Folding and assembly defects of pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency-related variants in the E1α subunit of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex
The pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) bridges glycolysis and the citric acid cycle. In human, PDC deficiency leads to severe neurodevelopmental delay and progressive neurodegeneration. The majority of cases are caused by variants in the gene encoding the PDC subunit E1α. The molecular effects of the variants, however, remain poorly understood. Using yeast as a eukaryotic model system, we have studied the substitutions A189V, M230V, and R322C in yeast E1α (corresponding to the pathogenic variants A169V, M210V, and R302C in human E1α) and evaluated how substitutions of single amino acid residues within different functional E1α regions affect PDC structure and activity. The E1α A189V substitution located in the heterodimer interface showed a more compact conformation with significant underrepresentation of E1 in PDC and impaired overall PDC activity. The E1α M230V substitution located in the tetramer and heterodimer interface showed a relatively more open conformation and was particularly affected by low thiamin pyrophosphate concentrations. The E1α R322C substitution located in the phosphorylation loop of E1α resulted in PDC lacking E3 subunits and abolished overall functional activity. Furthermore, we show for the E1α variant A189V that variant E1α accumulates in the Hsp60 chaperonin, but can be released upon ATP supplementation. Our studies suggest that pathogenic E1α variants may be associated with structural changes of PDC and impaired folding of E1α.
KeywordsPDHA1 Genetic disorder Mutation Brain development Single-particle electron microscopy Mitochondria
This work has been supported by the Centre for Stochastic Geometry and Advanced Bioimaging (CSGB; supported by the Villum Foundation), the Danish Council for Independent Research to BS as well as the Lundbeck Foundation, the Danish Council for Independent Research, Danish Center for Scientific Computing (DCSC), and the Carlsberg Foundation to MMG.
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