Activation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response promotes longevity and dopamine neuron survival in Parkinson's disease models.
ABSTRACT: While the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) is incompletely understood, mitochondrial dysfunction is thought to play a crucial role in disease pathogenesis. Here, we examined the relationship between mitochondrial function and dopamine neuron dysfunction and death using C. elegans mutants for three mitochondria-related genes implicated in monogenic PD (pdr-1/PRKN, pink-1/PINK1 and djr-1.1/DJ-1). We found that pdr-1 and pink-1 mutants exhibit deficits in dopamine-dependent behaviors, but no loss of dopamine neurons, while djr-1.1 mutants showed an increased sensitivity to oxidative stress. In examining mitochondrial morphology and function, we found that djr-1.1 mutants exhibit increased mitochondrial fragmentation leading to decreased rate of oxidative phosphorylation and ATP levels. pdr-1 and pink-1 mutants show an accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria with age, which leads to activation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (mitoUPR). Preventing the upregulation of the mitoUPR with a deletion in atfs-1 results in decreased lifespan and dopamine neuronal loss in pdr-1 and pink-1 mutants but not in wild-type worms. Overall, our results suggest that mutations in pdr-1 and pink-1 cause the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria, which activates the mitoUPR to mitigate the detrimental effect of these mutations on dopamine neuron survival.
Project description:Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and is characterized by the formation of ?-synuclein-containing protein aggregates called Lewy bodies within the brain. A crucial role for ?-synuclein in the pathogenesis of PD is also suggested by the fact that point mutations, increased copy number, or polymorphisms in the ?-synuclein gene SNCA all cause or contribute to the development of PD. In addition to SNCA, an increasing number of other genes have been implicated in PD. While mutations in at least some of these genes have been shown to cause the formation of Lewy bodies, the role of ?-synuclein in these genetic forms of PD remains poorly defined. Since C. elegans do not have a homolog of ?-synuclein, this organism provides the opportunity to identify synergism between ?-synuclein and other genes implicated in PD. To do this, we generated a novel C. elegans model in which wild-type ?-synuclein is ubiquitously expressed from a single copy transgene, and examined the resulting effect on phenotypic deficits in PD deletion mutants affecting PARK2/pdr-1, PINK1/pink-1, DJ-1/djr-1.1 and ATP13A2/catp-6. While the PD deletion mutants exhibit only mild phenotypic deficits in absence of ?-synuclein, expression of wild-type ?-synuclein caused increased sensitivity to multiple stresses, induced deficits in dopamine-dependent behavior, and accelerated loss of dopamine neurons. Overall, these results suggest that the recessive loss of function mutations act together with ?-synuclein to cause PD, and that ?-synuclein lowering strategies may be effective in genetic forms of PD.
Project description:Vacuolar protein sorting-35 (VPS35) is a retromer component for endosomal trafficking. Mutations of VPS35 have been linked to familial Parkinson's disease (PD). Here, we show that specific deletion of the VPS35 gene in dopamine (DA) neurons resulted in PD-like deficits, including loss of DA neurons and accumulation of ?-synuclein. Intriguingly, mitochondria became fragmented and dysfunctional in VPS35-deficient DA neurons, phenotypes that could be restored by expressing VPS35 wild-type, but not PD-linked mutant. Concomitantly, VPS35 deficiency or mutation increased mitochondrial E3 ubiquitin ligase 1 (MUL1) and, thus, led to mitofusin 2 (MFN2) degradation and mitochondrial fragmentation. Suppression of MUL1 expression ameliorated MFN2 reduction and DA neuron loss but not ?-synuclein accumulation. These results provide a cellular mechanism for VPS35 dysfunction in mitochondrial impairment and PD pathogenesis.
Project description:Gene-by-environment interactions are thought to underlie the majority of idiopathic cases of neurodegenerative disease. Recently, we reported that an environmental metabolite extracted from Streptomyces venezuelae increases ROS and damages mitochondria, leading to eventual neurodegeneration of C. elegans dopaminergic neurons. Here we link those data to idiopathic disease models that predict loss of protein handling as a component of disorder progression. We demonstrate that the bacterial metabolite leads to proteostatic disruption in multiple protein-misfolding models and has the potential to synergistically enhance the toxicity of aggregate-prone proteins. Genetically, this metabolite is epistatically regulated by loss-of-function to pink-1, the C. elegans PARK6 homolog responsible for mitochondrial maintenance and autophagy in other animal systems. In addition, the metabolite works through a genetic pathway analogous to loss-of-function in the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), which we find is also epistatically regulated by loss of PINK-1 homeostasis. To determine remitting counter agents, we investigated several established antioxidants and found that glutathione (GSH) can significantly protect against metabolite-induced proteostasis disruption. In addition, GSH protects against the toxicity of MG132 and can compensate for the combined loss of both pink-1 and the E3 ligase pdr-1, a Parkin homolog. In assessing the impact of this metabolite on mitochondrial maintenance, we observe that it causes fragmentation of mitochondria that is attenuated by GSH and an initial surge in PINK-1-dependent autophagy. These studies mechanistically advance our understanding of a putative environmental contributor to neurodegeneration and factors influencing in vivo neurotoxicity.
