Rapid degeneration of iPSC-derived motor neurons lacking Gdap1 engages a mitochondrial-sustained innate immune response.

TitleRapid degeneration of iPSC-derived motor neurons lacking Gdap1 engages a mitochondrial-sustained innate immune response.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsLeón, M, Prieto, J, Molina-Navarro, MMicaela, Garcia-Garcia, F, Barneo-Muñoz, M, Ponsoda, X, Sáez, R, Palau, F, Dopazo, J, Belmonte, JCarlos Izp, Torres, J
JournalCell Death Discov
Date Published2023 Jul 01

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a chronic hereditary motor and sensory polyneuropathy targeting Schwann cells and/or motor neurons. Its multifactorial and polygenic origin portrays a complex clinical phenotype of the disease with a wide range of genetic inheritance patterns. The disease-associated gene GDAP1 encodes for a mitochondrial outer membrane protein. Mouse and insect models with mutations in Gdap1 have reproduced several traits of the human disease. However, the precise function in the cell types affected by the disease remains unknown. Here, we use induced-pluripotent stem cells derived from a Gdap1 knockout mouse model to better understand the molecular and cellular phenotypes of the disease caused by the loss-of-function of this gene. Gdap1-null motor neurons display a fragile cell phenotype prone to early degeneration showing (1) altered mitochondrial morphology, with an increase in the fragmentation of these organelles, (2) activation of autophagy and mitophagy, (3) abnormal metabolism, characterized by a downregulation of Hexokinase 2 and ATP5b proteins, (4) increased reactive oxygen species and elevated mitochondrial membrane potential, and (5) increased innate immune response and p38 MAP kinase activation. Our data reveals the existence of an underlying Redox-inflammatory axis fueled by altered mitochondrial metabolism in the absence of Gdap1. As this biochemical axis encompasses a wide variety of druggable targets, our results may have implications for developing therapies using combinatorial pharmacological approaches and improving therefore human welfare. A Redox-immune axis underlying motor neuron degeneration caused by the absence of Gdap1. Our results show that Gdap1 motor neurons have a fragile cellular phenotype that is prone to degeneration. Gdap1 iPSCs differentiated into motor neurons showed an altered metabolic state: decreased glycolysis and increased OXPHOS. These alterations may lead to hyperpolarization of mitochondria and increased ROS levels. Excessive amounts of ROS might be the cause of increased mitophagy, p38 activation and inflammation as a cellular response to oxidative stress. The p38 MAPK pathway and the immune response may, in turn, have feedback mechanisms, leading to the induction of apoptosis and senescence, respectively. CAC, citric acid cycle; ETC, electronic transport chain; Glc, glucose; Lac, lactate; Pyr, pyruvate.

Alternate JournalCell Death Discov
PubMed ID37393339
PubMed Central ID8804038
Grant ListVALi+d 2019 / / Generalitat Valenciana (Regional Government of Valencia) /
VALi+d 2019 / / Generalitat Valenciana (Regional Government of Valencia) /
IR11/TREAT-CMT / / Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness | Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Institute of Health Carlos III) /