BBA - Bioenergetics (v.1787, #5)

The mitochondrial replicative DNA helicase is an essential cellular protein that shows high similarity with the bifunctional primase–helicase of bacteriophage T7, the gene 4 protein (T7 gp4). The N-terminal primase domain of T7 gp4 comprises seven conserved sequence motifs, I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and an RNA polymerase basic domain. The putative primase domain of metazoan mitochondrial DNA helicases has diverged from T7 gp4 and in particular, the primase domain of vertebrates lacks motif I, which comprises a zinc binding domain. Interestingly, motif I is conserved in insect mtDNA helicases. Here, we evaluate the effects of overexpression in Drosophila cell culture of variants carrying mutations in conserved amino acids in the N-terminal region, including the zinc binding domain. Overexpression of alanine substitution mutants of conserved amino acids in motifs I, IV, V and VI and the RNA polymerase basic domain results in increased mtDNA copy number as is observed with overexpression of the wild type enzyme. In contrast, overexpression of three N-terminal mutants W282L, R301Q and P302L that are analogous to human autosomal dominant progressive external ophthalmoplegia mutations results in mitochondrial DNA depletion, and in the case of R301Q, a dominant negative cellular phenotype. Thus whereas our data suggest lack of a DNA primase activity in Drosophila mitochondrial DNA helicase, they show that specific N-terminal amino acid residues that map close to the central linker region likely play a physiological role in the C-terminal helicase function of the protein.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Mitochondrial DNA; Replisome; Primase; Helicase; Autosomal dominant progressive external ophthalmoplegia;

MTERF2 is a nucleoid component in mammalian mitochondria by Mina Pellegrini; Jorge Asin-Cayuela; Hediye Erdjument-Bromage; Paul Tempst; Nils-Goran Larsson; Claes M. Gustafsson (296-302).
The mammalian MTERF family of proteins has four members, named MTERF1 to MTERF4, which were identified in homology searches using the mitochondrial transcription termination factor, mTERF (here denoted MTERF1) as query. MTERF1 and MTERF3 are known to participate in the control of mitochondrial DNA transcription, but the function of the other two proteins is not known. We here investigate the structure and function of MTERF2. Protein import experiments using isolated organelles confirm that MTERF2 is a mitochondrial protein. Edman degradation of MTERF2 isolated from stably transfected HeLa cells demonstrates that mature MTERF2 lacks a targeting peptide (amino acids 1–35) present in the precursor form of the protein. MTERF2 is a monomer in isolation and displays a non sequence-specific DNA-binding activity. In vivo quantification experiments demonstrate that MTERF2 is relatively abundant, with one monomer present per ∼ 265 bp of mtDNA. In comparison, the mtDNA packaging factor TFAM is present at a ratio of one molecule per ∼ 10–12 bp of mtDNA. Using formaldehyde cross-linking we demonstrate that MTERF2 is present in nucleoids, and therefore must be located in close proximity to mtDNA. Taken together, our work provides a basic biochemical characterization of MTERF2, paving the way for future functional studies.
Keywords: Termination; Mitochondrion; Transcription; DNA replication; Nucleoid; MTERF;

The MTERF family proteins: Mitochondrial transcription regulators and beyond by Marina Roberti; Paola Loguercio Polosa; Francesco Bruni; Caterina Manzari; Stefania Deceglie; Maria Nicola Gadaleta; Palmiro Cantatore (303-311).
The MTERF family is a wide protein family, identified in Metazoa and plants, which consists of 4 subfamilies named MTERF1–4. Proteins belonging to this family are localized in mitochondria and show a modular architecture based on repetitions of a 30 amino acid module, the mTERF motif, containing leucine zipper-like heptads. The MTERF family includes the characterized transcription termination factors human mTERF, sea urchin mtDBP and Drosophila DmTTF. In vitro and in vivo studies show that these factors play different roles which are not restricted to transcription termination, but concern also transcription initiation and the control of mtDNA replication. The multiplicity of functions could be related to the differences in the gene organization of the mitochondrial genomes. Studies on the function of human and Drosophila MTERF3 factor showed that the protein acts as negative regulator of mitochondrial transcription, possibly in cooperation with other still unknown factors. The complete elucidation of the role of the MTERF family members will contribute to the unraveling of the molecular mechanisms of mtDNA transcription and replication.
Keywords: Mitochondrion; MTERF family; Transcription termination factor; mtDNA replication;

DNA polymerase γ is the only known DNA polymerase in human mitochondria and is essential for mitochondrial DNA replication and repair. It is well established that defects in mtDNA replication lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and disease. Over 160 coding variations in the gene encoding the catalytic subunit of DNA polymerase γ (POLG) have been identified. Our group and others have characterized a number of the more common and interesting mutations, as well as those disease mutations in the DNA polymerase γ accessory subunit. We review the results of these studies, which provide clues to the mechanisms leading to the disease state.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Mitochondrial disease; DNA polymerase gamma; Mitochondrial DNA replication; Oxidative stress;

