Generation of Rho Zero Cells: Visualization and Quantification of the mtDNA Depletion Process.
ABSTRACT: Human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is located in discrete DNA-protein complexes, so called nucleoids. These structures can be easily visualized in living cells by utilizing the fluorescent stain PicoGreen. In contrary, cells devoid of endogenous mitochondrial genomes (?? cells) display no mitochondrial staining in the cytoplasm. A modified restriction enzyme can be targeted to mitochondria to cleave the mtDNA molecules in more than two fragments, thereby activating endogenous nucleases. By applying this novel enzymatic approach to generate mtDNA-depleted cells the destruction of mitochondrial nucleoids in cultured cells could be detected in a time course. It is clear from these experiments that mtDNA-depleted cells can be seen as early as 48 h post-transfection using the depletion system. To prove that mtDNA is degraded during this process, mtDNA of transfected cells was quantified by real-time PCR. A significant decline could be observed 24 h post-transfection. Combination of both results showed that mtDNA of transfected cells is completely degraded and, therefore, ?? cells were generated within 48 h. Thus, the application of a mitochondrially-targeted restriction endonuclease proves to be a first and fast, but essential step towards a therapy for mtDNA disorders.
Project description:The machinery of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) maintenance is only partially characterized and is of wide interest due to its involvement in disease. To identify novel components of this machinery, plus other cellular pathways required for mtDNA viability, we implemented a genome-wide RNAi screen in Drosophila S2 cells, assaying for loss of fluorescence of mtDNA nucleoids stained with the DNA-intercalating agent PicoGreen. In addition to previously characterized components of the mtDNA replication and transcription machineries, positives included many proteins of the cytosolic proteasome and ribosome (but not the mitoribosome), three proteins involved in vesicle transport, some other factors involved in mitochondrial biogenesis or nuclear gene expression, > 30 mainly uncharacterized proteins and most subunits of ATP synthase (but no other OXPHOS complex). ATP synthase knockdown precipitated a burst of mitochondrial ROS production, followed by copy number depletion involving increased mitochondrial turnover, not dependent on the canonical autophagy machinery. Our findings will inform future studies of the apparatus and regulation of mtDNA maintenance, and the role of mitochondrial bioenergetics and signaling in modulating mtDNA copy number.
Project description:Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes RNAs and proteins critical for cell function. In human cells, hundreds to thousands of mtDNA copies are replicated asynchronously, packaged into protein-DNA nucleoids, and distributed within a dynamic mitochondrial network. The mechanisms that govern how nucleoids are chosen for replication and distribution are not understood. Mitochondrial distribution depends on division, which occurs at endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-mitochondria contact sites. These sites were spatially linked to a subset of nucleoids selectively marked by mtDNA polymerase and engaged in mtDNA synthesis--events that occurred upstream of mitochondrial constriction and division machine assembly. Our data suggest that ER tubules proximal to nucleoids are necessary but not sufficient for mtDNA synthesis. Thus, ER-mitochondria contacts coordinate licensing of mtDNA synthesis with division to distribute newly replicated nucleoids to daughter mitochondria.
Project description:Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is organized in protein-DNA macrocomplexes called nucleoids. Average nucleoids contain 2-8 mtDNA molecules, which are organized by the histone-like mitochondrial transcription factor A. Besides well-characterized constituents, such as single-stranded binding protein or polymerase gamma (Pol gamma), various other proteins with ill-defined functions have been identified. We report for the first time that mammalian nucleoids contain essential enzymes of an integral antioxidant system. Intact nucleoids were isolated with sucrose density gradients from rat and bovine heart as well as human Jurkat cells. Manganese superoxide dismutase (SOD2) was detected by Western blot in the nucleoid fractions. DNA, mitochondrial glutathione peroxidase (GPx1), and Pol gamma were coimmunoprecipitated with SOD2 from nucleoid fractions, which suggests that an antioxidant system composed of SOD2 and GPx1 are integral constituents of nucleoids. Interestingly, in cultured bovine endothelial cells the association of SOD2 with mtDNA was absent. Using a sandwich filter-binding assay, direct association of SOD2 by salt-sensitive ionic forces with a chemically synthesized mtDNA fragment was demonstrated. Increasing salt concentrations during nucleoid isolation on sucrose density gradients disrupted the association of SOD2 with mitochondrial nucleoids. Our biochemical data reveal that nucleoids contain an integral antioxidant system that may protect mtDNA from superoxide-induced oxidative damage.