Project description:Accumulation of damaged mitochondria is a hallmark of human aging and age-related neurodegenerative pathologies, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, the molecular mechanisms of the impaired mitochondrial homeostasis and their relationship to AD are still elusive. Here we provide evidence that mitophagy, a cellular process mediating selective clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria, is impaired in AD patient hippocampus, in iPSC-derived human neurons and in animal AD models. In C. elegans models of AD, pharmacological stimulation of mitophagy reverses memory impairment through a PINK-1, PDR-1 and DCT-1 dependent pathway. Mitophagy induction diminishes the levels of insoluble amyloid-β (Aβ)1-42 and Aβ1-40 peptide isoforms and prevents cognitive impairment in AD mice by a mechanism involving microglial phagocytosis of extracellular Aβ plaques and suppression of neuroinflammation. Furthermore, mitophagy abolishes AD-related Tau hyperphosphorylation in human neuronal cells and reverses memory impairment in transgenic Tau nematodes. Our findings suggest that impaired removal of defective mitochondria is a pivotal event in AD pathogenesis. Interventions that stimulate mitophagy therefore have therapeutic potential in the prevention and treatment of AD. Overall design: APP/PS1 mice were treated with either vehicle (DMSO, N=7) or Urolithin A (UA, 200 mg/kg/day, N=6) by gavage from 6 months until 8 months of age, while wild-type (WT) littermates (N=6) were treated with vehicle in the same manner.
Project description:Mitochondrial dysfunction has been linked to myriad human diseases and toxicant exposures, highlighting the need for assays capable of rapidly assessing mitochondrial health in vivo. Here, using the Seahorse XFe24 Analyzer and the pharmacological inhibitors dicyclohexylcarbodiimide and oligomycin (ATP-synthase inhibitors), carbonyl cyanide 4-(trifluoromethoxy) phenylhydrazone (mitochondrial uncoupler) and sodium azide (cytochrome c oxidase inhibitor), we measured the fundamental parameters of mitochondrial respiratory chain function: basal oxygen consumption, ATP-linked respiration, maximal respiratory capacity, spare respiratory capacity and proton leak in the model organism Caenhorhabditis elegans. Since mutations in mitochondrial homeostasis genes cause mitochondrial dysfunction and have been linked to human disease, we measured mitochondrial respiratory function in mitochondrial fission (drp-1)-, fusion (fzo-1)-, mitophagy (pdr-1, pink-1)-, and electron transport chain complex III (isp-1)-deficient C. elegans. All showed altered function, but the nature of the alterations varied between the tested strains. We report increased basal oxygen consumption in drp-1; reduced maximal respiration in drp-1, fzo-1, and isp-1; reduced spare respiratory capacity in drp-1 and fzo-1; reduced proton leak in fzo-1 and isp-1; and increased proton leak in pink-1 nematodes. As mitochondrial morphology can play a role in mitochondrial energetics, we also quantified the mitochondrial aspect ratio for each mutant strain using a novel method, and for the first time report increased aspect ratios in pdr-1- and pink-1-deficient nematodes.
Project description:Mitochondrial dysfunction is considered as a critical mechanism in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). Increasing evidence supports the notion of mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs) in mitochondrial dysfunction; yet little is known about the role of MAMs-related proteins in the pathogenesis of PD. Herein we exposed the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to 0.5-10.0??M rotenone (RO) or 0.2-1.6?mM paraquat (PQ) for 3?days. Our results showed that both RO and PQ induced similar Parkinsonism including motor deficits and dopaminergic degeneration. RO/PQ caused mitochondrial damages characterized by the increase of vacuole areas and autophagy vesicles, but the decrease of mitochondrial cristae. RO/PQ-impacted mitochondrial function was also demonstrated by the decrease of ATP level and mitochondrial membrane potential. Additionally, the attachment or surrounding of endoplasmic reticulum to the damaged mitochondria indicates ultrastructural alterations in MAMs. Using fluorescently labeled transgenic nematodes, we further found that the expression of tomm-7 and genes of Complex I, II and III was reduced, whereas the expression of pink-1 was increased in the exposed animals. To determine MAMs in toxicity toward PD, we investigated the mutants of hop-1 and pink-1, encoding presenilin and PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1) in mitochondria-associated membranes, respectively. Results demonstrated that the mutation of both hop-1 and pink-1 reduced the vulnerability of lethal, behavioral, and mitochondrial toxicity induced by RO/PQ. These findings suggest that presenilin and PINK1 play important roles in the RO/PQ-induced neurotoxicity through the mechanisms involved in mitochondria-associated membranes.
