• Substrate Reduction Therapy Reverses Mitochondrial, mTOR, and Autophagy Alterations in a Cell Model of Gaucher Disease

      Peng, Yanyan; Liou, Benjamin; Lin, Yi; Fannin, Venette; Zhang, Wujuan; Feldman, Ricardo A; Setchell, Kenneth D R; Grabowski, Gregory A; Sun, Ying (MDPI AG, 2021-09-02)
      Substrate reduction therapy (SRT) in clinic adequately manages the visceral manifestations in Gaucher disease (GD) but has no direct effect on brain disease. To understand the molecular basis of SRT in GD treatment, we evaluated the efficacy and underlying mechanism of SRT in an immortalized neuronal cell line derived from a Gba knockout (Gba-/-) mouse model. Gba-/- neurons accumulated substrates, glucosylceramide, and glucosylsphingosine. Reduced cell proliferation was associated with altered lysosomes and autophagy, decreased mitochondrial function, and activation of the mTORC1 pathway. Treatment of the Gba-/- neurons with venglustat analogue GZ452, a central nervous system-accessible SRT, normalized glucosylceramide levels in these neurons and their isolated mitochondria. Enlarged lysosomes were reduced in the treated Gba-/- neurons, accompanied by decreased autophagic vacuoles. GZ452 treatment improved mitochondrial membrane potential and oxygen consumption rate. Furthermore, GZ452 diminished hyperactivity of selected proteins in the mTORC1 pathway and improved cell proliferation of Gba-/- neurons. These findings reinforce the detrimental effects of substrate accumulation on mitochondria, autophagy, and mTOR in neurons. A novel rescuing mechanism of SRT was revealed on the function of mitochondrial and autophagy-lysosomal pathways in GD. These results point to mitochondria and the mTORC1 complex as potential therapeutic targets for treatment of GD.