MFN2 agonists reverse mitochondrial defects in preclinical models of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A.
ABSTRACT: Mitofusins (MFNs) promote fusion-mediated mitochondrial content exchange and subcellular trafficking. Mutations in Mfn2 cause neurodegenerative Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A (CMT2A). We showed that MFN2 activity can be determined by Met376 and His380 interactions with Asp725 and Leu727 and controlled by PINK1 kinase-mediated phosphorylation of adjacent MFN2 Ser378 Small-molecule mimics of the peptide-peptide interface of MFN2 disrupted this interaction, allosterically activating MFN2 and promoting mitochondrial fusion. These first-in-class mitofusin agonists overcame dominant mitochondrial defects provoked in cultured neurons by CMT2A mutants MFN2 Arg94?Gln94 and MFN2 Thr105?Met105, as demonstrated by amelioration of mitochondrial dysmotility, fragmentation, depolarization, and clumping. A mitofusin agonist normalized axonal mitochondrial trafficking within sciatic nerves of MFN2 Thr105?Met105 mice, promising a therapeutic approach for CMT2A and other untreatable diseases of impaired neuronal mitochondrial dynamism and/or trafficking.
Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A (CMT2A) is caused by mutations in the gene MFN2 and is one of the most common inherited peripheral neuropathies. Mfn2 is one of two mammalian mitofusin GTPases that promote mitochondrial fusion and maintain organelle integrity. It is not known how mitofusin mutations cause axonal degeneration and CMT2A disease. We used the conserved yeast mitofusin FZO1 to study the molecular consequences of CMT2A mutations on Fzo1 function in vivo and in vitro. One mutation (analogous to the CMT2A I213T substitution in the GTPase domain of Mfn2) not only abolishes GTP hydrolysis and mitochondrial membrane fusion but also reduces Mdm30-mediated ubiquitylation and degradation of the mutant protein. Importantly, complexes of wild type and the mutant Fzo1 protein are GTPase active and restore ubiquitylation and degradation of the latter. These studies identify diverse and unexpected effects of CMT2A mutations, including a possible role for mitofusin ubiquitylation and degradation in CMT2A pathogenesis, and provide evidence for a novel link between Fzo1 GTP hydrolysis, ubiquitylation, and mitochondrial fusion.
Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A (CMT2A) is an untreatable childhood peripheral neuropathy caused by mutations of the mitochondrial fusion protein, mitofusin (MFN) 2. Here, pharmacological activation of endogenous normal mitofusins overcame dominant inhibitory effects of CMT2A mutants in reprogrammed human patient motor neurons, reversing hallmark mitochondrial stasis and fragmentation independent of causal MFN2 mutation. In mice expressing human MFN2 T105M, intermittent mitofusin activation with a small molecule, MiM111, normalized CMT2A neuromuscular dysfunction, reversed pre-treatment axon and skeletal myocyte atrophy, and enhanced axon regrowth by increasing mitochondrial transport within peripheral axons and promoting in vivo mitochondrial localization to neuromuscular junctional synapses. MiM111-treated MFN2 T105M mouse neurons exhibited accelerated primary outgrowth and greater post-axotomy regrowth, linked to enhanced mitochondrial motility. MiM111 is the first pre-clinical candidate for CMT2A.
Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) is a group of inherited peripheral neuropathies. To date, mutations in >80 genes are reportedly associated with CMT. Protein mitofusin 2 encoded by MFN2 serves an essential role in mitochondrial fusion and regulation of apoptosis, which has previously been reported to be highly associated with an axonal form of neuropathy (CMT2A). In the present study, a large Chinese family with severe CMT was reported and a genetic analysis of the disease was performed. A detailed physical examination for CMT was performed in 13 family members and electrophysiological examinations were performed in 3 affected family members. Whole-exome sequencing was performed on the proband, and the suspected variants were identified by Sanger sequencing. The pathogenicity of mutation was verified by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis in the family followed by a bioinformatics analysis. A novel c.1190G>C; p.(R397P) mutation in the MFN2 gene was identified in the proband, and co-segregated between genotype and phenotype in the family. The substituted amino acid changed the hydrophobicity and charge characteristics of the mitofusin 2 coiled-coiled domain; thus it may affect its biological function. In summary, a novel pathogenic mutation was identified in a Chinese family with CMT, which expands the phenotypic and mutational spectrum of CMT2A, and provides evidence for prenatal interventions and more precise pharmacological treatments to this family.
Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) type 2A is a form of peripheral neuropathy, due almost exclusively to dominant mutations in the nuclear gene encoding the mitochondrial protein mitofusin-2 (MFN2). However, there is no understanding of the relationship of clinical phenotype to genotype. MFN2 has two functions: it promotes inter-mitochondrial fusion and mediates endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-mitochondrial tethering at mitochondria-associated ER membranes (MAM). MAM regulates a number of key cellular functions, including lipid and calcium homeostasis, and mitochondrial behavior. To date, no studies have been performed to address whether mutations in MFN2 in CMT2A patient cells affect MAM function, which might provide insight into pathogenesis. Using fibroblasts from three CMT2AMFN2 patients with different mutations in MFN2, we found that some, but not all, examined aspects of ER-mitochondrial connectivity and of MAM function were indeed altered, and correlated with disease severity. Notably, however, respiratory chain function in those cells was unimpaired. Our results suggest that CMT2AMFN2 is a MAM-related disorder but is not a respiratory chain-deficiency disease. The alterations in MAM function described here could also provide insight into the pathogenesis of other forms of CMT.
Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth Type 2A is a dominantly inherited peripheral neuropathy characterized by axonal degeneration of sensory and motor nerves. The disease is caused by mutations in the mitochondrial fusion gene MFN2. Mfn2 is an integral outer mitochondrial membrane protein composed of a large GTPase domain and two heptad repeat (HR) domains that face the cytoplasm. Mitochondrial membrane fusion and division are balanced processes that are necessary to maintain tubular mitochondrial morphology, respiratory function, and uniform distribution of the organelle throughout the cell. We have utilized primary fibroblasts from CMT2A patients to survey mitochondrial phenotypes associated with heterozygous MFN2 alleles expressed at physiological levels. Our results indicate that, in fibroblasts, mitofusin expression, mitochondrial morphology, ultrastructure, mtDNA content, and respiratory capacity are not affected by the presence of mutant Mfn2 protein. Consistent with a lack of mitochondrial dysfunction, we also show that mitochondrial fusion occurs efficiently in CMT2A patient-derived fibroblasts. Our observations are in agreement with the neuronal specificity of the disease and are consistent with a recent finding that mitochondrial fusion can be maintained in cells that express mutant Mfn2 protein due to complementation by a second mitofusin, Mfn1. We discuss our results and those of others in terms of a comprehensive model for the mechanism(s) by which mutations in MFN2 may lead to CMT2A disease.
Project description:Mfn2, an oligomeric mitochondrial protein important for mitochondrial fusion, is mutated in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) type 2A, a peripheral neuropathy characterized by axonal degeneration. In addition to homooligomeric complexes, Mfn2 also associates with Mfn1, but the functional significance of such heterooligomeric complexes is unknown. Also unknown is why Mfn2 mutations in CMT2A lead to cell type-specific defects given the widespread expression of Mfn2. In this study, we show that homooligomeric complexes formed by many Mfn2 disease mutants are nonfunctional for mitochondrial fusion. However, wild-type Mfn1 complements mutant Mfn2 through the formation of heterooligomeric complexes, including complexes that form in trans between mitochondria. Wild-type Mfn2 cannot complement the disease alleles. Our results highlight the functional importance of Mfn1-Mfn2 heterooligomeric complexes and the close interplay between the two mitofusins in the control of mitochondrial fusion. Furthermore, they suggest that tissues with low Mfn1 expression are vulnerable in CMT2A and that methods to increase Mfn1 expression in the peripheral nervous system would benefit CMT2A patients.
Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A (CMT2A) is an autosomal dominant axonal peripheral neuropathy caused by mutations in the mitofusin 2 gene (MFN2). Mitofusin 2 is a GTPase protein present in the outer mitochondrial membrane and responsible for regulation of mitochondrial network architecture via the fusion of mitochondria. As that fusion process is known to be strongly dependent on the GTPase activity of mitofusin 2, it is postulated that the MFN2 mutation within the GTPase domain may lead to impaired GTPase activity, and in turn to mitochondrial dysfunction. The work described here has therefore sought to verify the effects of MFN2 mutation within its GTPase domain on mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum morphology, as well as the mtDNA content in a cultured primary fibroblast obtained from a CMT2A patient harboring a de novo Arg274Trp mutation. In fact, all the parameters studied were affected significantly by the presence of the mutant MFN2 protein. However, using the stable model for mitofusin 2 obtained by us, we were next able to determine that the Arg274Trp mutation does not impact directly upon GTP binding. Such results were also confirmed for GTP-hydrolysis activity of MFN2 protein in patient fibroblast. We therefore suggest that the biological malfunctions observable with the disease are not consequences of impaired GTPase activity, but rather reflect an impaired contribution of the GTPase domain to other MFN2 activities involving that region, for example protein-protein interactions.
Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) constitutes a group of heterogeneous hereditary motor and sensor neuropathies. Mutations in mitofusin-2 (MFN2) cause CMT type 2A by altering mitochondrial fusion and trafficking along with the axonal microtubule system. In literature patients presenting with CMT2A are reported as having a subacute onset of optic atrophy associated with central scotoma and color vision defects. We report on the clinical and genetic findings in a 40 years-old Caucasian woman presenting with CMT type 2A and MFN2 mutation (c.2258duplT/p.Leu753fs) who presented bilateral progressive optic atrophy with bilateral severe concentric narrowing of the visual field but normal visual acuity and color vision. This is the first report that describes such phenotypical manifestation of an MFN2 mutation suggesting that the molecular mechanisms underlying the mitofusin-2 function alteration at optic nerve need to be investigated further.
Project description:Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2A (CMT2A) is caused by dominant alleles of the mitochondrial pro-fusion factor Mitofusin 2 (MFN2). To address the consequences of these mutations on mitofusin activity and neuronal function, we generate Drosophila models expressing in neurons the two most frequent substitutions (R94Q and R364W, the latter never studied before) and two others localizing to similar domains (T105M and L76P). All alleles trigger locomotor deficits associated with mitochondrial depletion at neuromuscular junctions, decreased oxidative metabolism and increased mtDNA mutations, but they differently alter mitochondrial morphology and organization. Substitutions near or within the GTPase domain (R94Q, T105M) result in loss of function and provoke aggregation of unfused mitochondria. In contrast, mutations within helix bundle 1 (R364W, L76P) enhance mitochondrial fusion, as demonstrated by the rescue of mitochondrial alterations and locomotor deficits by over-expression of the fission factor DRP1. In conclusion, we show that both dominant negative and dominant active forms of mitofusin can cause CMT2A-associated defects and propose for the first time that excessive mitochondrial fusion drives CMT2A pathogenesis in a large number of patients.
Project description:Mitofusin-2 (MFN2) is a dynamin-like GTPase that plays a central role in regulating mitochondrial fusion and cell metabolism. Mutations in MFN2 cause the neurodegenerative disease Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2A (CMT2A). The molecular basis underlying the physiological and pathological relevance of MFN2 is unclear. Here, we present crystal structures of truncated human MFN2 in different nucleotide-loading states. Unlike other dynamin superfamily members including MFN1, MFN2 forms sustained dimers even after GTP hydrolysis via the GTPase domain (G) interface, which accounts for its high membrane-tethering efficiency. The biochemical discrepancy between human MFN2 and MFN1 largely derives from a primate-only single amino acid variance. MFN2 and MFN1 can form heterodimers via the G interface in a nucleotide-dependent manner. CMT2A-related mutations, mapping to different functional zones of MFN2, lead to changes in GTP hydrolysis and homo/hetero-association ability. Our study provides fundamental insight into how mitofusins mediate mitochondrial fusion and the ways their disruptions cause disease.