Developing a genetic approach to investigate the mechanism of mitochondrial competence for DNA import by Frédérique Weber-Lotfi; Noha Ibrahim; Pierre Boesch; Anne Cosset; Yuri Konstantinov; Robert N. Lightowlers; André Dietrich (320-327).
Mitochondrial gene products are essential for the viability of eukaryote obligate aerobes. Consequently, mutations of the mitochondrial genome cause severe diseases in man and generate traits widely used in plant breeding. Pathogenic mutations can often be identified but direct genetic rescue remains impossible because mitochondrial transformation is still to be achieved in higher eukaryotes. Along this line, it has been shown that isolated plant and mammalian mitochondria are naturally competent for importing linear DNA. However, it has proven difficult to understand how such large polyanions cross the mitochondrial membranes. The genetic tractability of Saccharomyces cerevisae could be a powerful tool to unravel this molecular mechanism. Here we show that isolated S. cerevisiae mitochondria can import linear DNA in a process sharing similar characteristics to plant and mammalian mitochondria. Based on biochemical data, translocation through the outer membrane is believed to be mediated by voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) isoforms in higher eukaryotes. Both confirming this hypothesis and validating the yeast model, we illustrate that mitochondria from S. cerevisiae strains deleted for the VDAC-1 or VDAC-2 gene are severely compromised in DNA import. The prospect is now open to screen further mutant yeast strains to identify the elusive inner membrane DNA transporter.
Keywords: Mitochondrion; DNA import competence; Membrane transport; Yeast mutant; VDAC; Mitochondrial transfection;

In addition to its central role in cellular stress signaling, the tumor suppressor p53 modulates mitochondrial respiration through its nuclear transcription factor activity and localizes to mitochondria, where it enhances apoptosis and suppresses mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutagenesis. Here we demonstrate a new conserved role for p53 in mtDNA copy number maintenance and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) homeostasis. In mammals, mtDNA is present at thousands of copies per cell and is essential for normal development and cell function. We show that p53 null mouse and p53 knockdown human primary fibroblasts exhibit mtDNA depletion and decreased mitochondrial mass under normal culture growth conditions. This is accompanied by a reduction of the p53R2 subunit of ribonucleotide reductase mRNA and protein and of mitochondrial transcription factor A (mtTFA) at the protein level only. Finally, p53-depleted cells exhibit significant disruption of cellular ROS homeostasis, characterized by reduced mitochondrial and cellular superoxide levels and increased cellular hydrogen peroxide. Altogether, these results elucidate additional mitochondria-related functions for p53 and implicate mtDNA depletion and ROS alterations as potentially relevant to cellular transformation, cancer cell phenotypes, and the Warburg Effect.
Keywords: p53; mtDNA depletion; Reactive oxygen species; Mitochondrial transcription factor A; p53R2; Cancer;

Mitochondria, calcium and cell death: A deadly triad in neurodegeneration by Fulvio Celsi; Paola Pizzo; Marisa Brini; Sara Leo; Carmen Fotino; Paolo Pinton; Rosario Rizzuto (335-344).
Mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation is a tightly controlled process, in turn regulating functions as diverse as aerobic metabolism and induction of cell death. The link between Ca2+ (dys)regulation, mitochondria and cellular derangement is particularly evident in neurodegenerative disorders, in which genetic models and environmental factors allowed to identify common traits in the pathogenic routes. We will here summarize: i) the current view of mechanisms and functions of mitochondrial Ca2+ homeostasis, ii) the basic principles of organelle Ca2+ transport, iii) the role of Ca2+ in neuronal cell death, and iv) the new information on the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's diseases, highlighting the role of Ca2+ and mitochondria.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Calcium; Neurodegenerative disease; Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease; Huntington's disease;

Pathophysiology of mitochondrial volume homeostasis: Potassium transport and permeability transition by Karin Nowikovsky; Rudolf J. Schweyen; Paolo Bernardi (345-350).
Regulation of mitochondrial volume is a key issue in cellular pathophysiology. Mitochondrial volume and shape changes can occur following regulated fission–fusion events, which are modulated by a complex network of cytosolic and mitochondrial proteins; and through regulation of ion transport across the inner membrane. In this review we will cover mitochondrial volume homeostasis that depends on (i) monovalent cation transport across the inner membrane, a regulated process that couples electrophoretic K+ influx on K+ channels to K+ extrusion through the K+–H+ exchanger; (ii) the permeability transition, a loss of inner membrane permeability that may be instrumental in triggering cell death. Specific emphasis will be placed on molecular advances on the nature of the transport protein(s) involved, and/or on diseases that depend on mitochondrial volume dysregulation.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Potassium transport; Volume homeostasis; Permeability transition; Cyclosporin A;

Novel channels of the inner mitochondrial membrane by Mario Zoratti; Umberto De Marchi; Erich Gulbins; Ildikò Szabò (351-363).
Along with a large number of carriers, exchangers and “pumps”, the inner mitochondrial membrane contains ion-conducting channels which endow it with controlled permeability to small ions. Some have been shown to be the mitochondrial counterpart of channels present also in other cellular membranes. The manuscript summarizes the current state of knowledge on the major inner mitochondrial membrane channels, properties, identity and proposed functions. Considerable attention is currently being devoted to two K+-selective channels, mtKATP and mtBKCa. Their activation in “preconditioning” is considered by many to underlie the protection of myocytes and other cells against subsequent ischemic damage. We have recently shown that in apoptotic lymphocytes inner membrane mtKV1.3 interacts with the pro-apoptotic protein Bax after the latter has inserted into the outer mitochondrial membrane. Whether the just-discovered mtIKCa has similar cellular role(s) remains to be seen. The Ca2+ “uniporter” has been characterized electrophysiologically, but still awaits a molecular identity. Chloride-selective channels are represented by the 107 pS channel, the first mitochondrial channel to be observed by patch-clamp, and by a ∼ 400 pS pore we have recently been able to fully characterize in the inner membrane of mitochondria isolated from a colon tumour cell line. This we propose to represent a component of the Permeability Transition Pore. The available data exclude the previous tentative identification with porin, and indicate that it coincides instead with the still molecularly unidentified “maxi” chloride channel.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Channel; Inner membrane; Patch-clamp; Kv1.3; IKCa;

