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Cytopathological Outcomes of Knocking Down Expression of Mitochondrial Complex II Subunits in Dictyostelium discoideum

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Mitochondrial Complex II is composed of four core subunits and mutations to any of the subunits result in lowered Complex II activity. Surprisingly, although mutations in any of the subunits can yield similar clinical outcomes, there are distinct differences in the patterns of clinical disease most commonly associated with mutations in different subunits. Thus, mutations to the SdhA subunit most often result in mitochondrial disease phenotypes, whilst mutations to the other subunits SdhB-D more commonly result in tumour formation. The reason the clinical outcomes are so different is unknown. Here, we individually antisense-inhibited three of the Complex II subunits, SdhA, SdhB or SdhC, in the simple model organism Dictyostelium discoideum. Whilst SdhB and SdhC knockdown resulted in growth defects on bacterial lawns, antisense inhibition of SdhA expression resulted in a different pattern of phenotypic defects, including impairments of growth in liquid medium, enhanced intracellular proliferation of the bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila and phagocytosis. Knockdown of the individual subunits also produced different abnormalities in mitochondrial function with only SdhA knockdown resulting in broad mitochondrial dysfunction. Furthermore, these defects were shown to be mediated by the chronic activation of the cellular energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase. Our results are in agreement with a role for loss of function of SdhA but not the other Complex II subunits in impairing mitochondrial oxidative phosphor-ylation and they suggest a role for AMP-activated protein kinase in mediating the cytopathological outcomes.


Publication Date



International Journal of Molecular Sciences






(p. 5039-5039)





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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (