Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potential target for treating mitochondrial disorders

Date:
March 27, 2014
Source:
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Summary:
Mitochondria are essential for proper cellular functions. Mitochondrial defects are often observed in a variety of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, and are the hallmarks of a number of untreatable genetic mitochondrial disorders whose manifestations range from muscle weakness to organ failure. Scientists have identified a protein whose inhibition could hold the key to alleviating suffering caused by such disorders.

Scientist using microscope in laboratory (stock image). Graduate student Walter Chen and postdoctoral researcher Kivanc Birsoy have unraveled how to rescue cells suffering from mitochondrial dysfunction, a finding that may lead to new therapies for this condition.
Credit: © Tyler Olson / Fotolia

Mitochondria, long known as "cellular power plants" for their generation of the key energy source adenosine triphosphate (ATP), are essential for proper cellular functions. Mitochondrial defects are often observed in a variety of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease, and are the hallmarks of a number of genetic mitochondrial disorders whose manifestations range from muscle weakness to organ failure. Despite a fairly strong understanding of the pathology of such genetic mitochondrial disorders, efforts to treat them have been largely ineffective.

But now, graduate student Walter Chen and postdoctoral researcher Kivanc Birsoy, both part of Whitehead Institute Member David Sabatini's lab, have unraveled how to rescue cells suffering from mitochondrial dysfunction, a finding that may lead to new therapies for this condition.

To find genetic mutations that would rescue the cells, Chen and Birsoy mimicked mitochondrial dysfunction in a haploid genetic system developed by former Whitehead Fellow Thijn Brummelkamp. After suppressing mitochondrial function using the drug antimycin, Chen and Birsoy saw that cells with mutations inactivating the gene ATPIF1 were protected against loss of mitochondrial function.

ATPIF1 is part of a backup system to save starving cells. When cells are deprived of oxygen and sugars, a mitochondrial complex that usually produces ATP, called ATP synthase, switches to consuming it, a state that can be harmful to an already starving cell. ATPIF1 interacts with ATP synthase to shut it down and prevent it from consuming the mitochondrion's dwindling ATP supply but, in the process, also worsens the mitochondrion's membrane potential

"In these diseases of mitochondrial dysfunction, in a sense, it's a false starvation situation for the cell -- there are plenty of nutrients, but because there's a block in the mitochondria's normal function, the mitochondria behave as if there's not enough oxygen," says Chen, who with Birsoy, authored a paper in the journal Cell Reports describing this work. "So in these situations, activation of ATPIF1 is not good, because there are still many nutrients around to provide ATP. Instead, blocking ATPIF1 is therapeutic because it allows for maintenance of the membrane potential."

Liver cells are frequently affected in patients with severe mitochondrial disease, so Chen and Birsoy tested the effects of mitochondrial dysfunction in the liver cells of control mice and mice with ATPIF1 genetically knocked out. Again, the liver cells with suppressed ATPIF1 function dealt better with mitochondrial dysfunction than liver cells with normal ATPIF1 activity.

"It's very simple -- if you get rid of ATPIF1, you survive in the presence of mitochondrial dysfunction," says Birsoy. "From what we see so far, there are no major side effects from blocking ATPIF1 in mice."

For Chen and Birsoy, the next step in this line of research is to test the effects of ATPIF1 suppression in mouse models of mitochondrial dysfunction. Then they will try to identify therapeutics that effectively block ATPIF1 function.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. The original article was written by Nicole Giese Rura. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Walter W. Chen, Kıvanη Birsoy, Maria M. Mihaylova, Harriet Snitkin, Iwona Stasinski, Burcu Yucel, Erol C. Bayraktar, Jan E. Carette, Clary B. Clish, Thijn R. Brummelkamp, David D. Sabatini, David M. Sabatini. Inhibition of ATPIF1 Ameliorates Severe Mitochondrial Respiratory Chain Dysfunction in Mammalian Cells. Cell Reports, March 2014 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.02.046

Cite This Page:

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. "Potential target for treating mitochondrial disorders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140327123145.htm>.
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. (2014, March 27). Potential target for treating mitochondrial disorders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140327123145.htm
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. "Potential target for treating mitochondrial disorders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140327123145.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) — Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) — Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) — New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins