[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial transcription termination factor 1, MTERF1, has been reported to couple rRNA gene transcription initiation with termination and is therefore thought to be a key regulator of mammalian mitochondrial ribosome biogenesis. The prevailing model is based on a series of observations published over the last two decades, but no in vivo evidence exists to show that MTERF1 regulates transcription of the heavy-strand region of mtDNA containing the rRNA genes. Here, we demonstrate that knockout of Mterf1 in mice has no effect on mitochondrial rRNA levels or mitochondrial translation. Instead, loss of Mterf1 influences transcription initiation at the light-strand promoter, resulting in a decrease of de novo transcription manifested as reduced 7S RNA levels. Based on these observations, we suggest that MTERF1 does not regulate heavy-strand transcription, but rather acts to block transcription on the opposite strand of mtDNA to prevent transcription interference at the light-strand promoter.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) expression is critical for the control of oxidative phosphorylation in response to physiological demand, and this regulation is often impaired in disease and aging. We have previously shown that mitochondrial transcription termination factor 3 (MTERF3) is a key regulator that represses mtDNA transcription in the mouse, but its molecular mode of action has remained elusive. Based on the hypothesis that key regulatory mechanisms for mtDNA expression are conserved in metazoans, we analyzed Mterf3 knockout and knockdown flies. We demonstrate here that decreased expression of MTERF3 not only leads to activation of mtDNA transcription, but also impairs assembly of the large mitochondrial ribosomal subunit. This novel function of MTERF3 in mitochondrial ribosomal biogenesis is conserved in the mouse, thus we identify a novel and unexpected role for MTERF3 in coordinating the crosstalk between transcription and translation for the regulation of mammalian mtDNA gene expression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mitochondrial aspartate-glutamate carrier isoform 1 (AGC1 or Aralar),
encoded by the SLC25A12 gene, catalyzes an exchange between intramitochondrial
aspartate and cytosolic glutamate. As a component of the malate-aspartate shuttle
(MAS), AGC1 also has a role in the transport of NADH reducing equivalents from
the cytosol to the mitochondria. In humans, there are two AGC isoforms. AGC1 is
the only isoform expressed in the adult central nervous system and skeletal muscle.
Here we describe the first case of AGC1 deficiency in a child who showed severe
hypotonia, arrested psychomotor development and seizures from a few months of
age. Respiratory chain enzyme activities were normal in isolated muscle
mitochondria, but mitochondrial ATP production was drastically reduced using
glutamate + succinate and glutamate + malate as substrates. Sequencing of SLC25A12
revealed a homozygous c.1769A>G transition, causing a Q590R missense mutation
in exon 17. The mutant form of AGC1 was completely unable to transport aspartate
or glutamate, as determined in liposomes reconstituted with recombinant proteins.
MRI of the brain at 8 months, 1 year and 4 months, and 2 years and 9 months of
age revealed global lack of myelination in the cerebral hemispheres whereas normal
myelination was noted in the brainstem and cerebellum. The putamen and globus
pallidus were slightly smaller than usual. No focal lesions or pathological signal was
detected in the cortical gray matter or basal ganglia. Proton MRS of the patient’s left
basal ganglia, in the occipital midline and the frontal lobe at 2 years and 9 months
showed a severely reduced N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) peak. The NAA/creatine ratio
was 0.7. Lactate and lipid peaks were not substantially elevated.
AGC1 expression in the CNS is restricted to neurons and is absent in white matter.
NAA produced in neurons is known to undergo transaxonal transfer to
oligodendrocytes where it supplies acetyl groups for the synthesis of myelin lipids.
Slc25a12 knockout mice have previously been reported to develop motor
coordination deficits along with impaired myelination in the CNS. In parallel, there
was a striking deficit in the levels of aspartate and NAA, indicating that the major site
of aspartate production in the CNS is the mitochondrion, that AGC1 affects aspartate
efflux to the cytosol, and that this efflux is essential for NAA formation. The
phenotype of Slc25a12 knockout mice thus suggested that myelin formation depends
on aspartate transport from neuronal mitochondria to the cytosol, and our patient
illustrates that this is a valid model for a corresponding human disease.
