Mitochondrial DNA ligase is dispensable for the viability of cultured cells but essential for mtDNA maintenance.
ABSTRACT: Multiple lines of evidence support the notion that DNA ligase III (LIG3), the only DNA ligase found in mitochondria, is essential for viability in both whole organisms and in cultured cells. Previous attempts to generate cells devoid of mitochondrial DNA ligase failed. Here, we report, for the first time, the derivation of viable LIG3-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts. These cells lack mtDNA and are auxotrophic for uridine and pyruvate, which may explain the apparent lethality of the Lig3 knock-out observed in cultured cells in previous studies. Cells with severely reduced expression of LIG3 maintain normal mtDNA copy number and respiration but show reduced viability in the face of alkylating and oxidative damage, increased mtDNA degradation in response to oxidative damage, and slow recovery from mtDNA depletion. Our findings clarify the cellular role of LIG3 and establish that the loss of viability in LIG3-deficient cells is conditional and secondary to the ρ(0) phenotype.
Project description:Mammalian cells have three ATP-dependent DNA ligases, which are required for DNA replication and repair. Homologues of ligase I (Lig1) and ligase IV (Lig4) are ubiquitous in Eukarya, whereas ligase III (Lig3), which has nuclear and mitochondrial forms, appears to be restricted to vertebrates. Lig3 is implicated in various DNA repair pathways with its partner protein Xrcc1 (ref. 1). Deletion of Lig3 results in early embryonic lethality in mice, as well as apparent cellular lethality, which has precluded definitive characterization of Lig3 function. Here we used pre-emptive complementation to determine the viability requirement for Lig3 in mammalian cells and its requirement in DNA repair. Various forms of Lig3 were introduced stably into mouse embryonic stem (mES) cells containing a conditional allele of Lig3 that could be deleted with Cre recombinase. With this approach, we find that the mitochondrial, but not nuclear, Lig3 is required for cellular viability. Although the catalytic function of Lig3 is required, the zinc finger (ZnF) and BRCA1 carboxy (C)-terminal-related (BRCT) domains of Lig3 are not. Remarkably, the viability requirement for Lig3 can be circumvented by targeting Lig1 to the mitochondria or expressing Chlorella virus DNA ligase, the minimal eukaryal nick-sealing enzyme, or Escherichia coli LigA, an NAD(+)-dependent ligase. Lig3-null cells are not sensitive to several DNA-damaging agents that sensitize Xrcc1-deficient cells. Our results establish a role for Lig3 in mitochondria, but distinguish it from its interacting protein Xrcc1.
Project description:DNA replication and repair in mammalian cells involves three distinct DNA ligases: ligase I (Lig1), ligase III (Lig3) and ligase IV (Lig4). Lig3 is considered a key ligase during base excision repair because its stability depends upon its nuclear binding partner Xrcc1, a critical factor for this DNA repair pathway. Lig3 is also present in the mitochondria, where its role in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance is independent of Xrcc1 (ref. 4). However, the biological role of Lig3 is unclear as inactivation of murine Lig3 results in early embryonic lethality. Here we report that Lig3 is essential for mtDNA integrity but dispensable for nuclear DNA repair. Inactivation of Lig3 in the mouse nervous system resulted in mtDNA loss leading to profound mitochondrial dysfunction, disruption of cellular homeostasis and incapacitating ataxia. Similarly, inactivation of Lig3 in cardiac muscle resulted in mitochondrial dysfunction and defective heart-pump function leading to heart failure. However, Lig3 inactivation did not result in nuclear DNA repair deficiency, indicating essential DNA repair functions of Xrcc1 can occur in the absence of Lig3. Instead, we found that Lig1 was critical for DNA repair, but acted in a cooperative manner with Lig3. Additionally, Lig3 deficiency did not recapitulate the hallmark features of neural Xrcc1 inactivation such as DNA damage-induced cerebellar interneuron loss, further underscoring functional separation of these DNA repair factors. Therefore, our data reveal that the critical biological role of Lig3 is to maintain mtDNA integrity and not Xrcc1-dependent DNA repair.
