Neuronal Gtf2i deletion alters mitochondrial and autophagic properties

Commun Biol. 2023 Dec 14;6(1):1269. doi: 10.1038/s42003-023-05612-5.


Gtf2i encodes the general transcription factor II-I (TFII-I), with peak expression during pre-natal and early post-natal brain development stages. Because these stages are critical for proper brain development, we studied at the single-cell level the consequences of Gtf2i's deletion from excitatory neurons, specifically on mitochondria. Here we show that Gtf2i's deletion resulted in abnormal morphology, disrupted mRNA related to mitochondrial fission and fusion, and altered autophagy/mitophagy protein expression. These changes align with elevated reactive oxygen species levels, illuminating Gtf2i's importance in neurons mitochondrial function. Similar mitochondrial issues were demonstrated by Gtf2i heterozygous model, mirroring the human condition in Williams syndrome (WS), and by hemizygous neuronal Gtf2i deletion model, indicating Gtf2i's dosage-sensitive role in mitochondrial regulation. Clinically relevant, we observed altered transcript levels related to mitochondria, hypoxia, and autophagy in frontal cortex tissue from WS individuals. Our study reveals mitochondrial and autophagy-related deficits shedding light on WS and other Gtf2i-related disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autophagy / genetics
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors, TFIII* / genetics
  • Transcription Factors, TFIII* / metabolism
  • Williams Syndrome* / genetics
  • Williams Syndrome* / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors, TFIII
  • GTF2I protein, human