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Nitration of Drp1 provokes mitophagy activation mediating neuronal injury in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Li, W;Feng, J;Gao, C;Wu, M;Du, Q;Tsoi, B;Wang, Q;Yang, D;Shen, J;

Active autophagy/mitophagy could mediate neurodegeneration and motor disabilities in multiple sclerosis (MS). Mitochondrial recruitment of dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) is a crucial step to initiate mitophagy. Peroxynitrite (ONOO-) could be a player in MS pathology but the mechanisms remain unknown. We used animal model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and tested whether ONOO- mediates Drp1 assembly in mitochondria for mitophagy and aggravates MS pathology. We found that autophagy/mitophagy activation was coincidently increased with axonal damage, apoptosis and disease progression in active EAE mice, which were remarkably attenuated by mitochondrial division/mitophagy inhibitor Mdivi-1. Importantly, increased ONOO- production was companied with Drp1 mitochondrial recruitment, PINK1/Parkin-mediated mitophagy, axonal degeneration and neuronal cell death, which were reversed by peroxynitrite decomposition catalyst (PDC). Furthermore, ONOO- production induced Drp1 nitration, promoted Drp1 assembly and mitochondrial recruitment for mitophagy activation, contributing to the EAE pathology. Together, we conclude that ONOO- serves as a key mediator in Drp1 nitration modification and assembly for facilitating mitophagy activation. Targeting ONOO–mediated Drp1 assembly and mitochondrial recruitment could be an important therapeutic strategy for multiple sclerosis treatment.