Project description:Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T) is a progressive childhood disorder characterized most notably by cerebellar degeneration and predisposition to cancer. A-T is caused by mutations in the kinase ATM, a master regulator of the DNA double-strand break response. In addition to DNA-damage signaling defects, A-T cells display mitochondrial dysfunction that is thought to contribute to A-T pathogenesis. However, the molecular mechanism leading to mitochondrial dysfunction in A-T remains unclear. Here, we show that lack of ATM leads to reduced mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) integrity and mitochondrial dysfunction, which are associated to defective mtDNA repair. While protein levels of mtDNA repair proteins are essentially normal, in the absence of ATM levels specifically of DNA ligase III (Lig3), the only DNA ligase working in mitochondria is reduced. The reduction of Lig3 is observed in different A-T patient cells, in brain and pre-B cells derived from ATM knockout mice as well as upon transient or stable knockdown of ATM. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of Lig3 in wild type cells phenocopies the mtDNA repair defects observed in A-T patient cells. As targeted deletion of LIG3 in the central nervous system causes debilitating ataxia in mice, reduced Lig3 protein levels and the consequent mtDNA repair defect may contribute to A-T neurodegeneration. A-T is thus the first disease characterized by diminished Lig3.
Project description:Nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) is the primary DNA repair pathway thought to underlie chromosomal translocations and other genomic rearrangements in somatic cells. The canonical NHEJ pathway, including DNA ligase IV (Lig4), suppresses genomic instability and chromosomal translocations, leading to the notion that a poorly defined, alternative NHEJ (alt-NHEJ) pathway generates these rearrangements. Here, we investigate the DNA ligase requirement of chromosomal translocation formation in mouse cells. Mammals have two other DNA ligases, Lig1 and Lig3, in addition to Lig4. As deletion of Lig3 results in cellular lethality due to its requirement in mitochondria, we used recently developed cell lines deficient in nuclear Lig3 but rescued for mitochondrial DNA ligase activity. Further, zinc finger endonucleases were used to generate DNA breaks at endogenous loci to induce translocations. Unlike with Lig4 deficiency, which causes an increase in translocation frequency, translocations are reduced in frequency in the absence of Lig3. Residual translocations in Lig3-deficient cells do not show a bias toward use of pre-existing microhomology at the breakpoint junctions, unlike either wild-type or Lig4-deficient cells, consistent with the notion that alt-NHEJ is impaired with Lig3 loss. By contrast, Lig1 depletion in otherwise wild-type cells does not reduce translocations or affect microhomology use. However, translocations are further reduced in Lig3-deficient cells upon Lig1 knockdown, suggesting the existence of two alt-NHEJ pathways, one that is biased toward microhomology use and requires Lig3 and a back-up pathway which does not depend on microhomology and utilizes Lig1.
Project description:Tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (Tdp1) is a nuclear and mitochondrial protein that in nuclei and in vitro repairs blocked 3' DNA termini such as 3' phosphotyrosine conjugates resulting from stalling of topoisomerase I-DNA intermediates. Its mutation also causes spinocerebellar ataxia with axonal neuropathy type 1 (SCAN1). Because Tdp1 colocalizes with mitochondria following oxidative stress, we hypothesized that Tdp1 repairs mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and that mtDNA damage mediates entry of Tdp1 into the mitochondria. To test this, we used S. cerevisiae mutants, cultured mouse and human cells, and a Tdp1 knockout mouse. H2O2- and rotenone-induced cellular and intramitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) activated oxidant-responsive kinases P38 and ERK1, and the translocation of Tdp1 from the nucleus to the mitochondria via the TIM/TOM complex. This translocation occurred independently of mtDNA. Within the mitochondria, Tdp1 interacted with Ligase III and reduced mtDNA mutations. Tdp1-deficient tissues had impaired mitochondrial respiration and decreased viability. These observations suggest that Tdp1 maintains mtDNA integrity and support the hypothesis that mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to the pathology of SCAN1.
Project description:In eukaryotes, DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), one of the most harmful types of DNA damage, are repaired by homologous repair (HR) and nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ). Surprisingly, in cells deficient for core classic NHEJ factors such as DNA ligase IV (Lig4), substantial end-joining activities have been observed in various situations, suggesting the existence of alternative end-joining (A-EJ) activities. Several putative A-EJ factors have been proposed, although results are mostly controversial. By using a clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) system, we generated mouse CH12F3 cell lines in which, in addition to Lig4, either Lig1 or nuclear Lig3, representing the cells containing a single DNA ligase (Lig3 or Lig1, respectively) in their nucleus, was completely ablated. Surprisingly, we found that both Lig1- and Lig3-containing complexes could efficiently catalyze A-EJ for class switching recombination (CSR) in the IgH locus and chromosomal deletions between DSBs generated by CRISPR/Cas9 in cis-chromosomes. However, only deletion of nuclear Lig3, but not Lig1, could significantly reduce the interchromosomal translocations in Lig4(-/-) cells, suggesting the unique role of Lig3 in catalyzing chromosome translocation. Additional sequence analysis of chromosome translocation junction microhomology revealed the specificity of different ligase-containing complexes. The data suggested the existence of multiple DNA ligase-containing complexes in A-EJ.