IMPAIRED FUNCTION OF AGC1 CAUSES GLOBAL CEREBRAL HYPOMYELINATION; 06/2012
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although over 200 pathogenic mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations have been reported to date, determining the genetic aetiology of many cases of mitochondrial disease is still not straightforward. Here, we describe the investigations undertaken to uncover the underlying molecular defect(s) in two unrelated Caucasian patients with suspected mtDNA disease, who presented with similar symptoms of myopathy, deafness, neurodevelopmental delay, epilepsy, marked fatigue and, in one case, retinal degeneration. Histochemical and biochemical evidence of mitochondrial respiratory chain deficiency was observed in the patient muscle biopsies and both patients were discovered to harbour a novel heteroplasmic mitochondrial tRNA (mt-tRNA)(Ser(AGY)) (MTTS2) mutation (m.12264C>T and m.12261T>C, respectively). Clear segregation of the m.12261T>C mutation with the biochemical defect, as demonstrated by single-fibre radioactive RFLP, confirmed the pathogenicity of this novel variant in patient 2. However, unusually high levels of m.12264C>T mutation within both COX-positive (98.4 ± 1.5%) and COX-deficient (98.2 ± 2.1%) fibres in patient 1 necessitated further functional investigations to prove its pathogenicity. Northern blot analysis demonstrated the detrimental effect of the m.12264C>T mutation on mt-tRNA(Ser(AGY)) stability, ultimately resulting in decreased steady-state levels of fully assembled complexes I and IV, as shown by blue-native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Our findings expand the spectrum of pathogenic mutations associated with the MTTS2 gene and highlight MTTS2 mutations as an important cause of retinal and syndromic auditory impairment.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 02/2012; 20(8):897-904. · 3.56 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene encoding the catalytic subunit of polymerase γ (POLG1) are a major cause of human mitochondrial disease. More than 150 different point mutations in the gene have been reported to be disease causing, resulting in a large range of clinical symptoms. Depending on the mutation or combination of mutations, disease onset can occur in early infancy or late in adult life. Here, we describe the use of multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) analysis to detect deletions within POLG1, which could otherwise go undetected by solely sequencing of the gene. We present a case where an entire POLG1 allele is deleted, with a known pathogenic mutation (W748S) on the remaining allele. The deletion was found in a boy with Alpers syndrome, presenting at 18 months of age with slightly retarded motor development, balance problems, and seizures. Administration of valproic acid (VPA) led to rapidly progressive fatal liver failure in our patient, and we would like to highlight the need to carry out complete POLG1 gene analysis before administration of VPA in cases of pediatric seizure disorders of unknown origin. Debut and severity of the disease in this patient was unique when compared to homozygous or heterozygous patients with the W748S mutation, leading to the conclusion that gene dosage plays a role in the clinical phenotype of this disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A variety of observations support the hypothesis that deficiency of complex I [reduced nicotinamide-adenine dinucleotide (NADH):ubiquinone oxidoreductase] of the mitochondrial respiratory chain plays a role in the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, recent data from a study using mice with knockout of the complex I subunit NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase iron-sulfur protein 4 (Ndufs4) has challenged this concept as these mice show degeneration of non-dopamine neurons. In addition, primary dopamine (DA) neurons derived from such mice, reported to lack complex I activity, remain sensitive to toxins believed to act through inhibition of complex I. We tissue-specifically disrupted the Ndufs4 gene in mouse heart and found an apparent severe deficiency of complex I activity in disrupted mitochondria, whereas oxidation of substrates that result in entry of electrons at the level of complex I was only mildly reduced in intact isolated heart mitochondria. Further analyses of detergent-solubilized mitochondria showed the mutant complex I to be unstable but capable of forming supercomplexes with complex I enzyme activity. The loss of Ndufs4 thus causes only a mild complex I deficiency in vivo. We proceeded to disrupt Ndufs4 in midbrain DA neurons and found no overt neurodegeneration, no loss of striatal innervation and no symptoms of Parkinsonism in tissue-specific knockout animals. However, DA homeostasis was abnormal with impaired DA release and increased levels of DA metabolites. Furthermore, Ndufs4 DA neuron knockouts were more vulnerable to the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine. Taken together, these findings lend in vivo support to the hypothesis that complex I deficiency can contribute to the pathophysiology of PD.
Human Molecular Genetics 11/2011; 21(5):1078-89. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulation of mtDNA expression is critical for maintaining cellular energy homeostasis and may, in principle, occur at many different levels. The leucine-rich pentatricopeptide repeat containing (LRPPRC) protein regulates mitochondrial mRNA stability and an amino-acid substitution of this protein causes the French-Canadian type of Leigh syndrome (LSFC), a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by complex IV deficiency. We have generated conditional Lrpprc knockout mice and show here that the gene is essential for embryonic development. Tissue-specific disruption of Lrpprc in heart causes mitochondrial cardiomyopathy with drastic reduction in steady-state levels of most mitochondrial mRNAs. LRPPRC forms an RNA-dependent protein complex that is necessary for maintaining a pool of non-translated mRNAs in mammalian mitochondria. Loss of LRPPRC does not only decrease mRNA stability, but also leads to loss of mRNA polyadenylation and the appearance of aberrant mitochondrial translation. The translation pattern without the presence of LRPPRC is misregulated with excessive translation of some transcripts and no translation of others. Our findings point to the existence of an elaborate machinery that regulates mammalian mtDNA expression at the post-transcriptional level.
The EMBO Journal 11/2011; 31(2):443-56. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The bicoid stability factor (BSF) of Drosophila melanogaster has been reported to be present in the cytoplasm, where it stabilizes the maternally contributed bicoid mRNA and binds mRNAs expressed from early zygotic genes. BSF may also have other roles, as it is ubiquitously expressed and essential for survival of adult flies. We have performed immunofluorescence and cell fractionation analyses and show here that BSF is mainly a mitochondrial protein. We studied two independent RNAi knockdown fly lines and report that reduced BSF protein levels lead to a severe respiratory deficiency and delayed development at the late larvae stage. Ubiquitous knockdown of BSF results in a severe reduction of the polyadenylation tail lengths of specific mitochondrial mRNAs, accompanied by an enrichment of unprocessed polycistronic RNA intermediates. Furthermore, we observed a significant reduction in mRNA steady state levels, despite increased de novo transcription. Surprisingly, mitochondrial de novo translation is increased and abnormal mitochondrial translation products are present in knockdown flies, suggesting that BSF also has a role in coordinating the mitochondrial translation in addition to its role in mRNA maturation and stability. We thus report a novel function of BSF in flies and demonstrate that it has an important intra-mitochondrial role, which is essential for maintaining mtDNA gene expression and oxidative phosphorylation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial dysfunction is heavily implicated in Parkinson disease (PD) as exemplified by the finding of an increased frequency of respiratory chain-deficient dopamine (DA) neurons in affected patients. An inherited form of PD is caused by impaired function of Parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase reported to translocate to defective mitochondria in vitro to facilitate their clearance. We have developed a reporter mouse to assess mitochondrial morphology in DA neurons in vivo and show here that respiratory chain deficiency leads to fragmentation of the mitochondrial network and to the formation of large cytoplasmic bodies derived from mitochondria. Surprisingly, the dysfunctional mitochondria do not recruit Parkin in vivo, and neither the clearance of defective mitochondria nor the neurodegeneration phenotype is affected by the absence of Parkin. We also show that anterograde axonal transport of mitochondria is impaired in respiratory chain-deficient DA neurons, leading to a decreased supply of mitochondria to the axonal terminals.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2011; 108(31):12937-42. