[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The metazoan mitochondrial DNA helicase is an integral part of the minimal mitochondrial replisome. It exhibits strong sequence homology with the bacteriophage T7 gene 4 protein primase-helicase (T7 gp4). Both proteins contain distinct N- and C-terminal domains separated by a flexible linker. The C-terminal domain catalyzes its characteristic DNA-dependent NTPase activity, and can unwind duplex DNA substrates independently of the N-terminal domain. Whereas the N-terminal domain in T7 gp4 contains a DNA primase activity, this function is lost in metazoan mtDNA helicase. Thus, although the functions of the C-terminal domain and the linker are partially understood, the role of the N-terminal region in the metazoan replicative mtDNA helicase remains elusive. Here, we show that the N-terminal domain of Drosophila melanogaster mtDNA helicase coordinates iron in a 2Fe-2S cluster that enhances protein stability in vitro. The N-terminal domain binds the cluster through conserved cysteine residues (C68, C71, C102 and C105) that are responsible for coordinating zinc in T7 gp4. Moreover, we show that the NTD binds both single- and double-stranded DNA oligomers, with an apparent Kd of ~120 nM. These findings suggest a possible role for the N-terminal domain of metazoan mtDNA helicase in recruiting and binding DNA at the replication fork.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We establish the genotype-phenotype correlations for the complete spectrum of POLG syndromes, by refining our previously described protocol for mapping pathogenic mutations in the human POLG gene to functional clusters in the catalytic core of the mitochondrial replicase, Pol γ (1). We assigned 136 mutations to five clusters and identify segments of primary sequence that can be used to delimit the boundaries of each cluster. We report that compound heterozygotes with two mutations from different clusters manifested more severe, earlier onset POLG syndromes, whereas two mutations from the same cluster are less common and generally are associated with less severe, later onset POLG syndromes. We also show that specific cluster combinations are more severe than others, and have a higher likelihood to manifest at an earlier age. Our clustering method provides a powerful tool to predict the pathogenic potential and predicted disease phenotype of novel variants and mutations in POLG, the most common nuclear gene underlying mitochondrial disorders. We propose that such a prediction tool would be useful for routine diagnostics for mitochondrial disorders. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: 18th European Bioenergetic Conference. Guest Editors: Manuela Pereira and Miguel Teixeira.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 01/2014; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DREF [DRE (DNA replication-related element)-binding factor] controls the transcription of numerous genes in Drosophila, many involved in nuclear DNA (nDNA) replication and cell proliferation, three in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication and two in mtDNA transcription termination. In this work, we have analyzed the involvement of DREF in the expression of the known remaining genes engaged in the minimal mtDNA replication (d-mtDNA helicase) and transcription (the activator d-mtTFB2) machineries and of a gene involved in mitochondrial mRNAs translation (d-mtTFB1). We have identified their transcriptional initiation sites and subsequently DRE sequences in their promoter regions. Gel-shift and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrate that DREF interacts in vitro and in vivo with the d-mtDNA helicase and d-mtTFB2, but not with the d-mtTFB1 promoters. Transient transfection assays in Drosophila S2 cells with mutated DRE motifs and truncated promoter regions show that DREF controls the transcription of d-mtDNA helicase and d-mtTFB2, but not that of d-mtTFB1. RNA interference of DREF in S2 cells reinforces these results showing a decrease in the mRNA levels of d-mtDNA helicase and d-mtTFB2 and no changes in those of the d-mtTFB1. These results link the genetic regulation of nuclear DNA replication with the genetic control of mtDNA replication and transcription activation in Drosophila.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 07/2013; · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We show the physiological effects and molecular characterization of overexpression of the catalytic core of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) polymerase (pol γ-α) in muscle of Drosophila melanogaster. Muscle-specific overexpression of pol γ-α using the UAS/GAL4 (where UAS is upstream activation sequence) system produced more than 90% of lethality at the end of pupal stage at 25°C, and the survivor adult flies showed a significant reduction in life span. The survivor flies displayed a decreased mtDNA level that is accompanied by a corresponding decrease in the levels of the nucleoid-binding protein mitochondrial transcription factor A (mtTFA). Furthermore, an increase in apoptosis is detected in larvae and adults overexpressing pol γ-α. We suggest that the pupal lethality and reduced life span of survivor adult flies are both caused mainly by massive apoptosis of muscle cells induced by mtDNA depletion.
Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology 05/2013; · 1.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phenotypes relevant to oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) in eukaryotes are jointly determined by nuclear and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Thus, in humans, the variable clinical presentations of mitochondrial disease patients bearing the same primary mutation, whether in nuclear or mitochondrial DNA, have been attributed to putative genetic determinants carried in the "other" genome, though their identity and the molecular mechanism(s) by which they might act remain elusive. Here we demonstrate cytoplasmic suppression of the mitochondrial disease-like phenotype of the Drosophila melanogaster nuclear mutant tko(25t), which includes developmental delay, seizure sensitivity, and defective male courtship. The tko(25t) strain carries a mutation in a mitoribosomal protein gene, causing OXPHOS deficiency due to defective intramitochondrial protein synthesis. Phenotypic suppression was associated with increased mtDNA copy number and increased mitochondrial biogenesis, as measured by the expression levels of porin voltage dependent anion channel and Spargel (PGC1α). Ubiquitous overexpression of Spargel in tko(25t) flies phenocopied the suppressor, identifying it as a key mechanistic target thereof. Suppressor-strain mtDNAs differed from related nonsuppressor strain mtDNAs by several coding-region polymorphisms and by length and sequence variation in the noncoding region (NCR), in which the origin of mtDNA replication is located. Cytoplasm from four of five originally Wolbachia-infected strains showed the same suppressor effect, whereas that from neither of two uninfected strains did so, suggesting that the stress of chronic Wolbachia infection may provide evolutionary selection for improved mitochondrial fitness under metabolic stress. Our findings provide a paradigm for understanding the role of mtDNA genotype in human disease.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Drosophila melanogaster, the mitochondrial transcription factor B1 (d-mtTFB1) transcript contains in its 5'-untranslated region a conserved upstream open reading frame denoted as CG42630 in FlyBase. We demonstrate that CG42630 encodes a novel protein, the coiled coil domain-containing protein 56 (CCDC56), conserved in metazoans. We show that Drosophila CCDC56 protein localizes to mitochondria and contains 87 amino acids in flies and 106 in humans with the two proteins sharing 42% amino acid identity. We show by rapid amplification of cDNA ends and Northern blotting that Drosophila CCDC56 protein and mtTFB1 are encoded on a bona fide bicistronic transcript. We report the generation and characterization of two ccdc56 knock-out lines in Drosophila carrying the ccdc56(D6) and ccdc56(D11) alleles. Lack of the CCDC56 protein in flies induces a developmental delay and 100% lethality by arrest of larval development at the third instar. ccdc56 knock-out larvae show a significant decrease in the level of fully assembled cytochrome c oxidase (COX) and in its activity, suggesting a defect in complex assembly; the activity of the other oxidative phosphorylation complexes remained either unaffected or increased in the ccdc56 knock-out larvae. The lethal phenotype and the decrease in COX were partially rescued by reintroduction of a wild-type UAS-ccdc56 transgene. These results indicate an important role for CCDC56 in the oxidative phosphorylation system and in particular in COX function required for proper development in D. melanogaster. We propose CCDC56 as a candidate factor required for COX biogenesis/assembly.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2012; 287(29):24174-85. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The human gene C10orf2 encodes the mitochondrial replicative DNA helicase Twinkle, mutations of which are responsible for a significant fraction of cases of autosomal dominant progressive external ophthalmoplegia (adPEO), a human mitochondrial disease caused by defects in intergenomic communication. We report the analysis of orthologous mutations in the Drosophila melanogaster mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) helicase gene, d-mtDNA helicase. Increased expression of wild type d-mtDNA helicase using the UAS-GAL4 system leads to an increase in mtDNA copy number throughout adult life without any noteworthy phenotype, whereas overexpression of d-mtDNA helicase containing the K388A mutation in the helicase active site results in a severe depletion of mtDNA and a lethal phenotype. Overexpression of two d-mtDNA helicase variants equivalent to two human adPEO mutations shows differential effects. The A442P mutation