Project description:Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is organized in nucleoprotein complexes called mitochondrial nucleoids (mt-nucleoids), which are critical units of mtDNA replication and transmission. In humans, several hundreds of mt-nucleoids exist in a cell. However, how numerous mt-nucleoids are maintained during the cell cycle remains elusive, because cell cycle synchronization procedures affect mtDNA replication. Here, we analyzed regulation of the maintenance of mt-nucleoids in the cell cycle, using a fluorescent cell cycle indicator, Fucci2. Live imaging of mt-nucleoids with higher temporal resolution showed frequent attachment and detachment of mt-nucleoids throughout the cell cycle. TFAM, an mtDNA packaging protein, was involved in the regulation of this dynamic process, which was important for maintaining proper mt-nucleoid number. Both an increase in mt-nucleoid number and activation of mtDNA replication occurred during S phase. To increase mt-nucleoid number, mtDNA replication, but not nuclear DNA replication, was necessary. We propose that these dynamic and regulatory processes in the cell cycle maintain several hundred mt-nucleoids in proliferating cells.
Project description:Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is packaged into DNA-protein complexes called nucleoids, which are distributed as many small foci in mitochondria. Nucleoids are crucial for the biogenesis and function of mtDNA. Here, using a yeast genetic screen for components that control nucleoid distribution and size, we identify Fcj1 and Mos1, two evolutionarily conserved mitochondrial proteins that maintain the connection between the cristae and boundary membranes. These two proteins are also important for establishing tubular morphology of mitochondria, as mitochondria lacking Fcj1 and Mos1 form lamellar sheets. We find that nucleoids aggregate, increase in size, and decrease in number in fcj1 and mos1 cells. In addition, Fcj1 form punctate structures and localized adjacent to nucleoids. Moreover, connecting mitochondria by deleting the DNM1 gene required for organelle division enhances aggregation of mtDNA nucleoids in fcj1 and mos1 cells, whereas single deletion of DNM1 does not affect nucleoids. Conversely, deleting F1Fo-ATP synthase dimerization factors generates concentric ring-like cristae, restores tubular mitochondrial morphology, and suppresses nucleoid aggregation in these mutants. Our findings suggest an unexpected role of Fcj1-Mos1 and organelle division in maintaining the distribution and size of mtDNA nucleoids.
Project description:Mammalian mtDNA is packaged in DNA-protein complexes denoted mitochondrial nucleoids. The organization of the nucleoid is a very fundamental question in mitochondrial biology and will determine tissue segregation and transmission of mtDNA. We have used a combination of stimulated emission depletion microscopy, enabling a resolution well below the diffraction barrier, and molecular biology to study nucleoids in a panel of mammalian tissue culture cells. We report that the nucleoids labeled with antibodies against DNA, mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), or incorporated BrdU, have a defined, uniform mean size of ?100 nm in mammals. Interestingly, the nucleoid frequently contains only a single copy of mtDNA (average ?1.4 mtDNA molecules per nucleoid). Furthermore, we show by molecular modeling and volume calculations that TFAM is a main constituent of the nucleoid, besides mtDNA. These fundamental insights into the organization of mtDNA have broad implications for understanding mitochondrial dysfunction in disease and aging.
Project description:Many anticancer drugs, such as doxorubicin (DXR), intercalate into nuclear DNA of cancer cells, thereby inhibiting their growth. However, it is not well understood how such drugs interact with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Using cell and molecular studies of cultured cells, we show that DXR and other DNA intercalators, such as ethidium bromide, can rapidly intercalate into mtDNA within living cells, causing aggregation of mtDNA nucleoids and altering the distribution of nucleoid proteins. Remodelled nucleoids excluded DXR and maintained mtDNA synthesis, whereas non-remodelled nucleoids became heavily intercalated with DXR, which inhibited their replication, thus leading to mtDNA depletion. Remodelling was accompanied by extensive mitochondrial elongation or interconnection, and was suppressed in cells lacking mitofusin 1 and optic atrophy 1 (OPA1), the key proteins for mitochondrial fusion. In contrast, remodelling was significantly increased by p53 or ataxia telangiectasia mutated inhibition (ATM), indicating a link between nucleoid dynamics and the genomic DNA damage response. Collectively, our results show that DNA intercalators can trigger a common mitochondrial response, which likely contributes to the marked clinical toxicity associated with these drugs.
Project description:Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is packaged into DNA-protein assemblies called nucleoids, but the mode of mtDNA propagation via the nucleoid remains controversial. Two mechanisms have been proposed: nucleoids may consistently maintain their mtDNA content faithfully, or nucleoids may exchange mtDNAs dynamically. To test these models directly, two cell lines were fused, each homoplasmic for a partially deleted mtDNA in which the deletions were nonoverlapping and each deficient in mitochondrial protein synthesis, thus allowing the first unequivocal visualization of two mtDNAs at the nucleoid level. The two mtDNAs transcomplemented to restore mitochondrial protein synthesis but were consistently maintained in discrete nucleoids that did not intermix stably. These results indicate that mitochondrial nucleoids tightly regulate their genetic content rather than freely exchanging mtDNAs. This genetic autonomy provides a molecular mechanism to explain patterns of mitochondrial genetic inheritance, in addition to facilitating therapeutic methods to eliminate deleterious mtDNA mutations.
Project description:Mammalian mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is packaged by mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) into mitochondrial nucleoids that are of key importance in controlling the transmission and expression of mtDNA. Nucleoid ultrastructure is poorly defined, and therefore we used a combination of biochemistry, superresolution microscopy, and electron microscopy to show that mitochondrial nucleoids have an irregular ellipsoidal shape and typically contain a single copy of mtDNA. Rotary shadowing electron microscopy revealed that nucleoid formation in vitro is a multistep process initiated by TFAM aggregation and cross-strand binding. Superresolution microscopy of cultivated cells showed that increased mtDNA copy number increases nucleoid numbers without altering their sizes. Electron cryo-tomography visualized nucleoids at high resolution in isolated mammalian mitochondria and confirmed the sizes observed by superresolution microscopy of cell lines. We conclude that the fundamental organizational unit of the mitochondrial nucleoid is a single copy of mtDNA compacted by TFAM, and we suggest a packaging mechanism.
Project description:Mitochondrial nucleoids consist of several different groups of proteins, many of which are involved in essential cellular processes such as the replication, repair and transcription of the mitochondrial genome. The eukaryotic, ATP-dependent protease Lon is found within the central nucleoid region, though little is presently known about its role there. Aside from its association with mitochondrial nucleoids, human Lon also specifically interacts with RNA. Recently, Lon was shown to regulate TFAM, the most abundant mtDNA structural factor in human mitochondria. To determine whether Lon also regulates other mitochondrial nucleoid- or ribosome-associated proteins, we examined the in vitro digestion profiles of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae TFAM functional homologue Abf2, the yeast mtDNA maintenance protein Mgm101, and two human mitochondrial proteins, Twinkle helicase and the large ribosomal subunit protein MrpL32. Degradation of Mgm101 was also verified in vivo in yeast mitochondria. These experiments revealed that all four proteins are actively degraded by Lon, but that three of them are protected from it when bound to a nucleic acid; the Twinkle helicase is not. Such a regulatory mechanism might facilitate dynamic changes to the mitochondrial nucleoid, which are crucial for conducting mitochondrial functions and maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis.