Mitochondrial dysfunction may activate innate immunity, e.g. upon abnormal handling of mitochondrial DNA in TFAM mutants or in altered mitophagy. Recent reports showed that also deletion of mitochondrial matrix peptidase ClpP in mice triggers transcriptional upregulation of inflammatory factors. Here, we studied ClpP-null mouse brain at two ages and mouse embryonal fibroblasts, to identify which signaling pathways are responsible, employing mass spectrometry, subcellular fractionation, immunoblots, and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Several mitochondrial unfolded protein response factors showed accumulation and altered migration in blue-native gels, prominently the co-chaperone DNAJA3. Its mitochondrial dysregulation increased also its extra-mitochondrial abundance in the nucleus, a relevant observation given that DNAJA3 modulates innate immunity. Similar observations were made for STAT1, a putative DNAJA3 interactor. Elevated expression was observed not only for the transcription factors Stat1/2, but also for two interferon-stimulated genes (Ifi44, Gbp3). Inflammatory responses were strongest for the RLR pattern recognition receptors (Ddx58, Ifih1, Oasl2, Trim25) and several cytosolic nucleic acid sensors (Ifit1, Ifit3, Oas1b, Ifi204, Mnda). The consistent dysregulation of these factors from an early age might influence also human Perrault syndrome, where ClpP loss-of-function leads to early infertility and deafness, with subsequent widespread neurodegeneration.
Keywords: Ataxia; Leukodystrophy; MTRNR1; Mitochondrial amino acid tRNA synthetases; POLG; PRLTS3; Release of mtDNA and mtRNA; TWINKLE; cGAS-STING.
© 2021. The Author(s).