exhibits a dominant negative effect similar to that of the active site mutant. In contrast, overexpression of d-mtDNA helicase containing the W441C mutation results in a slight decrease in mtDNA copy number during the third instar larval stage, and a moderate decrease in life span in the adult population. Overexpression of d-mtDNA helicase containing either the K388A or A442P mutations causes a mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) defect that significantly reduces cell proliferation. The mitochondrial impairment caused by these mutations promotes apoptosis, arguing that mitochondria regulate programmed cell death in Drosophila. Our study of d-mtDNA helicase overexpression provides a tractable Drosophila model for understanding the cellular and molecular effects of human adPEO mutations.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(8):e43954. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lon, ClpXP and m-AAA are the three major ATP-dependent proteases in the mitochondrial matrix. All three are involved in general quality control by degrading damaged or abnormal proteins. In addition to this role, they are proposed to serve roles in mitochondrial DNA functions including packaging and stability, replication, transcription and translation. In particular, Lon has been implicated in mtDNA metabolism in yeast, fly and humans. Here, we review the role of Lon protease in mitochondrial DNA functions, and discuss a putative physiological role for mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) degradation by Lon protease. We also discuss the possible roles of m-AAA and ClpXP in mitochondrial DNA functions, and the putative candidate substrates for the three matrix proteases. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Mitochondrial Gene Expression.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 12/2011; 1819(9-10):1080-7. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein (mtSSB) is believed to coordinate the functions of DNA polymerase γ (pol γ) and the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) helicase at the mtDNA replication fork. We generated five variants of the human mtSSB bearing mutations in amino acid residues specific to metazoans that map on the protein surface, removed from the single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) binding groove. Although the mtSSB variants bound ssDNA with only slightly different affinities, they exhibited distinct capacities to stimulate the DNA polymerase activity of human pol γ and the DNA unwinding activity of human mtDNA helicase in vitro. Interestingly, we observed that the variants with defects in stimulating pol γ had unaltered capacities to stimulate the mtDNA helicase; at the same time, variants showing reduced stimulation of the mtDNA helicase activity promoted DNA synthesis by pol γ similarly to the wild-type mtSSB. The overexpression of the equivalent variants of Drosophila melanogaster mtSSB in S2 cells in culture caused mtDNA depletion under conditions of mitochondrial homeostasis. Furthermore, we observed more severe reduction of mtDNA copy number upon expression of these proteins during recovery from treatment with ethidium bromide, when mtDNA replication is stimulated in vivo. Our findings suggest that mtSSB uses distinct structural elements to interact functionally with its mtDNA replisome partners and to promote proper mtDNA replication in animal cells.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2011; 286(47):40649-58. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in Pol γ represent a major cause of human mitochondrial diseases, especially those affecting the nervous system in adults and in children. Recessive mutations in Pol γ represent nearly half of those reported to date, and they are nearly uniformly distributed along the length of the POLG1 gene (Human DNA Polymerase gamma Mutation Database); the majority of them are linked to the most severe form of POLG syndrome, Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome. In this report, we assess the structure-function relationships for recessive disease mutations by reviewing existing biochemical data on site-directed mutagenesis of the human, Drosophila and yeast Pol γs, and their homologs from the family A DNA polymerase group. We do so in the context of a molecular model of Pol γ in complex with primer-template DNA, which we have developed based upon the recently solved crystal structure of the apoenzyme form. We present evidence that recessive mutations cluster within five distinct functional modules in the catalytic core of Pol γ. Our results suggest that cluster prediction can be used as a diagnosis-supporting tool to evaluate the pathogenic role of new Pol γ variants.
