Mitochondrial-targeted aryl hydrocarbon receptor and the impact of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on cellular respiration and the mitochondrial proteome


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Abstract

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor within the Per-Arnt-Sim (PAS) domain superfamily. Exposure to the most potent AHR ligand, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), is associated with various pathological effects including metabolic syndrome. While research over the last several years has demonstrated a role for oxidative stress and metabolic dysfunction in AHR-dependent TCDD-induced toxicity, the role of the mitochondria in this process has not been fully explored. Our previous research suggested that a portion of the cellular pool of AHR could be found in the mitochondria (mitoAHR). Using a protease protection assay with digitonin extraction, we have now shown that this mitoAHR is localized to the inter-membrane space (IMS) of the organelle. TCDD exposure induced a degradation of mitoAHR similar to that of cytosolic AHR. Furthermore, siRNA-mediated knockdown revealed that translocase of outer-mitochondrial membrane 20 (TOMM20) was involved in the import of AHR into the mitochondria. In addition, TCDD altered cellular respiration in an AHR-dependent manner to maintain respiratory efficiency as measured by oxygen consumption rate (OCR). Stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) identified a battery of proteins within the mitochondrial proteome influenced by TCDD in an AHR-dependent manner. Among these, 17 proteins with fold changes ≥ 2 are associated with various metabolic pathways, suggesting a role of mitochondrial retrograde signaling in TCDD-mediated pathologies. Collectively, these studies suggest that mitoAHR is localized to the IMS and AHR-dependent TCDD-induced toxicity, including metabolic dysfunction, wasting syndrome, and hepatic steatosis, involves mitochondrial dysfunction.Graphical abstractHighlightsThe mitoAHR is localized in the mitochondrial intermembrane space.TOMM20 participates in mitoAHR translocation.AHR contributes to the maintenance of respiratory control ratio following TCDD exposure.TCDD-induced AHR-dependent changes in the mitochondrial proteome are identified.

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