Targeting peptide nucleic acid (PNA) oligomers to mitochondria within cells by conjugation to lipophilic cations: implications for mitochondrial DNA replication, expression and disease.
The selective manipulation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication and expression within mammalian cells has proven difficult. One promising approach is to use peptide nucleic acid (PNA) oligomers, nucleic acid analogues that bind selectively to complementary DNA or RNA sequences inhibiting replication and translation. However, the potential of PNAs is restricted by the difficulties of delivering them to mitochondria within cells. To overcome this problem we conjugated a PNA 11mer to a lipophilic phosphonium cation. Such cations are taken up by mitochondria through the lipid bilayer driven by the membrane potential across the inner membrane. As anticipated, phosphonium-PNA (ph-PNA) conjugates of 3.4-4 kDa were imported into both isolated mitochondria and mitochondria within human cells in culture. This was confirmed by using an ion-selective electrode to measure uptake of the ph-PNA conjugates; by cell fractionation in conjunction with immunoblotting; by confocal microscopy; by immunogold-electron microscopy; and by crosslinking ph-PNA conjugates to mitochondrial matrix proteins. In all cases dissipating the mitochondrial membrane potential with an uncoupler prevented ph-PNA uptake. The ph-PNA conjugate selectively inhibited the in vitro replication of DNA containing the A8344G point mutation that causes the human mtDNA disease 'myoclonic epilepsy and ragged red fibres' (MERRF) but not the wild-type sequence that differs at a single nucleotide position. Therefore these modified PNA oligomers retain their selective binding to DNA and the lipophilic cation delivers them to mitochondria within cells. When MERRF cells were incubated with the ph-PNA conjugate the ratio of MERRF to wild-type mtDNA was unaffected, even though the ph-PNA content of the mitochondria was sufficient to inhibit MERRF mtDNA replication in a cell-free system. This unexpected finding suggests that nucleic acid derivatives cannot bind their complementary sequences during mtDNA replication. In summary, we have developed a new strategy for targeting PNA oligomers to mitochondria and used it to determine the effects of PNA on mutated mtDNA replication in cells. This work presents new approaches for the manipulation of mtDNA replication and expression, and will assist in the development of therapies for mtDNA diseases. (+info
ATP-sensitive potassium channels in dopaminergic neurons: transducers of mitochondrial dysfunction.
ATP-sensitive potassium (K(ATP)) channels directly couple the metabolic state of a cell to its electrical activity. Dopaminergic midbrain neurons express alternative types of K(ATP) channels mediating their differential response to mitochondrial complex I inhibition. Because reduced complex I activity is present in Parkinson's Disease, differential K(ATP) channel expression suggests a novel candidate mechanism for selective dopaminergic degeneration. (+info
Frequency of mitochondrial transfer RNA mutations and deletions in 225 patients presenting with respiratory chain deficiencies.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the frequency of pathogenic mtDNA transfer RNA mutations and deletions in biochemically demonstrable respiratory chain (RC) deficiencies in paediatric and adult patients. METHODS: We screened for deletions and sequenced mitochondrial transfer RNA genes in skeletal muscle DNA from 225 index patients with clinical symptoms suggestive of a mitochondrial disorder and with biochemically demonstrable RC deficiency in skeletal muscle. RESULTS: We found pathogenic mitochondrial DNA mutations in 29% of the patients. The detection rate was significantly higher in adults (48%) than in the paediatric group (18%). Only one pathogenic mutation was detected in the neonatal group. In addition, we describe seven novel transfer RNA sequence variations with unknown pathogenic relevance (six homoplasmic and one heteroplasmic) and 13 homoplasmic polymorphisms. One heteroplasmic transfer RNA(Leu(UUR)) A>G mutation at position 3274 is associated with a distinct neurological syndrome. CONCLUSIONS: We provide an estimation of the frequency of mitochondrial transfer RNA mutations and deletions in paediatric and adult patients with respiratory chain deficiencies. (+info
Nuclear genetic defects of oxidative phosphorylation.
