenic control cells. Therefore, we analyzed the basic bioenergetic parameters including oxygen consumption and extracellular acidification rates, coupling efficiency, and spare respiratory capacity. Our data demonstrate a strong correlation between enhanced spare respiratory capacity and death-resistance, which we postulate to be indicative of the earliest stages of carcinogenesis
Mitochondria; bioenergetics; spare respiratory capacity; death-resistance
AL amyloidosis is the consequence of clonal production of amyloidogenic immunoglobulin light chain (LC) proteins, often resulting in a rapidly progressive and fatal amyloid cardiomyopathy. Recent work has found that amyloidogenic LC directly initiate a cardio-toxic response underlying the pathogenesis of the cardiomyopathy; however, the mechanisms that contribute to this proteotoxicity remain unknown. Using human amyloidogenic LC isolated from patients with amyloid cardiomyopathy, we reveal that dysregulation of autophagic flux is critical for mediating amyloidogenic LC proteotoxicity. Restoration of autophagic flux by pharmacological intervention using rapamycin protected against amyloidogenic light chain protein-induced pathologies including contractile dysfunction and cell death at the cellular and organ level and also prolonged survival in an in vivo zebrafish model of amyloid cardiotoxicity. Mechanistically, we identify impaired lysosomal function to be the major cause of defective autophagy and amyloidogenic LC-induced proteotoxicity. Collectively, these findings detail the downstream molecular mechanisms underlying AL amyloid cardiomyopathy and highlight potential targeting of autophagy and lysosomal dysfunction in patients with amyloid cardiomyopathy.
amyloidosis; autophagy; cardiac toxicity; lysosome; mitochondria
Heme plays a critical role in gas exchange, mitochondrial energy production and antioxidant defenses in cardiovascular system. The mitochondrial transporter ATP-binding cassette (ABC) B10 has been suggested to export heme out of the mitochondria and is required for normal hemoglobinization of erythropoietic cells and protection against ischemia-reperfusion injury in the heart; however, its primary function has not been established.
The aim of this study was to identify the function of ABCB10 in heme synthesis in cardiac cells.
Methods and Results
Knockdown of ABCB10 in cardiac myoblasts significantly reduced heme levels and the activities of heme-containing proteins, while supplementation with δ-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) reversed these defects. Overexpression of mitochondrial ALA synthase 2 (ALAS2), the rate-limiting enzyme upstream of ALA export, failed to restore heme levels in cells with ABCB10 downregulation. ABCB10 and heme levels were increased by hypoxia, and reversal of ABCB10 upregulation caused oxidative stress and cell death. Moreover, ABCB10 knockdown in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRCM) resulted in a significant delay of calcium removal from the cytoplasm, suggesting a relaxation defect. Finally, ABCB10 expression and heme levels were altered in failing human hearts and mice with ischemic cardiomyopathy.
ABCB10 plays a critical role in heme synthesis pathway by facilitating ALA production or export from the mitochondria. In contrast to previous reports, we show that ABCB10 is not a heme exporter, and instead is required for the early mitochondrial steps of heme biosynthesis.
δ-aminolevulinic acid; heme; mitochondria; ATP-binding cassette transporters; ischemic cardiomyopathy
Recent studies have shown mitochondrial dysfunction and increased production of reactive oxygen species in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC’s) and endothelial cells from patients with diabetes mellitus. Mitochondria oxygen consumption is coupled to ATP production and also occurs in an uncoupled fashion during formation of reactive oxygen species by components of the electron transport chain and other enzymatic sites. We therefore hypothesized that diabetes would be associated with higher total and uncoupled oxygen consumption in PBMC’s that would correlate with endothelial dysfunction. We developed a method to measure oxygen consumption in freshly isolated PBMC’s and applied it to 26 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and 28 non-diabetic controls. Basal (192±47 vs. 161±44 pMoles/min, P=0.01), uncoupled (64±16 vs. 53±16 pMoles/min, P=0.007), and maximal (795±87 vs. 715±128 pMoles/min, P=0.01) oxygen consumption rates were higher in diabetic patients compared to controls. There were no significant correlations between oxygen consumption rates and endothelium-dependent flow-mediated dilation measured by vascular ultrasound. Non-endothelium-dependent nitroglycerin-mediated dilation was lower in diabetics (10.1±6.6 vs. 15.8±4.8%, P=0.03) and correlated with maximal oxygen consumption (R= −0.64, P=0.001). In summary, we found that diabetes mellitus is associated with a pattern of mitochondrial oxygen consumption consistent with higher production of reactive oxygen species. The correlation between oxygen consumption and nitroglycerin-mediated dilation may suggest a link between mitochondrial dysfunction and vascular smooth muscle cell dysfunction that merits further study. Finally, the described method may have utility for assessment of mitochondrial function in larger scale observational and interventional studies in humans.
