Mutant huntingtin binds the mitochondrial fission GTPase dynamin-related protein-1 and increases its enzymatic activity.
ABSTRACT Huntington's disease is an inherited and incurable neurodegenerative disorder caused by an abnormal polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion in huntingtin (encoded by HTT). PolyQ length determines disease onset and severity, with a longer expansion causing earlier onset. The mechanisms of mutant huntingtin-mediated neurotoxicity remain unclear; however, mitochondrial dysfunction is a key event in Huntington's disease pathogenesis. Here we tested whether mutant huntingtin impairs the mitochondrial fission-fusion balance and thereby causes neuronal injury. We show that mutant huntingtin triggers mitochondrial fragmentation in rat neurons and fibroblasts of individuals with Huntington's disease in vitro and in a mouse model of Huntington's disease in vivo before the presence of neurological deficits and huntingtin aggregates. Mutant huntingtin abnormally interacts with the mitochondrial fission GTPase dynamin-related protein-1 (DRP1) in mice and humans with Huntington's disease, which, in turn, stimulates its enzymatic activity. Mutant huntingtin-mediated mitochondrial fragmentation, defects in anterograde and retrograde mitochondrial transport and neuronal cell death are all rescued by reducing DRP1 GTPase activity with the dominant-negative DRP1 K38A mutant. Thus, DRP1 might represent a new therapeutic target to combat neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease.
SourceAvailable from: Marco T Nunez[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Synthesis of the iron-containing prosthetic groups-heme and iron-sulfur clusters-occurs in mitochondria. The mitochondrion is also an important producer of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are derived from electrons leaking from the electron transport chain. The coexistence of both ROS and iron in the secluded space of the mitochondrion makes this organelle particularly prone to oxidative damage. Here, we review the elements that configure mitochondrial iron homeostasis and discuss the principles of iron-mediated ROS generation in mitochondria. We also review the evidence for mitochondrial dysfunction and iron accumulation in Alzheimer's disease, Huntington Disease, Friedreich's ataxia, and in particular Parkinson's disease. We postulate that a positive feedback loop of mitochondrial dysfunction, iron accumulation, and ROS production accounts for the process of cell death in various neurodegenerative diseases in which these features are present. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.Mitochondrion 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.mito.2015.02.001 · 3.52 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Lipid rafts are envisaged as lateral assemblies of specific lipids and proteins that dissociate and associate rapidly and form functional clusters in cell membranes. These structural platforms are not confined to the plasma membrane; indeed lipid microdomains are similarly formed at subcellular organelles, which include endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi and mitochondria, named raft-like microdomains. In addition, some components of raft-like microdomains are present within ER-mitochondria associated membranes. This review is focused on the role of mitochondrial raft-like microdomains in the regulation of cell apoptosis, since these microdomains may represent preferential sites where key reactions take place, regulating mitochondria hyperpolarization, fission-associated changes, megapore formation and release of apoptogenic factors. These structural platforms appear to modulate cytoplasmic pathways switching cell fate towards cell survival or death. Main insights on this issue derive from some pathological conditions in which alterations of microdomains structure or function can lead to severe alterations of cell activity and life span. In the light of the role played by raft-like microdomains to integrate apoptotic signals and in regulating mitochondrial dynamics, it is conceivable that these membrane structures may play a role in the mitochondrial alterations observed in some of the most common human neurodegenerative diseases, such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's chorea and prion-related diseases. These findings introduce an additional task for identifying new molecular target(s) of pharmacological agents in these pathologies.APOPTOSIS 02/2015; 20(5). DOI:10.1007/s10495-015-1100-x · 3.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abnormal structure and function of astrocytes have been observed within the lamina cribrosa region of the optic nerve head (ONH) in glaucomatous neurodegeneration. Glutamate excitotoxicity-mediated mitochondrial alteration has been implicated in experimental glaucoma. However, the relationships among glutamate excitotoxicity, mitochondrial alteration and ONH astrocytes in the pathogenesis of glaucoma remain unknown. We found that functional N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors (NRs) are present in human ONH astrocytes and that glaucomatous human ONH astrocytes have increased expression levels of NRs and the glutamate aspartate transporter. Glaucomatous human ONH astrocytes exhibit mitochondrial fission that is linked to increased expression of dynamin-related protein 1 and its phosphorylation at Serine 616. In BAC ALDH1L1 eGFP or Thy1-CFP transgenic mice, NMDA treatment induced axon loss as well as hypertrophic morphology and mitochondrial fission in astrocytes of the glial lamina. In human ONH astrocytes, NMDA treatment in vitro triggered mitochondrial fission by decreasing mitochondrial length and number, thereby reducing mitochondrial volume density. However, blocking excitotoxicity by memantine (MEM) prevented these alterations by increasing mitochondrial length, number and volume density. In glaucomatous DBA/2J (D2) mice, blocking excitotoxicity by MEM inhibited the morphological alteration as well as increased mitochondrial number and volume density in astrocytes of the glial lamina. However, blocking excitotoxicity decreased autophagosome/autolysosome volume density in both astrocytes and axons in the glial lamina of glaucomatous D2 mice. These findings provide evidence that blocking excitotoxicity prevents ONH astrocyte dysfunction in glaucomatous neurodegeneration by increasing mitochondrial fission, increasing mitochondrial volume density and length, and decreasing autophagosome/autolysosome formation. GLIA 2014;00:000–000Glia 12/2014; DOI:10.1002/glia.22781 · 5.47 Impact Factor