The mitochondrial adenine nucleotide translocators (Ant) are bi-functional proteins that transport ADP and ATP across the mitochondrial inner membrane, and regulate the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mtPTP) which initiates apoptosis. The mouse has three Ant isoforms: Ant1 expressed in heart, muscle, and brain; Ant2 expressed in all tissues but muscle; and Ant4 expressed primarily in testis. Ant1-deficient mice manifest muscle and heart but not brain pathology. Brain Ant1 is induced by stress, while Ant2 is not. Ant1-deficient mice are resistant to death induced by systemic exposure to the brain excitotoxin, kainic acid (KA), and their hippocampal and cortical neurons are significantly more resistant to neuronal death induced by glutamate, KA, and etoposide. The mitochondrial membrane potential of Ant1-deficient brain mitochondria is increased and the mtPTP is more resistance to Ca++ induced permeability transition. Hence, Ant1-deficiency may protect the brain from excitotoxicity by desensitizing the mtPTP and by blocking the pro-apoptotic induction of Ant1 by stress.
Keywords: Adenine nucleotide translocator; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial permeability transition; Excitotoxicity; Apoptosis;

Neurological phenotype and reduced lifespan in heterozygous Tim23 knockout mice, the first mouse model of defective mitochondrial import by Uwe Ahting; Thomas Floss; Nikolas Uez; Ilka Schneider-Lohmar; Lore Becker; Eva Kling; Arcangela Iuso; Andreas Bender; Martin Hrabé de Angelis; Valérie Gailus-Durner; Helmut Fuchs; Thomas Meitinger; Wolfgang Wurst; Holger Prokisch; Thomas Klopstock (371-376).
The Tim23 protein is the key component of the mitochondrial import machinery. It locates to the inner mitochondrial membrane and its own import is dependent on the DDP1/TIM13 complex. Mutations in human DDP1 cause the Mohr-Tranebjaerg syndrome (MTS/DFN-1; OMIM #304700), which is one of the two known human diseases of the mitochondrial protein import machinery. We created a Tim23 knockout mouse from a gene trap embryonic stem cell clone. Homozygous Tim23 mice were not viable. Heterozygous F1 mutants showed a 50% reduction of Tim23 protein in Western blot, a neurological phenotype and a markedly reduced life span. Haploinsufficiency of the Tim23 mutation underlines the critical role of the mitochondrial import machinery for maintaining mitochondrial function.
Keywords: Tim23 knockout mouse; DDP1; Mitochondrial import machinery;

In mammals the two proteins UCP2 and UCP3 are highly similar to the mitochondrial uncoupling protein found in the brown adipose tissue (UCP1). Accordingly, it was proposed that UCP2 and UCP3 are also uncoupling proteins i.e. protonophores with impact on mitochondrial ROS production and glucose signaling. However, it appears now impossible to explain the physiological relevance of the new UCPs uniquely by their uncoupling activity as observed in vitro. Therefore, we propose a metabolic hypothesis in which UCP2 acts through a transport distinct of the proton transport. A consequence of this transport activity would be a decrease of the mitochondrial oxidation of the pyruvate originating from glucose. This would put UCP2 and UCP3 in a crucial position to influence cellular metabolism. The tight control exerted on UCP2 expression appears consistent with it. In this hypothesis, UCP2/3 would allow a cell to remain glycolytic within an aerobic organism. This tallies with the high expression level of UCP2 or UCP3 in glycolytic cells. The metabolic hypothesis would explain the spectacular modifications associated with UCP2 manipulation as well as the uncoupling activity usually called for and which in fact remains elusive in vivo.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Glycolysis; Ischemia; Diabetes; Glutamine;

Differential effects of mitochondrial Complex I inhibitors on production of reactive oxygen species by Romana Fato; Christian Bergamini; Marco Bortolus; Anna Lisa Maniero; Serena Leoni; Tomoko Ohnishi; Giorgio Lenaz (384-392).
We have investigated the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by Complex I in isolated open bovine heart submitochondrial membrane fragments during forward electron transfer in presence of NADH, by means of the probe 2′,7′-Dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate. ROS production by Complex I is strictly related to its inhibited state. Our results indicate that different Complex I inhibitors can be grouped into two classes: Class A inhibitors (Rotenone, Piericidin A and Rolliniastatin 1 and 2) increase ROS production; Class B inhibitors (Stigmatellin, Mucidin, Capsaicin and Coenzyme Q2) prevent ROS production also in the presence of Class A inhibitors. Addition of the hydrophilic Coenzyme Q1 as an electron acceptor potentiates the effect of Rotenone-like inhibitors in increasing ROS production, but has no effect in the presence of Stigmatellin-like inhibitors; the effect is not shared by more hydrophobic quinones such as decyl-ubiquinone. This behaviour relates the prooxidant CoQ1 activity to a hydrophilic electron escape site. Moreover the two classes of Complex I inhibitors have an opposite effect on the increase of NADH–DCIP reduction induced by short chain quinones: only Class B inhibitors allow this increase, indicating the presence of a Rotenone-sensitive but Stigmatellin-insensitive semiquinone species in the active site of the enzyme. The presence of this semiquinone was also suggested by preliminary EPR data. The results suggest that electron transfer from the iron–sulphur clusters (N2) to Coenzyme Q occurs in two steps gated by two different conformations, the former being sensitive to Rotenone and the latter to Stigmatellin.
Keywords: Complex I inhibitor; Reactive oxygen species; Iron–sulphur cluster; 2′,7′-Dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate;

IF1, the endogenous regulator of the F1Fo-ATPsynthase, defines mitochondrial volume fraction in HeLa cells by regulating autophagy by Michelangelo Campanella; Andreas Seraphim; Rosella Abeti; Edward Casswell; Pedro Echave; Michael R. Duchen (393-401).
The protein IF1 limits mitochondrial ATP consumption when mitochondrial respiration is impaired by inhibiting the ‘reverse’ activity of the F1Fo-ATPsynthase. We have found that IF1 also increases F1Fo-ATPsynthase activity in respiring mitochondria, promoting its dimerization and increasing the density of mitochondrial cristae. We also noted that IF1 overexpression was associated with an increase in mitochondrial volume fraction that was conversely reduced when IF1 was knocked down using small interfering RNA (siRNA). The volume change did not correlate with the level of transcription factors involved in mitochondrial biogenesis. However, autophagy was dramatically increased in the IF1siRNA treated cells (−IF1), assessed by quantifying LC3-GFP translocation to autophagosomes, whilst levels of autophagy were low in IF1 overexpressing cells (+IF1). The increase in LC3-GFP labelled autophagosomes in −IF1 cells was prevented by the superoxide dismutase mimetic, manganese (III) tetrakis (4-benzoic acid) porphyrin (MnTBAP). An increase in the basal rate of generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in −IF1 cells was demonstrated using the fluorescent probe dihydroethidium (DHE). Thus, IF1 appears to limit mitochondrial ROS generation, limiting autophagy which is increased by IF1 knockdown. Variations in IF1 expression level may therefore play a significant role in defining both resting rates of ROS generation and cellular mitochondrial content.
Keywords: IF1; Mitochondria; Autophagy; ROS; F1Fo-ATPsynthase;

Targeting post-mitochondrial effectors of apoptosis for neuroprotection by Lorenzo Galluzzi; Eugenia Morselli; Oliver Kepp; Guido Kroemer (402-413).
Mitochondrial membrane permeabilization (MMP) is commonly regarded as the “point-of-no-return” in the cascade of events that delineate the intrinsic pathway of apoptosis. MMP leads to the functional impairment of mitochondria and to the release into the cytosol of toxic proteins that are normally confined within the mitochondrial intermembrane space. These include direct activators of caspases and caspase-independent effectors of the cell death program. MMP has been implicated in a plethora of pathophysiological settings. In particular, MMP contributes to both the immediate and delayed phases of cell loss that follow acute neuronal injury by ischemia/reperfusion or trauma. Although preventing MMP a priori would be the most desirable therapeutic choice, prophylactic interventions are rarely (if ever) achievable in the treatment of stroke and trauma patients. Conversely, interventions that block the post-mitochondrial phase of apoptosis (if administered within the first few hours after the accident) hold great promises for the development of novel neuroprotective strategies. In animal models of acute neuronal injury, the inhibition of caspases, apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and other apoptotic effectors can confer significant neuroprotection. Our review recapitulates the results of these studies and proposes novel strategies of inhibiting post-mitochondrial apoptosis in neurons.
Keywords: Apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF); Caspases; Endonuclease G (EndoG); Ischemia; Omi/HtrA2; Permeability transition pore complex (PTPC); Smac/Diablo;

The mitochondrial p53 pathway by Angelina V. Vaseva; Ute M. Moll (414-420).
p53 is one of the most mutated tumor suppressors in human cancers and as such has been intensively studied for a long time. p53 is a major orchestrator of the cellular response to a broad array of stress types by regulating apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, senescence, DNA repair and genetic stability. For a long time it was thought that these functions of p53 solely rely on its function as a transcription factor, and numerous p53 target genes have been identified [1]. In the last 8 years however, a novel transcription-independent proapoptotic function mediated by the cytoplasmic pool of p53 has been revealed. p53 participates directly in the intrinsic apoptosis pathway by interacting with the multidomain members of the Bcl-2 family to induce mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization. Our review will discuss these studies, focusing on recent advances in the field.
Keywords: p53; Mitochondria; Apoptosis; Transcription; Bcl-2 family; Pathophysiology; Radiosensitivity; Ischemia;

Key regions of VDAC1 functioning in apoptosis induction and regulation by hexokinase by Varda Shoshan-Barmatz; Miri Zakar; Keshet Rosenthal; Salah Abu-Hamad (421-430).
The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), located in the mitochondrial outer membrane, functions as gatekeeper for the entry and exit of mitochondrial metabolites, and thus controls cross-talk between mitochondria and the cytosol. VDAC also serves as a site for the docking of cytosolic proteins, such as hexokinase, and is recognized as a key protein in mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. The role of VDAC in apoptosis has emerged from various studies showing its involvement in cytochrome c release and apoptotic cell death as well as its interaction with proteins regulating apoptosis, including the mitochondria-bound isoforms of hexokinase (HK-I, HK-II). Recently, the functional HK–VDAC association has shifted from being considered in a predominantly metabolic light to the recognition of its major impact on the regulation of apoptotic responsiveness of the cell. Here, we demonstrate that the HK–VDAC1 interaction can be disrupted by mutating VDAC1 and by VDAC1-based peptides, consequently leading to diminished HK anti-apoptotic activity, suggesting that disruption of HK binding to VDAC1 can decrease tumor cell survival. Indeed, understanding structure–function relationships of VDAC is critical for deciphering how this channel can perform such a variety of differing functions, all important for cell life and death. By expressing VDAC1 mutants and VDAC1-based peptides, we have identified VDAC1 amino acid residues and domains important for interaction with HK and protection against apoptosis. These include negatively- and positively-charged residues, some of which are located within β-strands of the protein. The N-terminal region of VDAC1 binds HK-I and prevents HK-mediated protection against apoptosis induced by STS, while expression of a VDAC N-terminal peptide detaches HK-I-GFP from mitochondria. These findings indicate that the interaction of HK with VDAC1 involves charged residues in several β-strands and in the N-terminal domain. Displacing HK, serving as the ‘guardian of the mitochondrion’, from its binding site on VDAC1 may thus be exploited as an approach to cancer therapy.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Clotrimazol; Hexokinase; Mitochondria; Peptide; VDAC;