Project description:Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematologic malignancy characterized by high genomic instability. Here we provide evidence that hyper-activation of DNA ligase III (LIG3) is crucial for genomic instability and survival of MM cells. LIG3 mRNA expression in MM patients correlates with shorter survival and even increases with more advanced stage of disease. Knockdown of LIG3 impairs MM cells viability in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that neoplastic plasmacells are dependent on LIG3-driven repair. To investigate the mechanisms involved in LIG3 expression, we investigated the post-transcriptional regulation. We identified miR-22-3p as effective negative regulator of LIG3 in MM. Enforced expression of miR-22 in MM cells downregulated LIG3 protein, which in turn increased DNA damage inhibiting in vitro and in vivo cell growth. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that myeloma cells are addicted to LIG3, which can be effectively inhibited by miR-22, promoting a novel axis of genome stability regulation.
Project description:Due to the essential role played by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in cellular physiology and bioenergetics, methods for establishing cell lines with altered mtDNA content are of considerable interest. Here, we report evidence for the existence in mammalian cells of a novel, low- efficiency, presequence-independent pathway for mitochondrial protein import, which facilitates mitochondrial uptake of such proteins as Chlorella virus ligase (ChVlig) and Escherichia coli LigA. Mouse cells engineered to depend on this pathway for mitochondrial import of the LigA protein for mtDNA maintenance had severely (up to >90%) reduced mtDNA content. These observations were used to establish a method for the generation of mouse cell lines with reduced mtDNA copy number by, first, transducing them with a retrovirus encoding LigA, and then inactivating in these transductants endogenous Lig3 with CRISPR-Cas9. Interestingly, mtDNA depletion to an average level of one copy per cell proceeds faster in cells engineered to maintain mtDNA at low copy number. This makes a low-mtDNA copy number phenotype resulting from dependence on mitochondrial import of DNA ligase through presequence-independent pathway potentially useful for rapidly shifting mtDNA heteroplasmy through partial mtDNA depletion.
Project description:Classical nonhomologous DNA end-joining (C-NHEJ), which is a major DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair pathway in mammalian cells, plays a dominant role in joining DSBs during Ig heavy chain (IgH) class switch recombination (CSR) in activated B lymphocytes. However, in B cells deficient for one or more requisite C-NHEJ factors, such as DNA ligase 4 (Lig4) or XRCC4, end-joining during CSR occurs by a distinct alternative end-joining (A-EJ) pathway. A-EJ also has been implicated in joining DSBs found in oncogenic chromosomal translocations. DNA ligase 3 (Lig3) and its cofactor XRCC1 are widely considered to be requisite A-EJ factors, based on biochemical studies or extrachromosomal substrate end-joining studies. However, potential roles for these factors in A-EJ of endogenous chromosomal DSBs have not been tested. Here, we report that Xrcc1 inactivation via conditional gene-targeted deletion in WT or XRCC4-deficient primary B cells does not have an impact on either CSR or IgH/c-myc translocations in activated B lymphocytes. Indeed, homozygous deletion of Xrcc1 does not impair A-EJ of I-SceI-induced DSBs in XRCC4-deficient pro-B-cell lines. Correspondingly, substantial depletion of Lig3 in Lig4-deficient primary B cells or B-cell lines does not impair A-EJ of CSR-mediated DSBs or formation of IgH/c-myc translocations. Our findings firmly demonstrate that XRCC1 is not a requisite factor for A-EJ of chromosomal DSBs and raise the possibility that DNA ligase 1 (Lig1) may contribute more to A-EJ than previously considered.
Project description:Human Mpv17-like protein (M-LPH) has been suggested to participate in prevention of mitochondrial dysfunction caused by mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage. To clarify the molecular mechanism of M-LPH function, we knocked out M-LPH in human hepatoma HepG2 using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. An increase in mtDNA damage in M-LPH-KO HepG2 cells was demonstrated by PCR-based quantitation and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) measurement. Furthermore, confocal immunofluorescence analysis and Western blot analysis of mitochondrial extracts demonstrated that M-LPH-KO caused reductions in the protein levels of mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), an essential factor for transcription and maintenance of mtDNA, and two DNA repair enzymes, 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase (OGG1) and DNA ligase 3 (LIG3), both involved in mitochondrial base excision repair (BER). Accordingly, it was suggested that the increase in mtDNA damage was due to a cumulative effect of mtDNA instability resulting from deficiencies of TFAM and diminished ability for BER arising from deficiencies in BER-related enzymes. These findings suggest that M-LPH could be involved in the maintenance of mtDNA, and therefore mitochondrial function, by protecting proteins essential for mtDNA stability and maintenance, in an integrated manner.