mitochondria; oxygen consumption; diabetes mellitus; blood mononuclear cells
The proapoptotic BCL-2 family member BAD resides in a glucokinase-containing complex that regulates glucose-driven mitochondrial respiration. Here, we present genetic evidence of a physiologic role for BAD in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by beta cells. This novel function of BAD is specifically dependent upon the phosphorylation of its BH3 sequence, previously defined as an essential death domain. We highlight the pharmacologic relevance of phosphorylated BAD BH3 by using cell-permeable, hydrocarbon-stapled BAD BH3 helices that target glucokinase, restore glucose-driven mitochondrial respiration and correct the insulin secretory response in Bad-deficient islets. Our studies uncover an alternative target and function for the BAD BH3 domain and emphasize the therapeutic potential of phosphorylated BAD BH3 mimetics in selectively restoring beta cell function. Furthermore, we show that BAD regulates the physiologic adaptation of beta cell mass during high-fat feeding. Our findings provide genetic proof of the bifunctional activities of BAD in both beta cell survival and insulin secretion.
Obesity and diabetes are caused by defects in metabolically sensitive tissues. Attention has been paid to insulin resistance as the key relevant pathosis, with a detailed focus on signal transduction pathways in metabolic tissues. Evidence exists to support an important role for each tissue in metabolic homeostasis and a potential causative role in both diabetes and obesity. The redox metabolome, that coordinates tissue responses and reflects shared control and regulation, is our focus. Consideration is given to the possibility that pathosis results from contributions of all relevant tissues, by virtue of a circulating communication system. Validation of this model would support simultaneous regulation of all collaborating metabolic organs through changes in the circulation, regardless of whether change was initiated exogenously or by a single organ.
Mitochondrial dynamics, the fusion and fission of individual mitochondrial units, is critical to the exchange of the metabolic, genetic and proteomic contents of individual mitochondria. In this regard, fusion and fission events have been shown to modulate mitochondrial bioenergetics, as well as several cellular processes including fuel sensing, ATP production, autophagy, apoptosis, and the cell cycle. Regulation of the dynamic events of fusion and fission occur at two redundant and interactive levels. Locally, the microenvironment of the individual mitochondrion can alter its ability to fuse, divide or move through the cell. Globally, nuclear-encoded processes and cellular ionic and second messenger systems can alter or activate mitochondrial proteins, regulate mitochondrial dynamics and concomitantly change the condition of the mitochondrial population. In this review we investigate the different global and local signals that control mitochondrial biology. This discussion is carried out to clarify the different signals that impact the status of the mitochondrial population.
Mitochondrial Dynamics; Cell Cycle; Autophagy; Fusion; Fission; mtDNA; Mitochondrial Movement; Bioenergetics; Mitophagy
Mitochondria are one of the major sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the cell. When exceeding the capacity of antioxidant mechanisms, ROS production may lead to different pathologies, such as ischemia-reperfusion injury, neurodegeneration, anemia and ageing. As a consequence of the endosymbiotic origin of mitochondria, eukaryotic cells have developed different transport mechanisms that coordinate mitochondrial function with other cellular compartments. Four mitochondrial ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters have been described to date in mammals: ABCB6, ABCB8, ABCB7 and ABCB10. ABCB10 is located in the inner mitochondrial membrane forming homodimers, with the ATP binding domain facing the mitochondrial matrix. ABCB10 expression is highly induced during erythroid differentiation and its overexpression increases hemoglobin synthesis in erythroid cells. However, ABCB10 is also expressed in nonerythroid tissues, suggesting a role not directly related to hemoglobin synthesis. Recent evidence points toward ABCB10 as an important player in the protection from oxidative stress in mammals. In this regard, ABCB10 is required for normal erythropoiesis and cardiac recovery after ischemia-reperfusion, processes intimately related to mitochondrial ROS generation. Here, we review the current knowledge on mitochondrial ABC transporters and ABCB10 and discuss the potential mechanisms by which ABCB10 and its transport activity may regulate oxidative stress. We discuss ABCB10 as a potential therapeutic target for diseases in which increased mitochondrial ROS production and oxidative stress play a major role.