The central role of mitochondria in basic physiological processes has rendered this organelle a receiver and integrator of multiple regulatory signals. Steroid and thyroid hormones are major modulators of mitochondrial functions and the question arises as to how these molecules act at the molecular level. The detection in mitochondria of steroid and thyroid hormone receptors suggested their direct action on mitochondrial functions within the context of the organelle. The interaction of the receptors with regulatory elements of the mitochondrial genome and the activation of gene transcription underlies the hormonal stimulation of energy yield. Glucocorticoid activation of hepatocyte RNA synthesis is one of the experimental models exploited in this respect. Furthermore, the interaction of the receptors with apoptotic/antiapoptotic factors is possibly associated with the survival-death effects of the hormones. In addition to the steroid/thyroid hormone receptors, several other receptors belonging to the superfamily of nuclear receptors, as well as transcription factors with well defined nuclear actions, have been found in mitochondria. How these molecules act and interact and how they can affect the broad spectrum of mitochondrial functions is an emerging exciting field.
Keywords: Nuclear receptor; Transcription factor; Mitochondrial transcription; Mitochondrial DNA; Apoptosis; Hormone;

An attempt to prevent senescence: A mitochondrial approach by Vladimir P. Skulachev; Vladimir N. Anisimov; Yuri N. Antonenko; Lora E. Bakeeva; Boris V. Chernyak; Valery P. Erichev; Oleg F. Filenko; Natalya I. Kalinina; Valery I. Kapelko; Natalya G. Kolosova; Boris P. Kopnin; Galina A. Korshunova; Mikhail R. Lichinitser; Lidia A. Obukhova; Elena G. Pasyukova; Oleg I. Pisarenko; Vitaly A. Roginsky; Enno K. Ruuge; Ivan I. Senin; Inna I. Severina; Maxim V. Skulachev; Irina M. Spivak; Vadim N. Tashlitsky; Vsevolod A. Tkachuk; Mikhail Yu. Vyssokikh; Lev S. Yaguzhinsky; Dmitry B. Zorov (437-461).
Antioxidants specifically addressed to mitochondria have been studied to determine if they can decelerate senescence of organisms. For this purpose, a project has been established with participation of several research groups from Russia and some other countries. This paper summarizes the first results of the project. A new type of compounds (SkQs) comprising plastoquinone (an antioxidant moiety), a penetrating cation, and a decane or pentane linker has been synthesized. Using planar bilayer phospholipid membrane (BLM), we selected SkQ derivatives with the highest permeability, namely plastoquinonyl-decyl-triphenylphosphonium (SkQ1), plastoquinonyl-decyl-rhodamine 19 (SkQR1), and methylplastoquinonyldecyltriphenylphosphonium (SkQ3). Anti- and prooxidant properties of these substances and also of ubiquinonyl-decyl-triphenylphosphonium (MitoQ) were tested in aqueous solution, detergent micelles, liposomes, BLM, isolated mitochondria, and cell cultures. In mitochondria, micromolar cationic quinone derivatives were found to be prooxidants, but at lower (sub-micromolar) concentrations they displayed antioxidant activity that decreases in the series SkQ1 = SkQR1 > SkQ3 > MitoQ. SkQ1 was reduced by mitochondrial respiratory chain, i.e. it is a rechargeable antioxidant. Nanomolar SkQ1 specifically prevented oxidation of mitochondrial cardiolipin. In cell cultures, SkQR1, a fluorescent SkQ derivative, stained only one type of organelles, namely mitochondria. Extremely low concentrations of SkQ1 or SkQR1 arrested H2O2-induced apoptosis in human fibroblasts and HeLa cells. Higher concentrations of SkQ are required to block necrosis initiated by reactive oxygen species (ROS). In the fungus Podospora anserina, the crustacean Ceriodaphnia affinis, Drosophila, and mice, SkQ1 prolonged lifespan, being especially effective at early and middle stages of aging. In mammals, the effect of SkQs on aging was accompanied by inhibition of development of such age-related diseases and traits as cataract, retinopathy, glaucoma, balding, canities, osteoporosis, involution of the thymus, hypothermia, torpor, peroxidation of lipids and proteins, etc. SkQ1 manifested a strong therapeutic action on some already pronounced retinopathies, in particular, congenital retinal dysplasia. With drops containing 250 nM SkQ1, vision was restored to 67 of 89 animals (dogs, cats, and horses) that became blind because of a retinopathy. Instillation of SkQ1-containing drops prevented the loss of sight in rabbits with experimental uveitis and restored vision to animals that had already become blind. A favorable effect of the same drops was also achieved in experimental glaucoma in rabbits. Moreover, the SkQ1 pretreatment of rats significantly decreased the H2O2 or ischemia-induced arrhythmia of the isolated heart. SkQs strongly reduced the damaged area in myocardial infarction or stroke and prevented the death of animals from kidney ischemia. In p53−/− mice, 5 nmol/kg × day SkQ1 decreased the ROS level in the spleen and inhibited appearance of lymphomas to the same degree as million-fold higher concentration of conventional antioxidant NAC. Thus, SkQs look promising as potential tools for treatment of senescence and age-related diseases.
Keywords: Aging; Senescence; Mitochondria; Reactive oxygen specie; SkQ; Antioxidant;

