Project #12288
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#12288 : High content screening of mitochondrial morphology defects in mitochondrial genetic diseases
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Name of Applicant : Timothy Wai
Date of application : 11-10-2018
Unit : Mitochondrial Biology
Location : 66-07-04
Phone : +33144389141
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Project context and summary :

Mitochondria are double-membrane bound organelles that are essential in every tissue of the body. They are metabolic hubs and signalling platforms that are deeply integrated into cellular homeostasis. The functions of mitochondria are intimately linked to their form, which is regulated by a balance of membrane fusion and fission: dynamin-like GTPases OPA1 and MFN1/2 perform membrane fusion and DRP1 regulates membrane fission. Mutations in mitochondrial genes cause a pleiotropic spectrum of clinical disorders whose underlying genetic, morphological and biochemical defects can be easily studied in skin fibroblasts generated from patient biopsies. The morphology of mitochondria is inextricably linked to its many essential functions in the cell and we are interested in understanding the relationship between mitochondrial shape changes and metabolism in the context of acquired and inborn human diseases. Balanced fusion and fission events shape mitochondria to meet metabolic demands and to ensure removal of damaged organelles. Mitochondrial fragmentation occurs in response to nutrient excess and cellular dysfunction and has been observed in mitochondrial genetic diseases and is thought to play an important role in the development of disease. The physiological relevance of mitochondrial morphology and the mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial dynamics are incomplete and so we have set out to find ways to rebalance mitochondrial dynamics in genetic diseases. We recently developed imaging and informatics pipelines to allow for the automated, rapid, reliable quantification of mitochondrial morphology in human fibroblasts. We applied this new technology in the context of genome-wide siRNA screens in immortalized fibroblasts from an OPA1 patient with dominant optic atrophy and control fibroblasts to identify candidate genes able to reverse the mitochondrial fragmentation phenotype associated with mitochondrial dysfunction in patient cells. We have performed the same genome-wide screen in healthy immortalized control fibroblasts. Together, these studies will help us identify lists of genetic modifiers and therapeutic targets that can be investigated further using cell biology and biochemical tools in the lab.

Related team publications :
Hartmann B, Wai T*, Hu H, Fischer-Zirnsak B, Stenzel W, Graef R, van den Heuvel L, Ropers H-H, Wienker TF, Hübner C, Langer T, Kaindl AM. Homozygous YME1L1 mutation causes mitochondriopathy with optic atrophy and mitochondrial network fragmentation. eLife 2016;10.7554/eLife.16078.
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Project Type : Short
Status : Closed
Publication : 10.15252/emmm.202013579

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