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Ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 1 (AOA1) is an early onset progressive spinocerebellar ataxia caused by mutation in aprataxin (APTX). APTX removes 5'-AMP groups from DNA, a product of abortive ligation during DNA repair and replication. APTX deficiency has been suggested to compromise mitochondrial function; however, a detailed characterization of mitochondrial homeostasis in APTX-deficient cells is not available. Here, we show that cells lacking APTX undergo mitochondrial stress and display significant changes in the expression of the mitochondrial inner membrane fusion protein optic atrophy type 1, and components of the oxidative phosphorylation complexes. At the cellular level, APTX deficiency impairs mitochondrial morphology and network formation, and autophagic removal of damaged mitochondria by mitophagy. Thus, our results show that aberrant mitochondrial function is a key component of AOA1 pathology. This work corroborates the emerging evidence that impaired mitochondrial function is a characteristic of an increasing number of genetically diverse neurodegenerative disorders.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Nucleic acids research
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Dominant optic atrophy is a hereditary optic neuropathy causing decreased visual acuity, color vision deficits, a centrocecal scotoma, and optic nerve pallor (Hum. Genet. 1998; 102: 79-86). Mutations leading to this condition have been mapped to the OPA1 gene at chromosome 3q28-q29. OPA1 codes for a dynamin-related GTPase that localizes to mitochondria.
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