ATP generated by oxidative phosphorylation is necessary for the normal function of most cells in the body. Partial deficiencies in this system are an important cause of a large and diverse group of multisystem disorders. As both the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes encode structural components of the enzyme complexes of the oxidative phosphorylation system, the disorders can be transmitted either in a Mendelian fashion or maternally, or can occur as sporadic cases. Over the last 12 years more than 100 mutations have been uncovered in mtDNA, mostly associated with disease in the adult population. Recently, much attention has turned to the investigation of the nuclear oxidative phosphorylation gene defects. The majority of these are inherited as autosomal recessive traits, producing severe, and usually fatal disease in infants. Adult-onset Mendelian oxidative phosphorylation diseases, which can be inherited as autosomal recessive or dominant traits, have a milder phenotype, and most are associated with multiple mtDNA deletions. Approximately 20 different nuclear gene defects have now been identified in genes coding for structural components of the complexes, assembly/maintenance factors and factors necessary for the maintenance of mtDNA integrity. Some clear genotype-phenotype associations have emerged, and there is an unexpected link between some structural gene mutations and rare cancers, implicating mitochondria as oxygen sensors in the hypoxia response. (+info
In vitro 3'-end endonucleolytic processing defect in a human mitochondrial tRNA(Ser(UCN)) precursor with the U7445C substitution, which causes non-syndromic deafness.
Eukaryotic tRNAs are transcribed as precursors. A 5'-end leader and 3'-end trailer are endonucleolytically removed by RNase P and 3'-tRNase before 3'-end CCA addition, aminoacylation, nuclear export and translation. 3'-End -CC can be a 3'-tRNase anti-determinant with the ability to prevent mature tRNA from recycling through 3'-tRNase. Twenty-two tRNAs punctuate the two rRNAs and 13 mRNAs in long, bidirectional mitochondrial transcripts. Accurate mitochondrial gene expression thus depends on endonucleolytic excision of tRNAs. Various mitochondrial diseases and syndromes could arise from defective tRNA end processing. The U7445C substitution in the human mitochondrial L-strand transcript (U74C directly following the discriminator base of tRNA(Ser(UCN))) causes non-syndromic deafness. The sequence of the precursor (G/UCU) becomes G/CCU, resembling a 3'-tRNase anti-determinant. We demonstrate that a tRNA(Ser(UCN)) precursor with the U7445C substitution cannot be processed in vitro by 3'-tRNase from human mitochondria. A 3'-end processing defect in this tRNA precursor could thus be responsible for mitochondrial disease. (+info
Mitochondrial disease and stroke.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: It is well known that some mitochondrial disorders are responsible for ischemic cerebral infarction in young patients. Our purpose was to determine, in this prospective ongoing study, whether ischemic stroke is the only manifestation of a mitochondrial disorder in young patients. METHODS: Patients aged +info)
Cardiac dysfunction in mice lacking cytochrome-c oxidase subunit VIaH.
Cytochrome-c oxidase subunit VIaH (COXVIaH) has been implicated in the modulation of COX activity. A gene-targeting strategy was undertaken to generate mice that lacked COXVIaH to determine its role in regulation of oxidative energy production and mechanical performance in cardiac muscle. Total COX activity was decreased in hearts from mutant mice, which appears to be a consequence of altered assembly of the holoenzyme COX. However, total myocardial ATP was not significantly different in wild-type and mutant mice. Myocardial performance was examined using the isolated working heart preparation. As left atrial filling pressure increased, hearts from mutant mice were unable to generate equivalent stroke work compared with hearts from wild-type mice. Direct measurement of left ventricular end-diastolic volume using magnetic resonance imaging revealed that cardiac dysfunction was a consequence of impaired ventricular filling or diastolic dysfunction. These findings suggest that a genetic deficiency of COXVIaH has a measurable impact on myocardial diastolic performance despite the presence of normal cellular ATP levels. (+info
Inborn errors of complex II--unusual human mitochondrial diseases.
The succinate dehydrogenase consists of only four subunits, all nuclearly encoded, and is part of both the respiratory chain and the Krebs cycle. Mutations in the four genes encoding the subunits of the mitochondrial respiratory chain succinate dehydrogenase have been recently reported in human and shown to be associated with a wide spectrum of clinical presentations. Although a comparatively rare deficiency in human, molecularly defined succinate dehydrogenase deficiency has already been found to cause encephalomyopathy in childhood, optic atrophy or tumor in adulthood. Because none of the typical housekeeping genes encoding this respiratory chain complex is known to present tissue-specific isoforms, the tissue-specific involvement represents a quite intriguing question, which is mostly addressed in this review. A differential impairment of electron flow through the respiratory chain, handling of oxygen, and/or metabolic blockade possibly associated with defects in the different subunits that can be advocated to account for tissue-specific involvement is discussed. (+info