A new vicious cycle involving glutamate excitotoxicity, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dynamics.
ABSTRACT: Glutamate excitotoxicity leads to fragmented mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases, mediated by nitric oxide and S-nitrosylation of dynamin-related protein 1, a mitochondrial outer membrane fission protein. Optic atrophy gene 1 (OPA1) is an inner membrane protein important for mitochondrial fusion. Autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA), caused by mutations in OPA1, is a neurodegenerative disease affecting mainly retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Here, we showed that OPA1 deficiency in an ADOA model influences N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor expression, which is involved in glutamate excitotoxicity and oxidative stress. Opa1(enu/+) mice show a slow progressive loss of RGCs, activation of astroglia and microglia, and pronounced mitochondrial fission in optic nerve heads as found by electron tomography. Expression of NMDA receptors (NR1, 2A, and 2B) in the retina of Opa1(enu/+) mice was significantly increased as determined by western blot and immunohistochemistry. Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) expression was significantly decreased, the apoptotic pathway was activated as Bax was increased, and phosphorylated Bad and BcL-xL were decreased. Our results conclusively demonstrate that not only glutamate excitotoxicity and/or oxidative stress alters mitochondrial fission/fusion, but that an imbalance in mitochondrial fission/fusion in turn leads to NMDA receptor upregulation and oxidative stress. Therefore, we propose a new vicious cycle involved in neurodegeneration that includes glutamate excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dynamics.
Project description:Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy (ADOA) is the most common inherited optic atrophy where vision impairment results from specific loss of retinal ganglion cells of the optic nerve. Around 60% of ADOA cases are linked to mutations in the OPA1 gene. OPA1 is a fission-fusion protein involved in mitochondrial inner membrane remodelling. ADOA presents with marked variation in clinical phenotype and varying degrees of vision loss, even among siblings carrying identical mutations in OPA1. To determine whether the degree of vision loss is associated with the level of mitochondrial impairment, we examined mitochondrial function in lymphoblast cell lines obtained from six large Australian OPA1-linked ADOA pedigrees. Comparing patients with severe vision loss (visual acuity [VA]<6/36) and patients with relatively preserved vision (VA>6/9) a clear defect in mitochondrial ATP synthesis and reduced respiration rates were observed in patients with poor vision. In addition, oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) enzymology in ADOA patients with normal vision revealed increased complex II+III activity and levels of complex IV protein. These data suggest that OPA1 deficiency impairs OXPHOS efficiency, but compensation through increases in the distal complexes of the respiratory chain may preserve mitochondrial ATP production in patients who maintain normal vision. Identification of genetic variants that enable this response may provide novel therapeutic insights into OXPHOS compensation for preventing vision loss in optic neuropathies.
Project description:Autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA), a form of progressive bilateral blindness due to loss of retinal ganglion cells and optic nerve deterioration, arises predominantly from mutations in the nuclear gene for the mitochondrial GTPase, OPA1. OPA1 localizes to mitochondrial cristae in the inner membrane where electron transport chain complexes are enriched. While OPA1 has been characterized for its role in mitochondrial cristae structure and organelle fusion, possible effects of OPA1 on mitochondrial function have not been determined.Mitochondria from six ADOA patients bearing OPA1 mutations and ten ADOA patients with unidentified gene mutations were studied for respiratory capacity and electron transport complex function. Results suggest that the nuclear DNA mutations that give rise to ADOA in our patient population do not alter mitochondrial electron transport.We conclude that the pathophysiology of ADOA likely stems from the role of OPA1 in mitochondrial structure or fusion and not from OPA1 support of oxidative phosphorylation.
Project description: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 2015;63:736-753.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) and autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA) are the most frequent forms of hereditary optic neuropathies. LHON is associated with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations whereas ADOA is mainly due to mutations in the OPA1 gene that encodes a mitochondrial protein involved in the mitochondrial inner membrane remodeling. A striking influence of mtDNA haplogroup J on LHON expression has been demonstrated and it has been recently suggested that this haplogroup could also influence ADOA expression. In this study, we have tested the influence of mtDNA backgrounds on OPA1 mutations. METHODS: To define the relationships between OPA1 mutations and mtDNA backgrounds, we determined the haplogroup affiliation of 41 French patients affected by OPA1-related ADOA by control-region sequencing and RFLP survey of their mtDNAs. RESULTS: The comparison between patient and reference populations did not revealed any significant difference. CONCLUSION: Our results argue against a strong influence of mtDNA background on ADOA expression. These data allow to conclude that OPA1 could be considered as a "severe mutation", directly responsible of the optic atrophy, whereas OPA1-negative ADOA and LHON mutations need an external factor(s) to express the pathology (i.e. synergistic interaction with mitochondrial background).