Nucleic Acids Research 08/2011; 39(21):9072-84. · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lon is the major protease in the mitochondrial matrix in eukaryotes, and is well conserved among species. Although a role for Lon in mitochondrial biogenesis has been proposed, the mechanistic basis is unclear. Here, we demonstrate a role for Lon in mtDNA metabolism. An RNA interference (RNAi) construct was designed that reduces Lon to less than 10% of its normal level in Drosophila Schneider cells. RNAi knockdown of Lon results in increased abundance of mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) and mtDNA copy number. In a corollary manner, overexpression of Lon reduces TFAM levels and mtDNA copy number. Notably, induction of mtDNA depletion in Lon knockdown cells does not result in degradation of TFAM, thereby causing a dramatic increase in the TFAMmtDNA ratio. The increased TFAMmtDNA ratio in turn causes inhibition of mitochondrial transcription. We conclude that Lon regulates mitochondrial transcription by stabilizing the mitochondrial TFAMmtDNA ratio via selective degradation of TFAM.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2010; 107(43):18410-5. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) transactions, processes that include mtDNA replication, repair, recombination and transcription constitute the initial stages of mitochondrial biogenesis, and are at the core of understanding mitochondrial biology and medicine. All of the protein players are encoded in nuclear genes: some are proteins with well-known functions in the nucleus, others are well-known mitochondrial proteins now ascribed new functions, and still others are newly discovered factors. In this article we review recent advances in the field of mtDNA transactions with a special focus on physiological studies. In particular, we consider the expression of variant proteins, or altered expression of factors involved in these processes in powerful model organisms, such as Drosophila melanogaster and the mouse, which have promoted recognition of the broad relevance of oxidative phosphorylation defects resulting from improper maintenance of mtDNA. Furthermore, the animal models recapitulate many phenotypes related to human ageing and a variety of different diseases, a feature that has enhanced our understanding of, and inspired theories about, the molecular mechanisms of such biological processes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the effects of cofactors and DNA on the stability, oligomeric state and conformation of the human mitochondrial
DNA helicase. We demonstrate that low salt conditions result in protein aggregation that may cause dissociation of oligomeric
structure. The low salt sensitivity of the mitochondrial DNA helicase is mitigated by the presence of magnesium, nucleotide,
and increased temperature. Electron microscopic and glutaraldehyde cross-linking analyses provide the first evidence of a
heptameric oligomer and its interconversion from a hexameric form. Limited proteolysis by trypsin shows that binding of nucleoside
triphosphate produces a conformational change that is distinct from the conformation observed in the presence of nucleoside
diphosphate. We find that single-stranded DNA binding occurs in the absence of cofactors and renders the mitochondrial DNA
helicase more susceptible to proteolytic digestion. Our studies indicate that the human mitochondrial DNA helicase shares
basic properties with the SF4 replicative helicases, but also identify common features with helicases outside the superfamily,
including dynamic conformations similar to other AAA+ ATPases.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2010; 285(19):14639-14647. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the effects of cofactors and DNA on the stability, oligomeric state and conformation of the human mitochondrial DNA helicase. We demonstrate that low salt conditions result in protein aggregation that may cause dissociation of oligomeric structure. The low salt sensitivity of the mitochondrial DNA helicase is mitigated by the presence of magnesium, nucleotide, and increased temperature. Electron microscopic and glutaraldehyde cross-linking analyses provide the first evidence of a heptameric oligomer and its interconversion from a hexameric form. Limited proteolysis by trypsin shows that binding of nucleoside triphosphate produces a conformational change that is distinct from the conformation observed in the presence of nucleoside diphosphate. We find that single-stranded DNA binding occurs in the absence of cofactors and renders the mitochondrial DNA helicase more susceptible to proteolytic digestion. Our studies indicate that the human mitochondrial DNA helicase shares basic properties with the SF4 replicative helicases, but also identify common features with helicases outside the superfamily, including dynamic conformations similar to other AAA(+) ATPases.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2010; 285(19):14639-47. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Maintenance of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) genome is dependent on numerous nuclear-encoded proteins including the mtDNA helicase, which is an essential component of the replicative machinery. Human mtDNA helicase shares a high degree of sequence similarity with the bacteriophage T7 primase-helicase gene 4 protein, and catalyzes duplex unwinding in the 5'-3' direction. As purified at 300 mM NaCl, the enzyme exists as a hexamer, with a modular architecture comprising distinct N- and C-terminal domains. We present here several methods that allow the identification of the oligomeric state of the human mtDNA helicase, and probe the modular architecture of the enzyme. Despite their relatively common usage, we believe that their versatility makes these techniques particularly helpful in the characterization of oligomeric proteins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA polymerase, POLG, is the sole DNA polymerase found in animal mitochondria. In humans, POLGalpha W748S in cis with an E1143G mutation has been linked to a new type of recessive ataxia, MIRAS, which is the most common inherited ataxia in Finland. We investigated the biochemical phenotypes of the W748S amino acid change, using recombinant human POLG. We measured processive and non-processive DNA polymerase activity, DNA binding affinity, enzyme processivity, and subunit interaction with recombinant POLGbeta. In addition, we studied the effects of the W748S and E1143G mutations in primary human cell cultures using retroviral transduction. Here, we examined cell viability, mitochondrial DNA copy number, and products of mitochondrial translation. Our results indicate that the W748S mutant POLGalpha does not exhibit a clear biochemical phenotype, making it indistinguishable from wild type POLGalpha and as such, fail to replicate previously published results. Furthermore, results from the cell models were concurrent with the findings from patients, and support our biochemical findings.