mitoEnergetics and cancer cell fate by Zhi Xiong Chen; Rathiga Velaithan; Shazib Pervaiz (462-467).
The critical role of mitochondria in cell fate decisions has been well documented over the years. These observations have highlighted the way mitochondrial physiology controls cell survival and growth in the normal settings, the critical role of mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization and altered mitoenergetics in cell death execution, and most importantly the association of altered mitochondrial metabolism with pathological states, in particular cancer. Reprogramming of cell metabolism, an invariable finding in cancer cells, is tightly linked to mitoenergetics as is evidenced by up-regulation of nutrient uptake and a pro-oxidant tilt in the intracellular milieu. The latter has also been demonstrated in oncogene-induced carcinogenesis models, notably as a functional outcome of Bcl-2 overexpression. Interestingly, even in that model, mitochondria appear to be the target as well. Thus the association of metabolic re-circuiting and altered mitoenergetics with the process of transformation has resulted in a paradigm shift in the way cancer development and progression is viewed today, which has tremendous implications for the development of novel and strategic therapeutic modalities.
Keywords: Bcl-2; Cytochrome c oxidase; Oxidative phosphorylation; ROS; Mitochondrial respiration; Superoxide;

In animals, the impact of ROS production by mitochondria on cell physiology, death, disease and ageing is well recognised. In photosynthetic organisms such as higher plants, however, the chloroplast and peroxisomes are the major sources of ROS during normal metabolism and the importance of mitochondria in oxidative stress and redox signalling is less well established. To address this, the in vivo oxidation state of a mitochondrially-targeted redox-sensitive GFP (mt-roGFP2) was investigated in Arabidopsis leaves. Classical ROS-generating inhibitors of mitochondrial electron transport (rotenone, antimycin A and SHAM) had no effect on mt-roGFP oxidation when used singly, but combined inhibition of complex III and alternative oxidase by antimycin A and SHAM did cause significant oxidation. Inhibitors of complex IV and aconitase also caused oxidation of mt-roGFP2. This oxidation was not apparent in the cytosol whereas antimycin A + SHAM also caused oxidation of cytosolic roGFP2. Menadione had a much greater effect than the inhibitors, causing nearly complete oxidation of roGFP2 in both mitochondria and cytosol. A range of severe abiotic stress treatments (heat, salt, and heavy metal stress) led to oxidation of mt-roGFP2 while hyperosmotic stress had no effect and low temperature caused a slight but significant decrease in oxidation. Similar changes were observed for cytosolic roGFP2. Finally, the recovery of oxidation state of roGFP in mitochondria after oxidation by H2O2 treatment was dramatically slower than that of either the cytosol or chloroplast. Together, the results highlight the sensitivity of the mitochondrion to redox perturbation and suggest a potential role in sensing and signalling cellular redox challenge.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Redox; roGFP; Oxidative stress; Glutathione;

20 years of human mtDNA pathologic point mutations: Carefully reading the pathogenicity criteria by Julio Montoya; Ester López-Gallardo; Carmen Díez-Sánchez; Manuel J. López-Pérez; Eduardo Ruiz-Pesini (476-483).
Despite the strong purifying selection that occurs during embryonic development, the particular location and features of mitochondrial DNA make it especially susceptible to accumulating point mutations, giving rise to a large number of mitochondrial DNA variants. Many of these will have moderate or no phenotypic effects but others will be the cause of very dramatic diseases, usually known as mitochondriopathies. Because of the abundance of different mitochondrial DNA variants, it is not easy to determine whether a new mutation is pathogenic. To facilitate this task, different criteria have been proposed, but they are often either too severely or too loosely applied. Citing examples from the literature, in this paper we discuss some critical aspects of these criteria.
Keywords: Mitochondrial DNA disease; Point mutation; Criteria for pathogenicity;

MtDNA mutations are a common cause of severe disease phenotypes in children with Leigh syndrome by Karin Naess; Christoph Freyer; Helene Bruhn; Rolf Wibom; Gunilla Malm; Inger Nennesmo; Ulrika von Döbeln; Nils-Göran Larsson (484-490).
Leigh syndrome is a common clinical manifestation in children with mitochondrial disease and other types of inborn errors of metabolism. We characterised clinical symptoms, prognosis, respiratory chain function and performed extensive genetic analysis of 25 Swedish children suffering from Leigh syndrome with the aim to obtain insights into the molecular pathophysiology and to provide a rationale for genetic counselling. We reviewed the clinical history of all patients and used muscle biopsies in order to perform molecular, biochemical and genetic investigations, including sequencing the entire mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the mitochondrial DNA polymerase (POLGA) gene and the surfeit locus protein 1 (SURF1) gene. Respiratory chain enzyme activity measurements identified five patients with isolated complex I deficiency and five with combined enzyme deficiencies. No patient presented with isolated complex IV deficiency. Seven patients had a decreased ATP production rate. Extensive sequence analysis identified eight patients with pathogenic mtDNA mutations and one patient with mutations in POLGA. Mutations of mtDNA are a common cause of LS and mtDNA analysis should always be included in the diagnosis of LS patients, whereas SURF1 mutations are not a common cause of LS in Sweden. Unexpectedly, age of onset, clinical symptoms and prognosis did not reveal any clear differences in LS patients with mtDNA or nuclear DNA mutations.
Keywords: Leigh syndrome; Encephalopathy; Mitochondrial disorder; Neurologic disease/disorder; Paediatric disease;

