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Open AccessArticle

Loss of the Mitochondrial Fission GTPase Drp1 Contributes to Neurodegeneration in a Drosophila Model of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia

1
UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences, UCD Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Dublin 4, Ireland
2
Cell Biology Section, Neurogenetics Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(9), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10090646
Received: 25 August 2020 / Revised: 10 September 2020 / Accepted: 15 September 2020 / Published: 17 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitochondria as Therapeutic Target for Acute Brain Pathologies)
Mitochondrial morphology, distribution and function are maintained by the opposing forces of mitochondrial fission and fusion, the perturbation of which gives rise to several neurodegenerative disorders. The large guanosine triphosphate (GTP)ase dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) is a critical regulator of mitochondrial fission by mediating membrane scission, often at points of mitochondrial constriction at endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-mitochondrial contacts. Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) subtype SPG61 is a rare neurodegenerative disorder caused by mutations in the ER-shaping protein Arl6IP1. We have previously reported defects in both the ER and mitochondrial networks in a Drosophila model of SPG61. In this study, we report that knockdown of Arl6IP1 lowers Drp1 protein levels, resulting in reduced ER–mitochondrial contacts and impaired mitochondrial load at the distal ends of long motor neurons. Increasing mitochondrial fission, by overexpression of wild-type Drp1 but not a dominant negative Drp1, increases ER–mitochondrial contacts, restores mitochondrial load within axons and partially rescues locomotor deficits. Arl6IP1 knockdown Drosophila also demonstrate impaired autophagic flux and an accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins, which occur independent of Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission defects. Together, these findings provide evidence that impaired mitochondrial fission contributes to neurodegeneration in this in vivo model of HSP. View Full-Text
Keywords: endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria; fission; neurodegeneration; autophagy; Drosophila endoplasmic reticulum; mitochondria; fission; neurodegeneration; autophagy; Drosophila
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Fowler, P.C.; Byrne, D.J.; Blackstone, C.; O'Sullivan, N.C. Loss of the Mitochondrial Fission GTPase Drp1 Contributes to Neurodegeneration in a Drosophila Model of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. Brain Sci. 2020, 10, 646.

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