Hum Mol Genet. 2024 Jan 27:ddae008. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddae008. Online ahead of print.
In several cases of mitochondrial diseases, the underlying genetic and bioenergetic causes of reduced oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) in mitochondrial dysfunction are well understood. However, there is still limited knowledge about the specific cellular outcomes and factors involved for each gene and mutation, which contributes to the lack of effective treatments for these disorders. This study focused on fibroblasts from a patient with Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy (ADOA) plus syndrome harboring a mutation in the Optic Atrophy 1 (OPA1) gene. By combining functional and transcriptomic approaches, we investigated the mitochondrial function and identified cellular phenotypes associated with the disease. Our findings revealed that fibroblasts with the OPA1 mutation exhibited a disrupted mitochondrial network and function, leading to altered mitochondrial dynamics and reduced autophagic response. Additionally, we observed a premature senescence phenotype in these cells, suggesting a previously unexplored role of the OPA1 gene in inducing senescence in ADOA plus patients. This study provides novel insights into the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial dysfunction in ADOA plus and highlights the potential importance of senescence in disease progression.