Project description:PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1), which is associated with early onset Parkinson disease, encodes a serine-threonine kinase that is critical for maintaining mitochondrial function. Moreover, another Parkinson disease-linked gene, parkin, functions downstream of PINK1 in protecting mitochondria and dopaminergic (DA) neuron. In our fly genetic screening, knockdown of Sir2 blocked PINK1 overexpression-induced phenotypes. Consistently, ectopic expression of Sir2 successfully rescued mitochondrial defects in PINK1 null mutants, but unexpectedly, failed in parkin mutants. In further genetic analyses, deletion of FOXO nullified the Sir2-induced mitochondrial restoration in PINK1 null mutants. Moreover, overexpression of FOXO or its downstream target gene such as SOD2 or Thor markedly ameliorated PINK1 loss-of-function defects, suggesting that FOXO mediates the mitochondrial protecting signal induced by Sir2. Consistent with its mitochondria-protecting role, Sir2 expression prevented the DA neuron loss of PINK1 null mutants in a FOXO-dependent manner. Loss of Sir2 or FOXO induced DA neuron degeneration, which is very similar to that of PINK1 null mutants. Furthermore, PINK1 deletion had no deleterious effect on the DA neuron loss in Sir2 or FOXO mutants, supporting the idea that Sir2, FOXO, and PINK1 protect DA neuron in a common pathway. Overall, these results strongly support the role of Sir2 and FOXO in preventing mitochondrial dysfunction and DA neuron loss, further suggesting that Sir2 and FOXO function downstream of PINK1 and independently of Parkin.
Project description:A primary cilium is an antenna-like structure on the cell surface that plays a crucial role in sensory perception and signal transduction. Mitochondria, the 'powerhouse' of the cell, control cell survival, and death. The cellular ability to remove dysfunctional mitochondria through mitophagy is important for cell survival. We show here that mitochondrial stress, caused by respiratory complex inhibitors and excessive fission, robustly stimulates ciliogenesis in different types of cells including neuronal cells. Mitochondrial stress-induced ciliogenesis is mediated by mitochondrial reactive oxygen species generation, subsequent activation of AMP-activated protein kinase and autophagy. Conversely, abrogation of ciliogenesis compromises mitochondrial stress-induced autophagy, leading to enhanced cell death. In mice, treatment with mitochondrial toxin, MPTP elicits ciliary elongation and autophagy in the substantia nigra dopamine neurons. Blockade of cilia formation in these neurons attenuates MPTP-induced autophagy but facilitates dopamine neuronal loss and motor disability. Our findings demonstrate the important role of primary cilia in cellular pro-survival responses during mitochondrial stress.
Project description:Dietary supplementation of flavonoids has been shown to reduce the severity of neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease by their antioxidant effects. However, their low bioavailability<i>in vivo</i> raises the question of how much their antioxidant capacity actually contributes to the mitigating effects. The physicochemical properties of flavonoids suggest they could function as mitochondrial uncouplers. Moreover, mitochondrial uncoupling alleviated neurodegeneration in <i>Caenorhabditis elegans</i> during aging in previous research. Therefore, we investigated whether various flavonoids (fisetin, quercetin, apigenin, chrysin, catechin, and naringenin) could reduce neuronal defects by mitochondrial uncoupling in <i>C. elegans</i>. Both neuronal defects and mitochondrial membrane potential were reduced in aged worms in nearly all of the flavonoid treatments suggesting that flavonoids may reduce neurodegeneration in <i>C. elegans</i>. However, there was no significant reduction of neuronal defects in mitophagy-deficient <i>pink-1/pdr-1</i> double mutants under flavonoid treatments. These results suggest that flavonoids could function as mitochondrial uncouplers to mitigate neurodegeneration in aged <i>C. elegans</i>, possibly via a PINK1/Parkin mitophagy process.
Project description:Accumulation of damaged mitochondria is a hallmark of aging and age-related neurodegeneration, including Alzheimer's disease (AD). The molecular mechanisms of impaired mitochondrial homeostasis in AD are being investigated. Here we provide evidence that mitophagy is impaired in the hippocampus of AD patients, in induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human AD neurons, and in animal AD models. In both amyloid-? (A?) and tau Caenorhabditis elegans models of AD, mitophagy stimulation (through NAD+ supplementation, urolithin A, and actinonin) reverses memory impairment through PINK-1 (PTEN-induced kinase-1)-, PDR-1 (Parkinson's disease-related-1; parkin)-, or DCT-1 (DAF-16/FOXO-controlled germline-tumor affecting-1)-dependent pathways. Mitophagy diminishes insoluble A?1-42 and A?1-40 and prevents cognitive impairment in an APP/PS1 mouse model through microglial phagocytosis of extracellular A? plaques and suppression of neuroinflammation. Mitophagy enhancement abolishes AD-related tau hyperphosphorylation in human neuronal cells and reverses memory impairment in transgenic tau nematodes and mice. Our findings suggest that impaired removal of defective mitochondria is a pivotal event in AD pathogenesis and that mitophagy represents a potential therapeutic intervention.