Project description:PURPOSE: Autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA, OMIM 165500), an inherited optic neuropathy that leads to retinal ganglion cell degeneration and reduced visual acuity during the early decades of life, is mainly associated with mutations in the OPA1 gene. Here we report a novel ADOA phenotype associated with a new pathogenic OPA1 gene mutation. METHODS: The patient, a 62-year-old woman, was referred for acute, painless, and severe visual loss in her right eye. Acute visual loss in her left eye occurred a year after initial presentation. MRI confirmed the diagnosis of isolated atrophic bilateral optic neuropathy. We performed DNA sequencing of the entire coding sequence and the exon/intron junctions of the OPA1 gene, and we searched for the mitochondrial DNA mutations responsible for Leber hereditary optic atrophy by sequencing entirely mitochondrial DNA. Mitochondrial respiratory chain complex activity and mitochondrial morphology were investigated in skin fibroblasts from the patient and controls. RESULTS: We identified a novel heterozygous missense mutation (c.2794C>T) in exon 27 of the OPA1 gene, resulting in an amino acid change (p.R932C) in the protein. This mutation, which affects a highly conserved amino acids, has not been previously reported, and was absent in 400 control chromosomes. Mitochondrial DNA sequence analysis did not reveal any mutation associated with Leber hereditary optic neuropathy or any pathogenic mutations. The investigation of skin fibroblasts from the patient revealed a coupling defect of oxidative phosphorylation and a larger proportion of short mitochondria than in controls. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of an OPA1 mutation indicates that this sporadic, late-onset acute case of optic neuropathy is related to ADOA and to a mitochondrial energetic defect. This suggests that the mutational screening of the OPA1 gene would be justified in atypical cases of optic nerve atrophy with no evident cause.
Project description:Autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA) is a dominantly inherited optic neuropathy, affecting the specific loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). The majority of affected cases of ADOA are associated with mutations in OPA1 gene. Our previous investigation identified the c.1198C?>?G (p.P400A) mutation in the OPA1 in a large Han Chinese family with ADOA. In this report, we performed a functional characterization using lymphoblostoid cell lines derived from affected members of this family and control subjects. Mutant cell lines exhibited the aberrant mitochondrial morphology. A ~24.6% decrease in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number was observed in mutant cell lines, as compared with controls. Western blotting analysis revealed the variable reductions (~45.7%) in four mtDNA-encoded polypeptides in mutant cell lines. The impaired mitochondrial translation caused defects in respiratory capacity. Furthermore, defects in mitochondrial ATP synthesis and mitochondrial membrane potential (??m) were observed in mutant cell lines. These abnormalities resulted in the accumulation of oxidative damage and increasing of apoptosis in the mutant cell lines, as compared with controls. All those alterations may cause the primary degeneration of RGCs and subsequent visual loss. These data provided the direct evidence for c.1198C?>?G mutation leading to ADOA. Our findings may provide new insights into the understanding of pathophysiology of ADOA.
Project description:Glaucoma is a neurodegenerative disease that features progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Increasing evidences have revealed that impaired mitochondrial dynamics occurs early in neurodegenerative diseases. Optic Atrophy Type 1 (OPA1), a mitochondrial fusion protein, has recently been suggested to be a mitophagic factor. Our previous studies found that glaucomatous retinal damage may be ameliorated by an increase in mitochondrial OPA1. In this study, we explored the mechanism involved in OPA1 mediated neuroprotection and its relationship with parkin dependent mitophagy in experimental glaucoma models. Our data showed that overexpression of OPA1 by viral vectors protected against RGC loss, attenuated Bax expression, and improved mitochondrial health and mitochondrial surface area. Parkin expression and the number of mitophagosomes were upregulated in OPA1 overexpressed RGCs under glutamate excitotoxicity. While knockdown of OPA1 by siRNA decreased protein expression of parkin in RGCs under glutamate excitotoxicity. Two weeks after intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation, the LC3-II/I ratio and the LAMP1 expression were increased in OPA1 overexpressed optic nerve. These findings suggest that OPA1 overexpression may protect RGCs by ways of enhancing mitochondria fusion and parkin mediated mitophagy. Interventions to promote mitochondrial fusion and mitophagy may provide a useful strategy to battle against glaucomatous RGC loss.