mitochondria; oxidative stress; ABCB10; ABC-me; erythropoiesis; ischemia-reperfusion
Type 2 diabetes and obesity are characterized by elevated nocturnal circulating free fatty acids, elevated basal insulin secretion, and blunted glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). The CB1 receptor antagonist, Rimonabant, has been shown to improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in vivo but its direct effect on islets has been unclear. Islets from lean littermates and obese Zucker (ZF) and Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF) rats were incubated for 24 h in vitro and exposed to 11 mmol/l glucose and 0.3 mmol/l palmitate (GL) with or without Rimonabant. Insulin secretion was determined at basal (3 mmol/l) or stimulatory (15 mmol/l) glucose concentrations. As expected, basal secretion was significantly elevated in islets from obese or GL-treated lean rats whereas the fold increase in GSIS was diminished. Rimonabant decreased basal hypersecretion in islets from obese rats and GL-treated lean rats without decreasing the fold increase in GSIS. However, it decreased GSIS in islets from lean rats without affecting basal secretion. These findings indicate that Rimonabant has direct effects on islets to reduce insulin secretion when secretion is elevated above normal levels by diet or in obesity. In contrast, it appears to decrease stimulated secretion in islets from lean animals but not in obese or GL-exposed islets.
The mitochondrial life cycle consists of frequent fusion and fission events. Ample experimental and clinical data demonstrate that inhibition of either fusion or fission result in deterioration of mitochondrial bioenergetics. While fusion may benefit mitochondrial function by allowing the spreading of metabolites, protein and DNA throughout the network, the functional benefit of fission is not as intuitive. Remarkably, studies that track individual mitochondria through fusion and fission found that the two events are paired and that fusion triggers fission. On average each mitochondrion would go though ~5 fusion:fission cycles every hour. Measurement of Δψm during single fusion and fission events demonstrate that fission may yield uneven daughter mitochondria where the depolarized daughter less likely to become involved in a subsequent fusion and is more likely to be targeted by autophagy. Based on these observations we propose a mechanism by which the integration of mitochondrial fusion, fission and autophagy form a quality maintenance mechanism. According to this hypothesis pairs of fusion and fission allow for the reorganization and sequestration of damaged mitochondrial components into daughter mitochondria that are segregated from the networking pool and then becoming eliminated by autophagy.
Mitochondria; Membrane potential; Fusion; Fission; Autophagy
Elevated blood pressure (BP) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Several studies have noted a consistent maternal effect on BP; consequently, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation has become an additional target of investigation of the missing BP heritability. Analyses of common mtDNA polymorphisms, however, have not found evidence of association with hypertension. To explore associations of relatively rare (frequency < 5%) mtDNA variants with BP, we identified uncommon/rare variants through sequencing the entire mitochondrial genome in 32 unrelated individuals with extreme-high BP in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and genotyped 40 mtSNPs in 7,219 FHS participants. The nonsynonymous mtSNP 5913G>A (Asp4Asn) in the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 of Complex IV demonstrated significant associations with BP and fasting blood glucose (FBG) levels. Individuals with the rare 5913A allele had, on average, 7 mm Hg higher systolic BP at baseline (Pempirical = 0.05) and 17 mg/dL higher mean FBG over 25 years of follow up (Pempirical = 0.009). Significant associations with FBG levels were also detected for nonsynonymous mtSNP 3316G>A (Ala4Thr) in the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 1 of Complex I. On average, individuals with rare allele 3316A had 17 and 25 mg/dL higher FBG at baseline (Pempirical = 0.01) and over 25 years of follow up (Pempirical = 0.007). Our findings provide the first evidence of putative association of variants in the mitochondrial genome with SBP and FBG in the general population. Replication in independent samples, however, is needed to confirm these putative associations.
