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Reversible Mitochondrial Fragmentation in iPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes from Children with DCMA, a Mitochondrial Cardiomyopathy

By Leili Rohani, Pranav Machiraju, Rasha Sabouny, Guoliang Meng, Shiying Liu, Tian Zhao, Fatima Iqbal, Amir Ravandi, Joseph C Wu, Aneal Khan, Timothy Shutt, Derrick Rancourt, Steven C. Greenway

Posted 12 Aug 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/732339 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.cjca.2019.09.021)

Background: The dilated cardiomyopathy with ataxia syndrome (DCMA) is an understudied autosomal recessive disease caused by loss-of-function mutations in the poorly characterized gene DNAJC19. Clinically, DCMA is commonly associated with heart failure and early death in affected children through an unknown mechanism. DCMA has been linked to Barth syndrome, a rare but well-studied disorder caused by deficient maturation of cardiolipin (CL), a key mitochondrial membrane phospholipid. Methods: Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from two children with DCMA and severe cardiac dysfunction were reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Patient and control iPSCs were differentiated into beating cardiomyocytes (iPSC-CMs) using a metabolic selection strategy and mitochondrial structure and CL content before and after incubation with the mitochondrially-targeted peptide SS-31 were quantified. Results: Patient iPSCs carry the causative DNAJC19 mutation (rs137854888) found in the Hutterite population and the iPSC-CMs demonstrated highly fragmented and abnormally-shaped mitochondria associated with an imbalanced isoform ratio of the mitochondrial protein OPA1, an important regulator of mitochondrial fusion. These abnormalities were reversible by incubation with SS-31 for 24 hours. Differentiation of iPSCs into iPSC-CMs increased the number of CL species observed but consistent, significant differences in CL content were not seen between patients and control. Conclusions: We describe a unique and novel cellular model that provides insight into the mitochondrial abnormalities present in DCMA and identifies SS-31 as a potential therapeutic for this devastating disease.

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