Identification of novel mutations in five patients with mitochondrial encephalomyopathy by Lucia Valente; Daniela Piga; Eleonora Lamantea; Franco Carrara; Graziella Uziel; Paola Cudia; Anna Zani; Laura Farina; Lucia Morandi; Marina Mora; Antonella Spinazzola; Massimo Zeviani; Valeria Tiranti (491-501).
MELAS, MERRF, LHON and NARP, are well-established mitochondrial syndromes associated with specific point mutations of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). However, these recurrent mtDNA mutations account for only a minority of mitochondrial disease cases. To evaluate the impact of novel mtDNA mutations, we performed mtDNA sequence analysis in muscle and other tissues of 240 patients with different mitochondrial neuromuscular syndromes. We identified a total of 33 subjects with novel, private or uncommon mutations. Among these, five novel mutations were found in both paediatric and adult cases. We here report on the clinical description of these patients, as well as the biochemical and molecular genetic characterization of the corresponding mutations. Patients 1 and 2 showed changes in ND genes, patient 3 carried a heteroplasmic deletion in the COI gene, patients 4 and 5 carried heteroplasmic mutations in tRNATrp and tRNAPhe, respectively. Altogether, these data indicate that mtDNA analysis must become part of the routine screening for mitochondrial disorders.
Keywords: Mitochondrial DNA; Respiratory chain complex deficiency; mtDNA Sequence analysis; mtDNA mutation;

Pathogenetic mechanisms in hereditary dysfunctions of complex I of the respiratory chain in neurological diseases by Sergio Papa; Vittoria Petruzzella; Salvatore Scacco; Anna Maria Sardanelli; Arcangela Iuso; Damiano Panelli; Rita Vitale; Raffaella Trentadue; Domenico De Rasmo; Nazzareno Capitanio; Claudia Piccoli; Francesco Papa; Michele Scivetti; Enrico Bertini; Teresa Rizza; Giuseppe De Michele (502-517).
This paper covers genetic and biochemical aspects of mitochondrial bioenergetics dysfunction in hereditary neurological disorders associated with complex I defects. Three types of hereditary complex I dysfunction are dealt with: (i) homozygous mutations in the nuclear genes NDUFS1 and NDUFS4 of complex I, associated with mitochondrial encephalopathy; (ii) a recessive hereditary epileptic neurological disorder associated with enhanced proteolytic degradation of complex I; (iii) homoplasmic mutations in the ND5 and ND6 mitochondrial genes of the complex, cohexistent with mutation in the nuclear PINK1 gene in familial Parkinsonism. The genetic and biochemical data examined highlight different mechanisms by which mitochondrial bioenergetics is altered in these hereditary defects of complex I. This knowledge, besides clarifying molecular aspects of the pathogenesis of hereditary diseases, can also provide hints for understanding the involvement of complex I in sporadic neurological disorders and aging, as well as for developing therapeutical strategies.
Keywords: Complex I; NDUFS4; NDUFS1; ROS balance; mtDNA mutation; Mitochondrial encephalopathy; PINK1; Familiar Parkinsonism; Chronic epilepsy;

Retinal ganglion cell neurodegeneration in mitochondrial inherited disorders by Valerio Carelli; Chiara La Morgia; Maria Lucia Valentino; Piero Barboni; Fred N. Ross-Cisneros; Alfredo A. Sadun (518-528).
Since the early days of mitochondrial medicine, it has been clear that optic atrophy is a very common and sometimes the singular pathological feature in mitochondrial disorders. The first point mutation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) associated with the maternally inherited blinding disorder, Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON), was recognized in 1988. In 2000, the other blinding disorder, dominant optic atrophy (DOA) Kjer type, was found associated with mutations in the nuclear gene OPA1 that encodes a mitochondrial protein. Besides these two non-syndromic optic neuropathies, optic atrophy is a prominent feature in many other neurodegenerative diseases that are now recognized as due to primary mitochondrial dysfunction.We will consider mtDNA based syndromes such as LHON/dystonia/Mitochondrial Encephalomyopahty Lactic Acidosis Stroke-like (MELAS)/Leigh overlapping syndrome, or nuclear based diseases such as Friedreich ataxia (mutations in FXN gene), deafness–dystonia–optic atrophy (Mohr–Tranebjerg) syndrome (mutations in TIMM8A), complicated hereditary spastic paraplegia (mutations in SPG7), DOA “plus” syndromes (mutations in OPA1), Charcot–Marie–Tooth type 2A (CMT2A) with optic atrophy or hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy type VI (HMSN VI) (mutations in MFN2), and Costeff syndrome and DOA with cataract (mutations in OPA3). Thus, genetic errors in both nuclear and mitochondrial genomes often lead to retinal ganglion cell death, a specific target for mitochondrial mediated neurodegeneration. Many mechanisms have been studied and proposed as the bases for the pathogenesis of mitochondrial optic neuropathies including bioenergetic failure, oxidative stress, glutamate toxicity, abnormal mitochondrial dynamics and axonal transport, and susceptibility to apoptosis.
Keywords: Optic nerve; Optic neuropathy; Retinal ganglion cell; LHON; Complex I; DOA; OPA1; Mitochondrial DNA; Neurodegeneration;

TMEM70 protein — A novel ancillary factor of mammalian ATP synthase by Josef Houštěk; Stanislav Kmoch; Jiří Zeman (529-532).
An increasing number of patients with nuclear genetic defects of mitochondrial ATP synthase have been identified in recent years. They are characterized by early onset, lactic acidosis, 3-methylglutaconic aciduria, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and encephalopathy and most cases have a fatal outcome. Patient tissues show isolated defect of the ATP synthase complex and its content decreases to ≥ 30% of normal due to altered enzyme biosynthesis and assembly. Gene mapping and complementation studies have identified mutations in TMEM70 gene encoding a 30kD mitochondrial protein of unknown function as the cause of the disease. An altered synthesis of this new ancillary factor in ATP synthase biogenesis was found in most of the known patients with decreased ATP synthase content. As revealed by phylogenetic analysis, TMEM70 is specific for higher eukaryotes.
Keywords: Mitochondrial disease; ATP synthase; Biogenesis; TMEM70;

