OPA1 isoforms and protein domains in the rescue of mitochondrial dysfunctions

Del Dotto, Valentina (2015) OPA1 isoforms and protein domains in the rescue of mitochondrial dysfunctions, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare e molecolare, 27 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/7033.
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Mutations in OPA1 gene have been identified in the majority of patients with Dominant Optic Atrophy (DOA), a blinding disease, and the syndromic form DOA-plus. OPA1 protein is a mitochondrial GTPase involved in various mitochondrial functions, present in humans in eight isoforms, resulting from alternative splicing and proteolytic processing. In this study we have investigated the specific role of each isoform through expression in OPA-/- MEFs, by evaluating their ability to improve the defective mitochondrial phenotypes. All isoforms were able to rescue the energetic efficiency, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and cristae integrity, but only the presence of both long and short forms could recover the mitochondrial morphology. In order to identify the OPA1 protein domains crucial for its functions, we selected and modified the isoform 1, shown to be one of the most efficient in preserving mitochondrial phenotype, to express three specific OPA1 variants, namely: one with a different N-terminus portion, one unable to generate short form owing to deletion of S1 cleavage site and one with a defective GTPase domain. We demonstrated that the simultaneous presence of the N- and C-terminus of OPA1 was essential for the mtDNA maintenance; a cleavable isoform generating s-forms was necessary to completely rescue the energetic competence and the presence of the C-terminus was sufficient to partially recover the cristae ultrastructure. Lastly, several pathogenic OPA1 mutations were inserted in MEF clones and the biochemical features investigated, to correlate the defective phenotypes with the clinical severity of patients. Our results clearly indicate that this cell model reflects very well the clinical characteristics of the patients, and therefore can be proposed as an useful tool to shed light on the pathomechanism underlying DOA.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Del Dotto, Valentina
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
OPA1, OPA1 isoforms, mitochondrial network dynamics, OXPHOS, mtDNA, cristae structure, OPA1 mutations, respiratory supercomplexes
Data di discussione
9 Aprile 2015

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