SCAN1-TDP1 trapping on mitochondrial DNA promotes mitochondrial dysfunction and mitophagy

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Science Advances  06 Nov 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 11, eaax9778
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax9778


A homozygous mutation of human tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (TDP1) causes the neurodegenerative syndrome, spinocerebellar ataxia with axonal neuropathy (SCAN1). TDP1 hydrolyzes the phosphodiester bond between DNA 3′-end and a tyrosyl moiety within trapped topoisomerase I (Top1)-DNA covalent complexes (Top1cc). TDP1 is critical for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) repair; however, the role of mitochondria remains largely unknown for the etiology of SCAN1. We demonstrate that mitochondria in cells expressing SCAN1-TDP1 (TDP1H493R) are selectively trapped on mtDNA in the regulatory non-coding region and promoter sequences. Trapped TDP1H493R-mtDNA complexes were markedly increased in the presence of the Top1 poison (mito-SN38) when targeted selectively into mitochondria in nanoparticles. TDP1H493R-trapping accumulates mtDNA damage and triggers Drp1-mediated mitochondrial fission, which blocks mitobiogenesis. TDP1H493R prompts PTEN-induced kinase 1–dependent mitophagy to eliminate dysfunctional mitochondria. SCAN1-TDP1 in mitochondria creates a pathological state that allows neurons to turn on mitophagy to rescue fit mitochondria as a mechanism of survival.

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