Mitochondrial genome; Association study; Genetics; Hypertension; Diabetes
To study mitochondrial protein age dynamics, we targeted a time-sensitive fluorescent protein, MitoTimer, to the mitochondrial matrix. Mitochondrial age was revealed by the integrated portions of young (green) and old (red) MitoTimer protein. Mitochondrial protein age was dependent on turnover rates as pulsed synthesis, decreased import, or autophagic inhibition all increased the proportion of aged MitoTimer protein. Mitochondrial fusion promotes the distribution of young mitochondrial protein across the mitochondrial network as cells lacking essential fusion genes Mfn1 and Mfn2 displayed increased heterogeneity in mitochondrial protein age. Experiments in hippocampal neurons illustrate that the distribution of older and younger mitochondrial protein within the cell is determined by subcellular spatial organization and compartmentalization of mitochondria into neurites and soma. This effect was altered by overexpression of mitochondrial transport protein, RHOT1/MIRO1. Collectively our data show that distribution of young and old protein in the mitochondrial network is dependent on turnover, fusion, and transport.
MitoTimer; aging; mitochondrial dynamics; autophagy; RHOT1
Prolonged antibiotic treatment can lead to detrimental side effects in patients, including ototoxicity, nephrotoxicity, and tendinopathy, yet the mechanisms underlying the effects of antibiotics in mammalian systems remain unclear. It has been suggested that bactericidal antibiotics induce the formation of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) in bacteria. We show that clinically relevant doses of bactericidal antibiotics—quinolones, aminoglycosides, and β-lactams—cause mitochondrial dysfunction and ROS overproduction in mammalian cells. We demonstrate that these bactericidal antibiotic–induced effects lead to oxidative damage to DNA, proteins, and membrane lipids. Mice treated with bactericidal antibiotics exhibited elevated oxidative stress markers in the blood, oxidative tissue damage, and up-regulated expression of key genes involved in antioxidant defense mechanisms, which points to the potential physiological relevance of these antibiotic effects. The deleterious effects of bactericidal antibiotics were alleviated in cell culture and in mice by the administration of the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine or prevented by preferential use of bacteriostatic antibiotics. This work highlights the role of antibiotics in the production of oxidative tissue damage in mammalian cells and presents strategies to mitigate or prevent the resulting damage, with the goal of improving the safety of antibiotic treatment in people.
Telomere dysfunction activates p53-mediated cellular growth arrest, senescence and apoptosis to drive progressive atrophy and functional decline in high-turnover tissues. The broader adverse impact of telomere dysfunction across many tissues including more quiescent systems prompted transcriptomic network analyses to identify common mechanisms operative in haematopoietic stem cells, heart and liver. These unbiased studies revealed profound repression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, coactivator 1 alpha and beta (PGC-1α and PGC-1β, also known as Ppargc1a and Ppargc1b, respectively) and the downstream network in mice null for either telomerase reverse transcriptase (Tert) or telomerase RNA component (Terc) genes. Consistent with PGCs as master regulators of mitochondrial physiology and metabolism, telomere dysfunction is associated with impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and function, decreased gluconeogenesis, cardiomyopathy, and increased reactive oxygen species. In the setting of telomere dysfunction, enforced Tert or PGC-1α expression or germline deletion of p53 (also known as Trp53) substantially restores PGC network expression, mitochondrial respiration, cardiac function and gluconeogenesis. We demonstrate that telomere dysfunction activates p53 which in turn binds and represses PGC-1α and PGC-1β promoters, thereby forging a direct link between telomere and mitochondrial biology. We propose that this telomere–p53–PGC axis contributes to organ and metabolic failure and to diminishing organismal fitness in the setting of telomere dysfunction.
Recent imaging studies of mitochondrial dynamics have implicated a cycle of fusion, fission, and autophagy in the quality control of mitochondrial function by selectively increasing the membrane potential of some mitochondria at the expense of the turnover of others. This complex, dynamical system creates spatially distributed networks that are dependent on active transport along cytoskeletal networks and on protein import leading to biogenesis. To study the relative impacts of local interactions between neighboring mitochondria and their reorganization via transport, we have developed a spatiotemporal mathematical model encompassing all of these processes in which we focus on the dynamics of a health parameter meant to mimic the functional state of mitochondria. In agreement with previous models, we show that both autophagy and the generation of membrane potential asymmetry following a fusion/fission cycle are required for maintaining a healthy mitochondrial population. This health maintenance is affected by mitochondrial density and motility primarily through changes in the frequency of fusion events. Health is optimized when the selectivity thresholds for fusion and fission are matched, providing a mechanistic basis for the observed coupling of the two processes through the protein OPA1. We also demonstrate that the discreteness of the components exchanged during fusion is critical for quality control, and that the effects of limiting total amounts of autophagy and biogenesis have distinct consequences on health and population size, respectively. Taken together, our results show that several general principles emerge from the complexity of the quality control cycle that can be used to focus and interpret future experimental studies, and our modeling framework provides a road-map for deconstructing the functional importance of local interactions in communities of cells as well as organelles.
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of eukaryotic cells, oxidizing glucose to produce ATP. Most cells harbor tens to hundreds of mitochondria in a constant state of flux, in which they fuse with one another, undergo fission, import proteins to grow larger, and eventually are recycled by autophagy. These dynamic processes depend on the electrical potential that is maintained across the mitochondrial inner membrane and powers the production of both ATP and detrimental reactive oxygen species. How do mitochondria maintain high membrane potential in the face of damage due to reactive oxygen species? Here, we develop a model to study how the reorganization of mitochondrial networks in space and time due to fusion, fission, and the experimentally observed development of membrane potential asymmetry after fission affect overall mitochondrial health. We show that health, which is a proxy for the mitochondrial membrane potential, is dominated by how density and motility affect the frequency of fusion events, and that several simple rules for the system kinetics lead to optimal quality control. This model predicts general behaviors that can be applied to specific studies of mitochondrial dynamics in a wide variety of cell types, and provides a framework for deconstructing complex organellar organization and their function in human disease.
Autophagy has emerged as a key cellular process for organellar quality control, yet this pathway apparently fails to eliminate mitochondria containing pathogenic mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in patients with a variety of human diseases. In order to explore how mtDNA-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction interacts with endogenous autophagic pathways, we examined autophagic status in a panel of human cytoplasmic hybrid (cybrid) cell lines carrying a variety of pathogenic mtDNA mutations. We found that both genetic- and chemically induced loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (Δψm) caused recruitment of the pro-mitophagic factor Parkin to mitochondria. Strikingly, however, the loss of Δψm alone was insufficient to prompt delivery of mitochondria to the autophagosome (mitophagy). We found that mitophagy could be induced following treatment with the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin in cybrids carrying either large-scale partial deletions of mtDNA or complete depletion of mtDNA. Further, we found that the level of endogenous Parkin is a crucial determinant of mitophagy. These results suggest a two-hit model, in which the synergistic induction of both (i) mitochondrial recruitment of Parkin following the loss of Δψm and (ii) mTORC1-controlled general macroautophagy is required for mitophagy. It appears that mitophagy can be accomplished by the endogenous autophagic machinery, but requires the full engagement of both of these pathways.
To assess telomerase as a cancer therapeutic target and determine adaptive mechanisms to telomerase inhibition, we modeled telomerase reactivation and subsequent extinction in T-cell lymphomas arising in Atm-/- mice engineered with an inducible telomerase reverse transcriptase allele. Telomerase reactivation in the setting of telomere dysfunction enabled full malignant progression with alleviation of telomere dysfunction-induced checkpoints. These cancers possessed copy number alterations targeting key loci in human T-cell lymphomagenesis. Upon telomerase extinction, tumor growth eventually slowed with re-instatement of telomere dysfunction-induced checkpoints, yet growth subsequently resumed as tumors acquired Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) and aberrant transcriptional networks centering on mitochondrial biology and oxidative defense. ALT+ tumors acquired amplification/overexpression of PGC-1β, a master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis and function, and they showed marked sensitivity to PGC-1β or SOD2 knock-down. Genetic modeling of telomerase extinction reveals vulnerabilities that motivate coincidental inhibition of mitochondrial maintenance and oxidative defense mechanisms to enhance anti-telomerase cancer therapy.