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PloS one

Caenorhabditis elegans as a Model System for Studying Drug Induced Mitochondrial Toxicity.


PMID 25970180

Abstract

Today HIV-1 infection is recognized as a chronic disease with obligatory lifelong treatment to keep viral titers below detectable levels. The continuous intake of antiretroviral drugs however, leads to severe and even life-threatening side effects, supposedly by the deleterious impact of nucleoside-analogue type compounds on the functioning of the mitochondrial DNA polymerase. For detailed investigation of the yet partially understood underlying mechanisms, the availability of a versatile model system is crucial. We therefore set out to develop the use of Caenorhabditis elegans to study drug induced mitochondrial toxicity. Using a combination of molecular-biological and functional assays, combined with a quantitative analysis of mitochondrial network morphology, we conclude that anti-retroviral drugs with similar working mechanisms can be classified into distinct groups based on their effects on mitochondrial morphology and biochemistry. Additionally we show that mitochondrial toxicity of antiretroviral drugs cannot be exclusively attributed to interference with the mitochondrial DNA polymerase.

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