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248 Mitochondrial Fate of Regenerative Hematopoietic Stem Cells Is Sequentially Controlled By Two Specific Conformations of Connexin-43

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Type: Oral
Session: 501. Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Biology: New Insights into the Molecular Regulation of Hematopoietic Stem Cells
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
HSCs, cell division, Biological Processes, Cell Lineage, hematopoiesis
Saturday, December 5, 2020: 2:00 PM

Abhishek K Singh, PhD1, Ashley M Wellendorf, B.S.2*, Breanna Bohan, B.S.3*, Daniel Gonzalez-Nieto, PhD4*, Luis C Barrio, MD, PhD5*, Ashwini S. Hinge, PhD2*, Marie-Dominique Filippi, PhD6 and Jose A. Cancelas, MD7

1Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center & Hoxworth Blood Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
2Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
3University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
4Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
5Hospital Ramon y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
6Stem Cell Program, Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, OH
7Hoxworth Blood Center, Univ. of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH

Restricted mitochondrial metabolism with low mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) and membrane potential are essential properties of repopulating hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Upon regenerative stress, as found after chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy, HSC exit quiescence, proliferate and differentiate into mature blood cells. Understanding the mechanism controlling hematopoiesis regeneration upon replicative stress is expected to provide molecular targets for amelioration of chemotherapy induced toxicity on HSC.

Recent evidence demonstrates that the coordinated regulation of mitochondrial dynamics and the clearance of damaged mitochondria are the critical determinants of HSC fate decisions. Upon myeloablative stress, hematopoietic connexin 43 (H-Cx43), a major component of the gap junctions (GJ) present in the cell, lysosome and mitochondrial membranes, preserves the survival and efficient blood formation of regenerating HSC and progenitors (HSPC) by the transfer of damaging excess ROS, preventing HSPC apoptosis and lethal hematology failure. The protective role of H-Cx43 depends on the regulation of cell-contact dependent mitochondrial transfer to BM mesenchymal stromal cells.

Mitochondrial homeostasis is maintained by coordinated regulation of mitochondrial fission, fusion and lysosome dependent mitophagy. We hypothesized that hematopoietic Cx43 may exert a mitochondrial autonomous activity affecting the ability of HSC to regenerate. We created HSC mitochondrial reporter mice with hematopoietic deficiency of Cx43 (H-Cx43D/D) and analyzed mitochondrial dynamics and fate in quiescent and dividing HSC. While quiescent Cx43D/D HSC function normally, Cx43 deficiency results in increased mitochondrial ROS and membrane depolarization in cycling HSC. Time lapsed imaging of photo-converted mitochondria indicate that mitochondria of Cx43D/D cycling HSC split into highly-motile, smaller fragments. Interestingly, the activating phosphorylation (Ser616) of the mitochondrial fission protein, Drp1 and its accumulation within mitochondria is higher in Cx43D/D dividing HSC. The recruitment of Drp1 to mitochondria is regulated by mitochondrial membrane adaptors Mff and Fis1. Expression of Fis1, but not Mff, is significantly increased in Cx43D/D cycling HSC. In contrast, the components of mitochondrial fusion machinery Mfn2 and active Drp1 (phospho-Drp1-Ser637) are significantly attenuated in dividing Cx43D/D HSC, suggesting that HSC Cx43 promotes mitochondrial fusion and stability, and inhibits mitochondrial fragmentation. Increased mitochondrial fission in dividing Cx43D/D HSC facilitates mitophagy as indicated by increased co-localization of mitochondria with the ubiquitin kinase Pink1 which simultaneously recruits the E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin, autophagosome p62 and Lc3, and the lysosomal membrane protein Lamp2 on the surface of dysfunctional mitochondria. Additionally, increased phosphorylation of Ampk (Tyr172) and Ulk1 (Ser555) in mitochondria of cycling Cx43D/D HSC demonstrate that H-Cx43 is a negative regulator of Ampk dependent mitophagy in diving HSC. Inhibition of the Drp1 GTPase activity by expression of the dominant negative Drp1-K38A mutant prevents mitochondrial fragmentation, motility and mitophagy of dividing Cx43D/D HSC, confirming that the inhibitory effect on mitophagy of Cx43 depends on its role on mitochondrial fission. Expression of Cx43 structure-function mutants (cys-less mutant with impaired head-to-head hemichannel docking, but not hemichannel function; and C-terminus truncated D257 mutant with impaired signaling and intramolecular interactions needed for channel gating) in H-Cx43D/D HSC demonstrated that the negative regulatory role of Cx43 on mitochondrial fission requires functional Cx43 hemichannels while the constitutive inhibitory effect of H-Cx43 on mitophagy depends on the formation of complete functional GJ channels. Our results identify for first time the sequential role of two distinct conformations of mitochondrial H-Cx43 dependent channels on the control of mitochondrial fate: fission and mitophagy, in cycling HSC. This data provides novel targets for ex-vivo intervention to preserve HSC activity by transfer of genetically manipulated mitochondria.

Disclosures: Cancelas: NIH: Consultancy, Research Funding; US DoD: Research Funding; Westat Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Cytosorbents: Research Funding; Velico LLC: Consultancy, Research Funding; Hemanext Inc.: Consultancy, Research Funding; TerumoBCT: Consultancy, Research Funding; Cerus Corp: Research Funding.

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