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Precise control of mitochondrial DNA gene expression is critical for regulation of oxidative phosphorylation capacity in mammals. The MTERF protein family plays a key role in this process, and its members have been implicated in regulation of transcription initiation and site-specific transcription termination. We now demonstrate that a member of this family, MTERF4, directly controls mitochondrial ribosomal biogenesis and translation. MTERF4 forms a stoichiometric complex with the ribosomal RNA methyltransferase NSUN4 and is necessary for recruitment of this factor to the large ribosomal subunit. Loss of MTERF4 leads to defective ribosomal assembly and a drastic reduction in translation. Our results thus show that MTERF4 is an important regulator of translation in mammalian mitochondria.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The basal mitochondrial transcription machinery is essential for biogenesis of the respiratory chain and consists of mitochondrial RNA polymerase, mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) and mitochondrial transcription factor B2. This triad of proteins is sufficient and necessary for mtDNA transcription initiation. Abolished mtDNA transcription caused by tissue-specific knockout of TFAM in the mouse heart leads to early onset of a severe mitochondrial cardiomyopathy with lethality within the first post-natal weeks. Here, we describe a mouse model expressing human TFAM instead of the endogenous mouse TFAM in heart. These rescue mice have severe reduction in mtDNA transcription initiation, but, surprisingly, are healthy at the age of 52 weeks with near-normal steady-state levels of transcripts. In addition, we demonstrate that heavy-strand mtDNA transcription normally terminates at the termination-associated sequence in the control region. This termination is abolished in rescue animals resulting in heavy (H)-strand transcription of the entire control region. In conclusion, we demonstrate here the existence of an unexpected mtDNA transcript stabilization mechanism that almost completely compensates for the severely reduced transcription initiation in rescue hearts. Future elucidation of the underlying molecular mechanism may provide a novel pathway to treat mitochondrial dysfunction in human pathology.
Nucleic Acids Research 10/2010; 38(19):6577-88. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deficiency of thymidine kinase-2 (TK2) has been described in children with early onset fatal skeletal myopathy. TK2 is a mitochondrial deoxyribonucleoside kinase required for the phosphorylation of deoxycytidine and deoxythymidine and hence is vital for the maintenance of a balanced mitochondrial dNTP pool in post-mitotic tissues. We describe a patient with two novel TK2 mutations, which caused disease onset shortly after birth and death at the age of three months. One mutation (219insCG) generated an early stop codon, thus preventing the synthesis of a functional protein. The second mutation (R130W) resulted in an amino acid substitution, which caused a severe reduction (<3%) of TK2 enzyme activity. These two novel TK2 mutations cause an extremely severe phenotype with overwhelming central nervous system symptoms not commonly seen in patients with TK2-deficiency. We conclude that the severe clinical presentation in this patient was due to a virtual lack of mitochondrial TK2 activity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mitochondrial aspartate-glutamate carrier isoform 1 (AGC1), specific to neurons and muscle, supplies aspartate to the cytosol and, as a component of the malate-aspartate shuttle, enables mitochondrial oxidation of cytosolic NADH, thought to be important in providing energy for neurons in the central nervous system. We describe AGC1 deficiency, a novel syndrome characterized by arrested psychomotor development, hypotonia, and seizures in a child with a homozygous missense mutation in the solute carrier family 25, member 12, gene SLC25A12, which encodes the AGC1 protein. Functional analysis of the mutant AGC1 protein showed abolished activity. The child had global hypomyelination in the cerebral hemispheres, suggesting that impaired efflux of aspartate from neuronal mitochondria prevents normal myelin formation.
New England Journal of Medicine 08/2009; 361(5):489-95. · 51.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sensory ataxic neuropathy (SAN) is a recently identified neurological disorder in golden retrievers. Pedigree analysis revealed that all affected dogs belong to one maternal lineage, and a statistical analysis showed that the disorder has a mitochondrial origin. A one base pair deletion in the mitochondrial tRNA(Tyr) gene was identified at position 5304 in affected dogs after re-sequencing the complete mitochondrial genome of seven individuals. The deletion was not found among dogs representing 18 different breeds or in six wolves, ruling out this as a common polymorphism. The mutation could be traced back to a common ancestor of all affected dogs that lived in the 1970s. We used a quantitative oligonucleotide ligation assay to establish the degree of heteroplasmy in blood and tissue samples from affected dogs and controls. Affected dogs and their first to fourth degree relatives had 0-11% wild-type (wt) sequence, while more distant relatives ranged between 5% and 60% wt sequence and all unrelated golden retrievers had 100% wt sequence. Northern blot analysis showed that tRNA(Tyr) had a 10-fold lower steady-state level in affected dogs compared with controls. Four out of five affected dogs showed decreases in mitochondrial ATP production rates and respiratory chain enzyme activities together with morphological alterations in muscle tissue, resembling the changes reported in human mitochondrial pathology. Altogether, these results provide conclusive evidence that the deletion in the mitochondrial tRNA(Tyr) gene is the causative mutation for SAN.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial complex I deficiency is the most common defect of the OXPHOS system. We report a patient from consanguineous parents with a complex I deficiency expressed in skin fibroblasts. Homozygosity mapping revealed several homozygous regions with candidate genes, including the gene encoding an assembly factor for complex I, NDUFAF2. Screening of this gene on genomic DNA revealed a homozygous stop-codon resulting in a truncation of the protein at position 38. The mutation causes a severely reduced activity and a disturbed assembly of complex I. A baculovirus containing the GFP-tagged wild-type NDUFAF2 gene was used to prove the functional consequences of the mutation. The expression and activity of complex I was almost completely rescued by complementation of the patient fibroblasts with the baculovirus. Therefore, the homozygous substitution in NDUFAF2 is the disease-causing mutation, which results in a complex I deficiency in the fibroblasts of the patient.
Human Mutation 05/2009; 30(7):E728-36. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 3' end of the rRNA of the small ribosomal subunit contains two extremely highly conserved dimethylated adenines. This modification and the responsible methyltransferases are present in all three domains of life, but its function has remained elusive. We have disrupted the mouse Tfb1m gene encoding a mitochondrial protein homologous to bacterial dimethyltransferases and demonstrate here that loss of TFB1M is embryonic lethal. Disruption of Tfb1m in heart leads to complete loss of adenine dimethylation of the rRNA of the small mitochondrial ribosomal subunit, impaired assembly of the mitochondrial ribosome, and abolished mitochondrial translation. In addition, we present biochemical evidence that TFB1M does not activate or repress transcription in the presence of TFB2M. Our results thus show that TFB1M is a nonredundant dimethyltransferase in mammalian mitochondria. In addition, we provide a possible explanation for the universal conservation of adenine dimethylation of rRNA by showing a critical role in ribosome maintenance.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leigh syndrome is a common clinical manifestation in children with mitochondrial disease and other types of inborn errors of metabolism. We characterised clinical symptoms, prognosis, respiratory chain function and performed extensive genetic analysis of 25 Swedish children suffering from Leigh syndrome with the aim to obtain insights into the molecular pathophysiology and to provide a rationale for genetic counselling. We reviewed the clinical history of all patients and used muscle biopsies in order to perform molecular, biochemical and genetic investigations, including sequencing the entire mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the mitochondrial DNA polymerase (POLGA) gene and the surfeit locus protein 1 (SURF1) gene. Respiratory chain enzyme activity measurements identified five patients with isolated complex I deficiency and five with combined enzyme deficiencies. No patient presented with isolated complex IV deficiency. Seven patients had a decreased ATP production rate. Extensive sequence analysis identified eight patients with pathogenic mtDNA mutations and one patient with mutations in POLGA. Mutations of mtDNA are a common cause of LS and mtDNA analysis should always be included in the diagnosis of LS patients, whereas SURF1 mutations are not a common cause of LS in Sweden. Unexpectedly, age of onset, clinical symptoms and prognosis did not reveal any clear differences in LS patients with mtDNA or nuclear DNA mutations.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 01/2009; 1787(5):484-90. · 4.66 Impact Factor