Project description:Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy (ADOA), a disease that causes blindness and other neurological disorders, is linked to <i>OPA1</i> mutations. OPA1, dependent on its GTPase and GED domains, governs inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) fusion and cristae organization, which are central to oxidative metabolism. Mitochondrial dynamics and IMM organization have also been implicated in Ca<sup>2+</sup> homeostasis and signaling but the specific involvements of OPA1 in Ca<sup>2+</sup> dynamics remain to be established. Here we studied the possible outcomes of OPA1 and its ADOA-linked mutations in Ca<sup>2+</sup> homeostasis using rescue and overexpression strategies in <i>Opa1</i>-deficient and <i>wild-type</i> murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), respectively and in human ADOA-derived fibroblasts. MEFs lacking <i>Opa1</i> required less Ca<sup>2+</sup> mobilization from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to induce a mitochondrial matrix [Ca<sup>2+</sup>] rise ([Ca<sup>2+</sup>]<sub>mito</sub>). This was associated with closer ER-mitochondria contacts and no significant changes in the mitochondrial calcium uniporter complex. Patient cells carrying <i>OPA1</i> GTPase or GED domain mutations also exhibited altered Ca<sup>2+</sup> homeostasis, and the mutations associated with lower OPA1 levels displayed closer ER-mitochondria gaps. Furthermore, in <i>Opa1</i> <sup><i>-/-</i></sup> MEF background, we found that acute expression of <i>OPA1</i> GTPase mutants but no GED mutants, partially restored cytosolic [Ca<sup>2+</sup>] ([Ca<sup>2+</sup>]<sub>cyto</sub>) needed for a prompt [Ca<sup>2+</sup>]<sub>mito</sub> rise. Finally, <i>OPA1</i> mutants' overexpression in WT MEFs disrupted Ca<sup>2+</sup> homeostasis, partially recapitulating the observations in ADOA patient cells. Thus, OPA1 modulates functional ER-mitochondria coupling likely through the OPA1 GED domain in <i>Opa1</i> <sup><i>-/-</i></sup> MEFs. However, the co-existence of WT and mutant forms of OPA1 in patients promotes an imbalance of Ca<sup>2+</sup> homeostasis without a domain-specific effect, likely contributing to the overall ADOA progress.
Project description:Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy (ADOA) is characterized by the selective degeneration of retinal ganglion cells. The occurrence of mutations in the gene encoding the dynamin-like GTPase protein Optic Atrophy 1 (OPA1) has been observed in about 60-70% of ADOA cases. A subset of missense mutations, mostly within the GTPase domain, has recently been associated with a syndromic ADOA form called "OPA1 plus" phenotype presenting, at muscle level, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) instability. In this study we disclosed two OPA1 gene mutations in independent probands from two families affected by OPA1 plus phenotype: the previously reported c.985-2A>G substitution and a novel microdeletion (c.2819-1_2821del). The correlation between genotype and phenotype and the effects of these variants at the transcript level and in the muscle tissue were investigated, confirming the broad complexity in the phenotypic spectrum associated with these OPA1 mutations.
Project description:Mitochondrial dysfunction and mitophagy are often hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases such as autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA) caused by mutations in the key mitochondrial dynamics protein optic atrophy 1 (Opa1). However, the second messengers linking mitochondrial dysfunction to initiation of mitophagy remain poorly characterized. Here, we show in mammalian and nematode neurons that Opa1 mutations trigger Ca<sup>2+</sup>-dependent mitophagy. Deletion or expression of mutated Opa1 in mouse retinal ganglion cells and Caenorhabditis elegans motor neurons lead to mitochondrial dysfunction, increased cytosolic Ca<sup>2+</sup> levels, and decreased axonal mitochondrial density. Chelation of Ca<sup>2+</sup> restores mitochondrial density in neuronal processes, neuronal function, and viability. Mechanistically, sustained Ca<sup>2+</sup> levels activate calcineurin and AMPK, placed in the same genetic pathway regulating axonal mitochondrial density. Our data reveal that mitophagy in ADOA depends on Ca<sup>2+</sup>-calcineurin-AMPK signaling cascade.