MicroRNA-7 promotes glycolysis to protect against 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium-induced cell death [Neurobiology]

March 26th, 2015 by Chaudhuri, A. D., Kabaria, S., Choi, D. C., Mouradian, M. M., Junn, E.

Parkinson′s disease (PD) is associated with decreased activity of the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC). This defect can be recapitulated in vitro by challenging dopaminergic cells with 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP+), a neurotoxin that inhibits complex I of ETC. Consequently, oxidative phosphorylation is blocked, and cells become dependent on glycolysis for ATP production. Therefore, increasing the rate of glycolysis might help cells to produce more ATP in order to meet their energy demands. In the present study, we show that microRNA-7, a non-coding RNA that protects dopaminergic neuronal cells against MPP+-induced cell death, promotes glycolysis in dopaminergic SH-SY5Y and differentiated human neural progenitor ReNcell VM cells, as evidenced by increased ATP production, glucose consumption and lactic acid production. Through a series of experiments, we demonstrate that targeted repression of RelA by microRNA-7, and subsequent increase in the neuronal glucose transporter 3 (Glut3) underlies this glycolysis-promoting effect. Consistently, silencing Glut3 expression diminishes the protective effect of microRNA-7 against MPP+. Further, microRNA-7 fails to prevent MPP+-induced cell death when SH-SY5Y cells are cultured in a low glucose medium, and when differentiated ReNcell VM cells or primary mouse neurons are treated with the hexokinase inhibitor, 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG), indicating that a functional glycolytic pathway is required for this protective effect. In conclusion, microRNA-7, by downregulating RelA, augments Glut3 expression, promotes glycolysis, and subsequently prevents MPP+-induced cell death. This protective effect of microRNA-7 could be exploited to correct the defects in oxidative phosphorylation in PD.