University of Oulu

Molecular and cell phenotype changes in mitochondrial diseases

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Author: Annunen-Rasila, Johanna1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neurology
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Clinical Research Center
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: 2007
Publish Date: 2007-06-05
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu, for public defence in Auditorium 101 A of the Faculty of Medicine (Aapistie 5 A), on June 15th, 2007, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Olli Carpén
Research director Antero Salminen


The mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system (OXPHOS) generates energy but also deleterious reactive oxygen species (ROS). Changes in the cytoskeleton, composed mainly of microfilaments, microtubules and intermediate filaments, have been observed in OXPHOS deficiency. The 3243A>G point mutation in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) leads to mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), which is the most common mitochondrial disease. Interestingly, mitochondrial aberrations have been demonstrated in patients with a mutation in NOTCH3, the genetic cause of cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL).

Randomization of vimentin intermediate filament direction and length together with slower population growth was observed in myoblasts with 3243A>G, with no difference in the amount of apoptotic cell death. Upon complex IV inhibition (with or without the microtubule-depolymerizing compound nocodazole) or a lack of mtDNA (ρ0) in osteosarcoma cells the vimentin network collapsed perinuclearly, forming thick bundles, whereas complex I inhibition led to thinner vimentin network bundles. Furthermore, the amount of vimentin was increased in ρ0 cells. Mitochondria accumulated around the nucleus upon complex IV inhibition and in ρ0 cells. Analysis of the total proteome revealed that specific OXPHOS deficiencies led to changes in the expression of cytoskeletal proteins and proteins involved in apoptosis, OXPHOS, glycolysis and oxidative stress response. Muscle histochemical and genetic analysis showed ragged red fibres and cytochrome c oxidase-negative fibres to be associated with 5650G>A in a patient with R133C in NOTCH3 and 5650G>A in MTTA. Immunolabelling of cells with R133C and 5650G>A revealed a sparse tubulin network with asters and less abundant mitochondria by comparison with control cell lines. Comparison of nucleotide diversity between CADASIL pedigrees and controls showed increased mtDNA sequence variation in the CADASIL patients. Also maternal relatives in two CADASIL pedigrees differed from each other in their mtDNA.

These findings suggest that defects in OXPHOS lead to selective changes in the vimentin network, which may have a role in the pathophysiology of mitochondrial diseases. They also suggest a relationship between NOTCH3 and mtDNA, and establish the pathogenicity of 5650G>A. The overall results emphasize that a deficiency in the energy converting system together with oxidative stress can lead to cytoskeletal changes.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 978-951-42-8442-7
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-8441-0
Issue: 923
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2007. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.