Mitochondrial unfolded protein response, its molecular mechanism and physiological impact

Mitochondria are the main producers of ATP, the energy currency of the cell, and they perform a wide array of other fundamental functions. These organelles are essential not only for cellular metabolism, but also for organismal physiology and lifespan. A recently discovered mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt) maintains the mitochondrial proteostasis by managing protein quality control (PQC) network during proteotoxic stress. Recent findings show that activation of this repair pathway improves mitochondrial function and is associated with increased longevity. My thesis aims to expand the knowledge about the UPRmt by exploring its molecular mechanism and impact on mitochondrial stress induced longevity. We performed three studies: Identification of two epigenetic UPRmt regulators (chapter 2). In collaboration with Prof. Dillin’s laboratory (UCB, USA), we identified the conserved histone demethylases jmjd-1.2/PHF8 and jmjd-3.1/JMJD3 as positive regulators of UPRmt and longevity in response to mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) dysfunction across species. A systems genetics analysis of data from the BXD mouse genetic reference population (GRP) further indicates conserved roles of the mammalian orthologs of these demethylases in longevity and UPRmt signaling. These findings illustrate an evolutionary conserved epigenetic mechanism that determines the rate of aging, downstream of mitochondrial perturbations. Relation between UPRmt and TCA cycle (chapter 3). We investigated the effects of genetic perturbations of the TCA cycle on the UPRmt and lifespan. We found that downregulation of several TCA cycle enzymes induces UPRmt, but they have divergent effects on lifespan. Restricting the knockdown of these genes to early larval development stages had positive effects on longevity, which was dependent on UPRmt. We analysed the transcriptomes of C. elegans with knockdown of these TCA cycle genes and compared them with those obtained after the knockdown of other mitochondrial genes, which are known to induce the UPRmt. We identified a core set of transcripts, which change in common and which likely represent a signature of mitochondrial dysfunction associated with UPRmt induction. Bioinformatic analysis of UPRmt (chapter 4). In two collaborative studies, we investigated the UPRmt using newly collected data from the BXD mouse GRP. In the first study, we quantified the transcriptome and proteome from 40 strains of the BXD mouse GRP on two different diets. Integrated molecular profiles were used to characterize the UPRmt, which shows strikingly variant responses at the transcript and protein level that are conserved between C.elegans, mice and humans. In the second study, whole genomes of BXD GRP strains were sequenced to detect sequence variants, which were then used to find novel associations within a high coverage phenome of various traits. One of the novel associations included a missense mutation in fumarate hydratase that controls variation in the UPRmt in both mouse and C. elegans. In summary, our work characterized novel epigenetic regulators of UPRmt and associated mitochondrial stress induced longevity, described the connection between the UPRmt and the TCA cycle, and illustrated the conservation of UPRmt in a mouse GRP. These results expand the knowledge about the UPRmt and promote further investigation of its role in longevity and mitochondrial diseases.


Advisor(s):
Auwerx, Johan
Year:
2016
Publisher:
Lausanne, EPFL
Keywords:
Other identifiers:
urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-epfl-thesis7352-3
Laboratories:




 Record created 2016-10-31, last modified 2019-05-09

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