Mutations in gene products expressed in the mitochondrion cause a nuclear transcriptional response that leads to neurological disease. To examine the extent to which the transcriptional profile was shared among 5 mitochondrial diseases (LHON, FRDA, MELAS, KSS, and NARP), we microarrayed mutant and control groups in N-tera2, SH-SY5Y, lymphoblasts, fibroblasts, myoblasts, muscle, and osteosarcoma cybrids. Many more transcripts were observed to be significantly altered and shared among these 5 mitochondrial diseases and cell types than expected on the basis of random chance, and these genes are significantly clustered with respect to biochemical pathways. Mitochondrial disease activated multiple transcripts of the unfolded protein response (UPR), and of the cell cycle pathway, and low doses of the mitochondrial inhibitor rotenone induced UPR transcripts in the absence of cell death. By contrast, functional clusters inhibited by mitochondrial disease included: vesicular secretion, protein synthesis, and oligodendrogenesis. As it is known that UPR activation specifically inhibits vesicular secretion and protein synthesis, these data support the view that mitochondrial disease and dysfunction triggers the UPR, which in turn causes secretory defects which inhibit cellular migratory, synaptic, and oligodendrocytic functions, providing a testable hypothesis for how mitochondrial dysfunction causes disease. Since ischemic hypoxia, chemical hypoxia, and mitochondrial genetic disease (which could be considered 'genetic hypoxia') produce an overlapping induction of UPR and cell cycle genes which appears to have negative consequences, the modulation of these responses might be of benefit to patients with mitochondrial disease.
- Mitochondrial genetic disease
- Unfolded protein response
ASJC Scopus subject areas