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Parkin-mediated mitophagy and autophagy flux disruption in cellular models of MERRF syndrome

AuthorsVillanueva Paz, Marina; Povea-Cabello, Suleva; Villalón-García, Irene; Álvarez-Córdoba, Mónica; Suarez-Rivero, Juan M.; Talaverón-Rey, Marta; Jackson, Sandra; Falcón-Moya, Rafael; Rodríguez-Moreno, A.; Sánchez-Alcázar, José Antonio
Mitochondrial diseases
Issue Date2020
CitationBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease 1866(6): 165726 (2020)
AbstractMitochondrial diseases are considered rare genetic disorders characterized by defects in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS). They can be provoked by mutations in nuclear DNA (nDNA) or mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). MERRF (Myoclonic Epilepsy with Ragged-Red Fibers) syndrome is one of the most frequent mitochondrial diseases, principally caused by the m.8344A>G mutation in mtDNA, which affects the translation of all mtDNA-encoded proteins and therefore impairs mitochondrial function. In the present work, we evaluated autophagy and mitophagy flux in transmitochondrial cybrids and fibroblasts derived from a MERRF patient, reporting that Parkin-mediated mitophagy is increased in MERRF cell cultures. Our results suggest that supplementation with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ), a component of the electron transport chain (ETC) and lipid antioxidant, prevents Parkin translocation to the mitochondria. In addition, CoQ acts as an enhancer of autophagy and mitophagy flux, which partially improves cell pathophysiology. The significance of Parkin-mediated mitophagy in cell survival was evaluated by silencing the expression of Parkin in MERRF cybrids. Our results show that mitophagy acts as a cell survival mechanism in mutant cells. To confirm these results in one of the main affected cell types in MERRF syndrome, mutant induced neurons (iNs) were generated by direct reprogramming of patients-derived skin fibroblasts. The treatment of MERRF iNs with Guttaquinon CoQ10 (GuttaQ), a water-soluble derivative of CoQ, revealed a significant improvement in cell bioenergetics. These results indicate that iNs, along with fibroblasts and cybrids, can be utilized as reliable cellular models to shed light on disease pathomechanisms as well as for drug screening.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbadis.2020.165726
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