Isolated deficiencies of OXPHOS complexes I and IV are identified accurately and quickly by simple enzyme activity immunocapture assays by J.H. Willis; R.A. Capaldi; M. Huigsloot; R.J.T. Rodenburg; J. Smeitink; M.F. Marusich (533-538).
OXPHOS deficits are associated with most reported cases of inherited, degenerative and acquired mitochondrial disease. Traditional methods of measuring OXPHOS activities in patients provide valuable clinical information but require fifty to hundreds of milligrams of biopsy tissue samples in order to isolate mitochondria for analysis. We have worked to develop assays that require less sample and here report novel immunocapture assays (lateral flow dipstick immunoassays) to determine the activities of complexes I and IV, which are far and away the most commonly affected complexes in the class of OXPHOS diseases. These assays are extremely simple to perform, rapid (1–1.5 h) and reproducible with low intra-assay and inter-assay coefficients of variability (CVs) s (< 10%). Importantly, there is no need to purify mitochondria as crude extracts of whole cells or tissues are suitable samples. Therefore, the assays allow use of samples obtained non-invasively such as cheek swabs and whole blood, which are not amenable to traditional mitochondrial purification and OXPHOS enzyme analysis. As a first step to assess clinical utility of these novel assays, they were used to screen a panel of cultured fibroblasts derived from patients with isolated deficiencies in complex I or IV caused by identified genetic defects. All patients (5/5) with isolated complex IV deficiencies were identified in this population. Similarly, almost all (22/24) patients with isolated complex I deficiencies were identified. We believe that this assay approach should find widespread utility in initial screening of patients suspected of having mitochondrial disease.
Keywords: Mitochondria; Complex I; Complex IV; Mitochondrial disease; Diagnostic;

HCV infection induces mitochondrial bioenergetic unbalance: Causes and effects by C. Piccoli; G. Quarato; M. Ripoli; A. D'Aprile; R. Scrima; O. Cela; D. Boffoli; D. Moradpour; N. Capitanio (539-546).
Cells infected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) are characterized by endoplasmic reticulum stress, deregulation of the calcium homeostasis and unbalance of the oxido-reduction state. In this context, mitochondrial dysfunction proved to be involved and is thought to contribute to the outcome of the HCV-related disease. Here, we propose a temporal sequence of events in the HCV-infected cell whereby the primary alteration consists of a release of Ca2+ from the endoplasmic reticulum, followed by uptake into mitochondria. This causes successive mitochondrial alterations comprising generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and impairment of the oxidative phosphorylation. A progressive adaptive response results in an enhancement of the glycolytic metabolism sustained by up-regulation of the hypoxia inducible factor. Pathogenetic implications of the model are discussed.
Keywords: Hepatitis C virus; Mitochondria; Ca2+ homeostasis; Redox signaling;

Variations at the H-strand replication origins of mitochondrial DNA and mitochondrial DNA content in the blood of type 2 diabetes patients by Antonella Cormio; Francesco Milella; Maurizio Marra; Maria Pala; Angela Maria Serena Lezza; Anna Rita Bonfigli; Claudio Franceschi; Palmiro Cantatore; Maria Nicola Gadaleta (547-552).
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence variation in the segment of the D-loop region encompassing the initiation sites for replication and transcription was analyzed in the blood of 277 Italian type 2 diabetes patients and 277 Italian healthy subjects. Compared with the Cambridge Reference Sequence, diabetic patients show a slightly higher propensity to accumulate base changes in this region, with respect to controls, although no significant association can be established between any of the detected changes and the diabetic condition. Subjects, patients and controls, harbouring base changes at the replication origins (positions 57 and 151) and at position 58 were analyzed for mtDNA content. The mtDNA content increased three–four times only in the diabetic patients bearing the m.151C > T transition, whereas in those bearing the m.58T > C change the mtDNA content doubled, independently of the affiliation haplogroup. This result suggests that the m.151C > T transition and, to a lower extent, the m.58T > C might confer to the blood cells of diabetic patients the capability of increasing their mtDNA content, whereas the same transitions have no effect on control subjects.
Keywords: Mitochondrial DNA D-loop sequence variation; Mitochondrial DNA content; Type 2 diabetes;

It has long been observed that cancer cells rely more on glycolysis to generate ATP and actively use certain glycolytic metabolic intermediates for biosynthesis. Hexokinase II (HKII) is a key glycolytic enzyme that plays a role in the regulation of the mitochondria-initiated apoptotic cell death. As a potent inhibitor of hexokinase, 3-bromopyruvate (3-BrPA) is known to inhibit cancer cell energy metabolism and trigger cell death, supposedly through depletion of cellular ATP. The current study showed that 3-BrPA caused a covalent modification of HKII protein and directly triggered its dissociation from mitochondria, leading to a specific release of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) from the mitochondria to cytosol and eventual cell death. Co-immunoprecipitation revealed a physical interaction between HKII and AIF. Using a competitive peptide of HKII, we showed that the dissociation of hexokinase II from mitochondria alone could cause apoptotic cell death, especially in the mitochondria-deficient ρ0 cells that highly express HKII. Interestingly, the dissociation of HKII itself did not directly affect the mitochondrial membrane potential, ROS generation, and oxidative phosphorylation. Our study suggests that the physical association between HKII and AIF is important for the normal localization of AIF in the mitochondria, and disruption of this protein complex by 3-BrPA leads to their release from the mitochondria and eventual cell death.
Keywords: Warburg effect; Mitochondria; Hexokinase II; 3-Bromopyruvate; Apoptosis;