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Mitochondrial DNA toxicity in forebrain neurons causes apoptosis, neurodegeneration, and impaired behavior


Lauritzen, K H; Moldestad, O; Eide, L; Carlsen, H; Nesse, G; Storm, J; Mansuy, I M; Bergersen, L H; Klungland, A (2010). Mitochondrial DNA toxicity in forebrain neurons causes apoptosis, neurodegeneration, and impaired behavior. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 30(6):1357-1367.

Abstract

Mitochondrial dysfunction underlying changes in neurodegenerative diseases is often associated with apoptosis and a progressive loss of neurons, and damage to the mitochondrial genome is proposed to be involved in such pathologies. In the present study we designed a mouse model that allows us to specifically induce mitochondrial DNA toxicity in the forebrain neurons of adult mice. This is achieved by CaMKIIalpha-regulated inducible expression of a mutated version of the mitochondrial UNG DNA repair enzyme (mutUNG1). This enzyme is capable of removing thymine from the mitochondrial genome. We demonstrate that a continual generation of apyrimidinic sites causes apoptosis and neuronal death. These defects are associated with behavioral alterations characterized by increased locomotor activity, impaired cognitive abilities, and lack of anxietylike responses. In summary, whereas mitochondrial base substitution and deletions previously have been shown to correlate with premature and natural aging, respectively, we show that a high level of apyrimidinic sites lead to mitochondrial DNA cytotoxicity, which causes apoptosis, followed by neurodegeneration.

Abstract

Mitochondrial dysfunction underlying changes in neurodegenerative diseases is often associated with apoptosis and a progressive loss of neurons, and damage to the mitochondrial genome is proposed to be involved in such pathologies. In the present study we designed a mouse model that allows us to specifically induce mitochondrial DNA toxicity in the forebrain neurons of adult mice. This is achieved by CaMKIIalpha-regulated inducible expression of a mutated version of the mitochondrial UNG DNA repair enzyme (mutUNG1). This enzyme is capable of removing thymine from the mitochondrial genome. We demonstrate that a continual generation of apyrimidinic sites causes apoptosis and neuronal death. These defects are associated with behavioral alterations characterized by increased locomotor activity, impaired cognitive abilities, and lack of anxietylike responses. In summary, whereas mitochondrial base substitution and deletions previously have been shown to correlate with premature and natural aging, respectively, we show that a high level of apyrimidinic sites lead to mitochondrial DNA cytotoxicity, which causes apoptosis, followed by neurodegeneration.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Brain Research Institute
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:05 Jan 2011 08:08
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 05:20
Publisher:American Society for Microbiology
ISSN:0270-7306
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1128/MCB.01149-09
PubMed ID:20065039

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