Loss of the mitochondrial protease HtrA2 (Omi) in mice leads to mitochondrial dysfunction, neurodegeneration and premature death, but the mechanism underlying this pathology remains unclear. Using primary cultures from wild-type and HtrA2-knockout mice, we find that HtrA2 deficiency significantly reduces mitochondrial membrane potential in a range of cell types. This depolarisation was found to result from mitochondrial uncoupling, as mitochondrial respiration was increased in HtrA2- deficient cells and respiratory control ratio was dramatically reduced. HtrA2-knockout cells exhibit increased proton translocation through the ATP synthase, in combination with decreased ATP production and truncation of the F1 a-subunit, suggesting the ATP synthase as the source of the proton leak. Uncoupling in the HtrA2-deficient mice is accompanied by altered breathing pattern and, on a cellular level, ATP depletion and vulnerability to chemical ischaemia. We propose that this vulnerability may ultimately cause the neurodegeneration observed in these mice.
- ATP synthase
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience