Merck

Cysteine Toxicity Drives Age-Related Mitochondrial Decline by Altering Iron Homeostasis.

Cell (2020-01-25)
Casey E Hughes, Troy K Coody, Mi-Young Jeong, Jordan A Berg, Dennis R Winge, Adam L Hughes
RESUMEN

Mitochondria and lysosomes are functionally linked, and their interdependent decline is a hallmark of aging and disease. Despite the long-standing connection between these organelles, the function(s) of lysosomes required to sustain mitochondrial health remains unclear. Here, working in yeast, we show that the lysosome-like vacuole maintains mitochondrial respiration by spatially compartmentalizing amino acids. Defects in vacuole function result in a breakdown in intracellular amino acid homeostasis, which drives age-related mitochondrial decline. Among amino acids, we find that cysteine is most toxic for mitochondria and show that elevated non-vacuolar cysteine impairs mitochondrial respiration by limiting intracellular iron availability through an oxidant-based mechanism. Cysteine depletion or iron supplementation restores mitochondrial health in vacuole-impaired cells and prevents mitochondrial decline during aging. These results demonstrate that cysteine toxicity is a major driver of age-related mitochondrial deterioration and identify vacuolar amino acid compartmentation as a cellular strategy to minimize amino acid toxicity.

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