[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Apoptotic microtubule network (AMN) is organized during apoptosis, forming a cortical structure beneath plasma membrane, which has an important role in preserving cell morphology and plasma membrane permeability. The aim of this study was to examine the role of AMN in maintaining plasma membrane integrity during the execution phase of apoptosis. We demonstrated in camptothecin-induced apoptosis in H460 cells that AMN delimits an active caspase free area beneath plasma membrane that permits the preservation of cellular cortex and transmembrane proteins. AMN depolymerization in apoptotic cells by a short exposure to colchicine allowed active caspases to reach the cellular cortex and cleave many key proteins involved in plasma membrane structural support, cell adhesion and ionic homeostasis. Cleavage of cellular cortex and plasma membrane proteins, such as α-spectrin, paxilin, focal adhesion kinase (FAK), E-cadherin and integrin subunit β4 was associated with cell collapse and cell detachment. Otherwise, cleavage-mediated inactivation of calcium ATPase pump (PMCA-4) and Na/Ca exchanger (NCX) involved in cell calcium extrusion resulted in calcium overload. Furthermore, cleavage of Na/K pump subunit β was associated with altered sodium homeostasis. Cleavage of cell cortex and plasma membrane proteins in apoptotic cells after AMN depolymerization increased plasma permeability, ionic imbalance and bioenergetic collapse, leading apoptotic cells to secondary necrosis. The essential role of caspase-mediated cleavage in this process was demonstrated because the concomitant addition of colchicine that induces AMN depolymerization and the pan-caspase inhibitor z-VAD avoided the cleavage of cortical and plasma membrane proteins and prevented apoptotic cells to undergo secondary necrosis. Furthermore, the presence of AMN was also critical for proper phosphatidylserine externalization and apoptotic cell clearance by macrophages. These results indicate that AMN is essential to preserve an active caspase free area in the cellular cortex of apoptotic cells that allows plasma membrane integrity during the execution phase of apoptosis.
Cell Death & Disease 01/2013; 4:e527. · 6.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE MELAS (mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes) is a mitochondrial disease most usually caused by point mutations in tRNA genes encoded by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Approximately 80% of cases of MELAS syndrome are associated with a m.3243A > G mutation in the MT-TL1 gene, which encodes the mitochondrial tRNALeu (UUR). Currently, no effective treatments are available for this chronic progressive disorder. Treatment strategies in MELAS and other mitochondrial diseases consist of several drugs that diminish the deleterious effects of the abnormal respiratory chain function, reduce the presence of toxic agents or correct deficiencies in essential cofactors. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH We evaluated the effectiveness of some common pharmacological agents that have been utilized in the treatment of MELAS, in yeast, fibroblast and cybrid models of the disease. The yeast model harbouring the A14G mutation in the mitochondrial tRNALeu(UUR) gene, which is equivalent to the A3243G mutation in humans, was used in the initial screening. Next, the most effective drugs that were able to rescue the respiratory deficiency in MELAS yeast mutants were tested in fibroblasts and cybrid models of MELAS disease. KEY RESULTS According to our results, supplementation with riboflavin or coenzyme Q(10) effectively reversed the respiratory defect in MELAS yeast and improved the pathologic alterations in MELAS fibroblast and cybrid cell models. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Our results indicate that cell models have great potential for screening and validating the effects of novel drug candidates for MELAS treatment and presumably also for other diseases with mitochondrial impairment.
British Journal of Pharmacology 07/2012; 167(6):1311-1328. · 5.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial DNA mutations are an important cause of human disease for which there is no effective treatment. Myoclonic epilepsy with ragged-red fibers (MERRF) is a mitochondrial disease usually caused by point mutations in transfer RNA genes encoded by mitochondrial DNA. The most common mutation associated with MERRF syndrome, m.8344A > G in the gene MT-TK, which encodes transfer RNA(Lysine), affects the translation of all mitochondrial DNA encoded proteins. This impairs the assembly of the electron transport chain complexes leading to decreased mitochondrial respiratory function. Here we report on how this mutation affects mitochondrial function in primary fibroblast cultures established from patients harboring the A8344G mutation. Coenzyme Q₁₀ (CoQ) levels, as well as mitochondrial respiratory chain activity, and mitochondrial protein expression levels were significantly decreased in MERRF fibroblasts. Mitotracker staining and imaging analysis of individual mitochondria indicated the presence of small, rounded, depolarized mitochondria in MERRF fibroblasts. Mitochondrial dysfunction was associated with increased oxidative stress and increased degradation of impaired mitochondria by mitophagy. Transmitochondrial cybrids harboring the A8344G mutation also showed CoQ deficiency, mitochondrial dysfunction, and increased mitophagy activity. All these abnormalities in patient-derived fibroblasts and cybrids were partially restored by CoQ supplementation, indicating that these cell culture models may be suitable for screening and validation of novel drug candidates for MERRF disease.
Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics 02/2012; 9(2):446-63. · 5.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) is a mitochondrial disease most usually caused by point mutations in tRNA genes encoded by mtDNA. Here, we report on how this mutation affects mitochondrial function in primary fibroblast cultures established from 2 patients with MELAS who harbored the A3243G mutation. Both mitochondrial respiratory chain enzyme activities and coenzyme Q(10) (CoQ) levels were significantly decreased in MELAS fibroblasts. A similar decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential was found in intact MELAS fibroblasts. Mitochondrial dysfunction was associated with increased oxidative stress and the activation of mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT), which triggered the degradation of impaired mitochondria. Furthermore, we found defective autophagosome elimination in MELAS fibroblasts. Electron and fluorescence microscopy studies confirmed a massive degradation of mitochondria and accumulation of autophagosomes, suggesting mitophagy activation and deficient autophagic flux. Transmitochondrial cybrids harboring the A3243G mutation also showed CoQ deficiency and increased autophagy activity. All these abnormalities were partially restored by CoQ supplementation. Autophagy in MELAS fibroblasts was also abolished by treatment with antioxidants or cyclosporine, suggesting that both reactive oxygen species and MPT participate in this process. Furthermore, prevention of autophagy in MELAS fibroblasts resulted in apoptotic cell death, suggesting a protective role of autophagy in MELAS fibroblasts.
The FASEB Journal 05/2011; 25(8):2669-87. · 5.70 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microtubule cytoskeleton is reformed during apoptosis, forming a cortical structure beneath plasma membrane, which plays an important role in preserving cell morphology and plasma membrane integrity. However, the maintenance of the apoptotic microtubule network (AMN) during apoptosis is not understood. In the present study, we examined apoptosis induced by camptothecin (CPT), a topoisomerase I inhibitor, in human H460 and porcine LLCPK-1α cells. We demonstrate that AMN was organized in apoptotic cells with high ATP levels and hyperpolarized mitochondria and, on the contrary, was dismantled in apoptotic cells with low ATP levels and mitochondrial depolarization. AMN disorganization after mitochondrial depolarization was associated with increased plasma membrane permeability assessed by enhancing LDH release and increased intracellular calcium levels. Living cell imaging monitoring of both, microtubule dynamics and mitochondrial membrane potential, showed that AMN persists during apoptosis coinciding with cycles of mitochondrial hyperpolarization. Eventually, AMN was disorganized when mitochondria suffered a large depolarization and cell underwent secondary necrosis. AMN stabilization by taxol prevented LDH release and calcium influx even though mitochondria were depolarized, suggesting that AMN is essential for plasma membrane integrity. Furthermore, high ATP levels and mitochondria polarization collapse after oligomycin treatment in apoptotic cells suggest that ATP synthase works in "reverse" mode during apoptosis. These data provide new explanations for the role of AMN and mitochondria during apoptosis.