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 02/2010; 1802(6):545-51. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Typically, biochemical screens that employ pure macromolecular components focus on single targets or a small number of interacting components. Researches rely on whole cell screens for more complex systems. Bacterial DNA replicases contain multiple subunits that change interactions with each stage of a complex reaction. Thus, the actual number of targets is a multiple of the proteins involved. It is estimated that the overall replication reaction includes up to 100 essential targets, many suitable for discovery of antibacterial inhibitors. We have developed an assay, using purified protein components, in which inhibitors of any of the essential targets can be detected through a common readout. Use of purified components allows each protein to be set within the linear range where the readout is proportional to the extent of inhibition of the target. By performing assays against replicases from model Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria in parallel, we show that it is possible to distinguish compounds that inhibit only a single bacterial replicase from those that exhibit broad spectrum potential.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biochemical studies of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replisome demonstrate that the mtDNA polymerase and the mtDNA helicase are stimulated by the mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein (mtSSB). Unlike Escherichia coli SSB, bacteriophage T7 gp2.5 and bacteriophage T4 gp32, mtSSBs lack a long, negatively charged C-terminal tail. Furthermore, additional residues at the N-terminus (notwithstanding the mitochondrial presequence) are present in the sequence of species across the animal kingdom. We sought to analyze the functional importance of the N- and C-terminal regions of the human mtSSB in the context of mtDNA replication. We produced the mature wild-type human mtSSB and three terminal deletion variants, and examined their physical and biochemical properties. We demonstrate that the recombinant proteins adopt a tetrameric form, and bind single-stranded DNA with similar affinities. They also stimulate similarly the DNA unwinding activity of the human mtDNA helicase (up to 8-fold). Notably, we find that unlike the high level of stimulation that we observed previously in the Drosophila system, stimulation of DNA synthesis catalyzed by human mtDNA polymerase is only moderate, and occurs over a narrow range of salt concentrations. Interestingly, each of the deletion variants of human mtSSB stimulates DNA synthesis at a higher level than the wild-type protein, indicating that the termini modulate negatively functional interactions with the mitochondrial replicase. We discuss our findings in the context of species-specific components of the mtDNA replisome, and in comparison with various prokaryotic DNA replication machineries.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(10):e15379. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mn(2+)-assisted catalysis by B. stearothermophilus TrpRS parallels that in polymerases and reduces specificity in amino acid activation. As predicted by nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations, multivariant thermodynamic cycles with [ATP]-dependent Michaelis-Menten kinetics and Mn(2+) for Mg(2+) substitution demonstrate energetic coupling of ATP affinities to the metal; to lysines K111 and K192, which interact via the PPi leaving group; and to K195, which couples differently to the metal via the alpha-phosphate. However, net coupling to the metal opposes catalysis in both ground (K(M)) and transition (k(cat)) states. The 10(5)-fold rate acceleration by Mg(2+)-protein interactions therefore requires additional favorable protein-metal couplings. Examples include longer-range, i.e., allosteric, interactions previously illustrated by the remote F37I mutation, which both reduces k(cat) and enhances catalytic assist by Mn(2+), relative to that by Mg(2+). These data support a model linking metal-assisted phosphoryl transfer catalysis to domain movement, and hence to free-energy transduction in a broad range of enzymes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mitochondrion is the eukaryotic organelle that carries out oxidative phosphorylation, fulfilling cellular requirements for ATP production. Disruption of mitochondrial energy metabolism can occur by genetic and biochemical mechanisms involving nuclear-encoded proteins that are required at the mitochondrial DNA replication fork, which often leads to human disorders and to animal lethality during development. DNA polymerase gamma (pol gamma), the mitochondrial replicase, and the mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein (mtSSB) have been the focus of study in our lab for a number of years. Here we describe the purification strategies that we developed for obtaining the recombinant forms of pol gamma and mtSSB from both Drosophila melanogaster and humans. Despite the fact that similar approaches can be used for purifying the homologous proteins, we have observed that there are differences in the behavior of the proteins in some specific steps that may reflect differences in their structural and biochemical properties. Their purification in homogeneous, active form represents the first step toward our long-term goal to understand their biochemistry, biology, and functions at the mitochondrial DNA replication fork.