ISG15 Attenuates Post-Translational Modifications of Mitofusins and Congression of Damaged Mitochondria in Ataxia Telangiectasia Cells

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Conference Proceeding

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Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease


Mitophagy is defective in several neurodegenerative diseases, including Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T). However, the molecular mechanism underlying defective mitophagy in A-T is unknown. Literature indicates that damaged mitochondria are transported to the perinuclear region prior to their removal via mitophagy. Our previous work has indicated that conjugation of SUMO2 (Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier 2) to mitofusins (Mfns) may be necessary for congression of mitochondria into SUMO2-/ubiquitin-/LC3-positive compact structures resembling mito-aggresomes at the perinuclear region in CCCP-treated HEK293 cells. Here, we demonstrate that Mfns are SUMOylated, and mitochondria are transported to the perinuclear region; however, mitochondria fail to congress into mito-aggresome-like structures in CCCP-treated A-T cells. Defect in mitochondrial congression is causally related to constitutively elevated ISG15 (Interferon-Stimulated Gene 15), an antagonist of the ubiquitin pathway, in A-T cells. Suppression of the ISG15 pathway restores mitochondrial congression, reduce oxidative stress, and level of unhealthy mitochondria, which is suggestive of restoration of mitophagy in A-T cells. ISG15 is also constitutively elevated and mitophagy is defective in Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The constitutively elevated ISG15 pathway therefore appears to be a common unifying biochemical mechanism underlying defective mitophagy in neurodegenerative disorders thus, implying the broader significance of our findings, and suggest the potential role of ISG15 inhibitors in their treatment.

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