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Neuroscience. 2008 May 2;153(2):474-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.01.070. Epub 2008 Feb 19.

Decreased expression of the mitochondrial matrix proteases Lon and ClpP in cells from a patient with hereditary spastic paraplegia (SPG13).

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Research Unit for Molecular Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, Aarhus, Denmark.


The mitochondrial chaperonin heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60) assists the folding of a subset of proteins localized in mitochondria and is an essential component of the mitochondrial protein quality control system. Mutations in the HSPD1 gene that encodes Hsp60 have been identified in patients with an autosomal dominant form of hereditary spastic paraplegia (SPG13), a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a progressive paraparesis of the lower limbs. The disease-associated Hsp60-(p.Val98Ile) protein, encoded by the c.292G>A HSPD1 allele, has reduced chaperonin activity, but how its expression affects mitochondrial functions has not been investigated. We have studied mitochondrial function and expression of genes encoding mitochondrial chaperones and proteases in a human lymphoblastoid cell line and fibroblast cells from a patient who is heterozygous for the c.292G>A HSPD1 allele. We found that both the c.292G>A RNA transcript and the corresponding Hsp60-(p.Val98Ile) protein were present at comparable levels to their wild-type counterparts in SPG13 patient cells. Compared with control cells, we found no significant cellular or mitochondrial dysfunctions in SPG13 patient cells by assessing the mitochondrial membrane potential, cell viability, and sensitivity toward oxidative stress. However, a decreased expression of the mitochondrial protein quality control proteases Lon and ClpP, both at the RNA and protein level, was demonstrated in SPG13 patient cells. We propose that decreased levels of mitochondrial proteases Lon and ClpP may allow Hsp60 substrate proteins to go through more folding attempts instead of being prematurely degraded, thereby supporting productive folding in cells with reduced Hsp60 chaperonin activity. In conclusion, our studies with SPG13 patient cells expressing the functionally impaired mutant Hsp60 chaperonin suggest that reduction of the degradative activity of the protein quality control system may represent a previously unrecognized cellular adaptation to reduced chaperone function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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