Inefficient thermogenic mitochondrial respiration due to futile proton leak in a mouse model of fragile X syndrome. uri icon


  • Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the leading known inherited intellectual disability and the most common genetic cause of autism. The full mutation results in transcriptional silencing of the Fmr1 gene and loss of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) expression. Defects in neuroenergetic capacity are known to cause a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders. Thus, we explored the integrity of forebrain mitochondria in Fmr1 knockout mice during the peak of synaptogenesis. We found inefficient thermogenic respiration due to futile proton leak in Fmr1 KO mitochondria caused by coenzyme Q (CoQ) deficiency and an open cyclosporine-sensitive channel. Repletion of mitochondrial CoQ within the Fmr1 KO forebrain closed the channel, blocked the pathological proton leak, restored rates of protein synthesis during synaptogenesis, and normalized the key phenotypic features later in life. The findings demonstrate that FMRP deficiency results in inefficient oxidative phosphorylation during the neurodevelopment and suggest that dysfunctional mitochondria may contribute to the FXS phenotype.

publication date

  • June 2020