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Abstract

 

Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease are neurodegenerative disorders characterised by the misfolding of proteins into soluble prefibrillar aggregates. These aggregate complexes disrupt mitochondrial function, initiating a pathophysiological cascade leading to synaptic and neuronal degeneration. In order to explore the interaction of amyloid aggregates with mitochondrial membranes, we made use of two in vitro model systems, namely: (i) lipid vesicles with defined membrane compositions that mimic those of mitochondrial membranes, and (ii) respiring mitochondria isolated from neuronal SH-SY5Y cells. External application of soluble prefibrillar forms, but not monomers, of amyloid-beta (Aβ42 peptide), wild-type α-synuclein (α-syn), mutant α-syn (A30P and A53T) and tau-441 proteins induced a robust permeabilisation of mitochondrial-like vesicles, and triggered cytochrome c release (CCR) from isolated mitochondrial organelles. Importantly, the effect on mitochondria was shown to be dependent upon cardiolipin, an anionic phospholipid unique to mitochondria and a well-known key player in mitochondrial apoptosis. Pharmacological modulators of mitochondrial ion channels failed to inhibit CCR. Thus, we propose a generic mechanism of thrilling mitochondria in which soluble amyloid aggregates have the intrinsic capacity to permeabilise mitochondrial membranes, without the need of any other protein. Finally, six small-molecule compounds and black tea extract were tested for their ability to inhibit permeation of mitochondrial membranes by Aβ42, α-syn and tau aggregate complexes. We found that black tea extract and rosmarinic acid were the most potent mito-protectants, and may thus represent important drug leads to alleviate mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases.

© 2013.

 

Source

 

  • Department of Physiology and Biochemistry, University of Malta, Msida, Malta.
  • Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013 Jun 28;1828(11):2532-2543. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamem.2013.06.026. [Epub ahead of print]. Camilleri A, Zarb C, Caruana M, Ostermeier U, Ghio S, Högen T, Schmidt F, Giese A, Vassallo N.


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