Opa1 Overexpression Protects from Early-Onset Mpv17-/--Related Mouse Kidney Disease.Mol Ther. 2020 Aug 05; 28(8):1918-1930.MT
Moderate overexpression of Opa1, the master regulator of mitochondrial cristae morphology, significantly improved mitochondrial damage induced by drugs, surgical denervation, or oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) defects due to specific impairment of a single mitochondrial respiratory chain complex. Here, we investigated the effectiveness of this approach in the Mpv17-/- mouse, characterized by profound, multisystem mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion. After the crossing with Opa1tg mice, we found a surprising anticipation of the severe, progressive focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, previously described in Mpv17-/- animals as a late-onset clinical feature (after 12-18 months of life). In contrast, Mpv17-/- animals from this new "mixed" strain died at 8-9 weeks after birth because of severe kidney failure However, Mpv17-/-::Opa1tg mice lived much longer than Mpv17-/- littermates and developed the kidney dysfunction much later. mtDNA content and OXPHOS activities were significantly higher in Mpv17-/-::Opa1tg than in Mpv17-/- kidneys and similar to those for wild-type (WT) littermates. Mitochondrial network and cristae ultrastructure were largely preserved in Mpv17-/-::Opa1tg versus Mpv17-/- kidney and isolated podocytes. Mechanistically, the protective effect of Opa1 overexpression in this model was mediated by a block in apoptosis due to the stabilization of the mitochondrial cristae. These results demonstrate that strategies aiming at increasing Opa1 expression or activity can be effective against mtDNA depletion syndromes.