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Targeting Mitochondrial Network Disorganization is Protective in C. elegans Models of Huntington’s Disease, 2021, Machiela et al

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Andy, Oct 12, 2021.

  1. Andy

    Andy Committee Member (& Outreach when energy allows)

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    In worms.

    Abstract

    Huntington’s disease (HD) is an adult-onset neurodegenerative disease caused by a trinucleotide CAG repeat expansion in the HTT gene. While the pathogenesis of HD is incompletely understood, mitochondrial dysfunction is thought to be a key contributor.

    In this work, we used C. elegans models to elucidate the role of mitochondrial dynamics in HD. We found that expression of a disease-length polyglutamine tract in body wall muscle, either with or without exon 1 of huntingtin, results in mitochondrial fragmentation and mitochondrial network disorganization. While mitochondria in young HD worms form elongated tubular networks as in wild-type worms, mitochondrial fragmentation occurs with age as expanded polyglutamine protein forms aggregates. To correct the deficit in mitochondrial morphology, we reduced levels of DRP-1, the GTPase responsible for mitochondrial fission. Surprisingly, we found that disrupting drp-1 can have detrimental effects, which are dependent on how much expression is decreased. To avoid potential negative side effects of disrupting drp-1, we examined whether decreasing mitochondrial fragmentation by targeting other genes could be beneficial.

    Through this approach, we identified multiple genetic targets that rescue movement deficits in worm models of HD. Three of these genetic targets, pgp-3, F25B5.6 and alh-12, increased movement in the HD worm model and restored mitochondrial morphology to wild-type morphology. This work demonstrates that disrupting the mitochondrial fission gene drp-1 can be detrimental in animal models of HD, but that decreasing mitochondrial fragmentation by targeting other genes can be protective. Overall, this study identifies novel therapeutic targets for HD aimed at improving mitochondrial health.

    Open access, http://www.aginganddisease.org/EN/10.14336/AD.2021.0404
     
    shak8, merylg and Peter Trewhitt like this.

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