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Mitochondrial biogenesis relies on different protein import machinery, as mitochondrial proteins are imported from the cytosol. The mitochondrial intermembrane space assembly (MIA) pathway consists of GFER/ALR and CHCHD4/Mia40, responsible for importing proteins and their oxidative folding inside the mitochondria. The MIA pathway plays an essential role in complex IV (COX IV) biogenesis via importing copper chaperone COX17, associated with the respiratory chain. BPA, an environmental toxicant, found in consumable plastics, causes neurotoxicity via impairment in mitochondrial dynamics, neurogenesis, and cognitive functions. We studied the levels of key regulatory proteins of mitochondrial import pathways and mitochondrial biogenesis after BPA exposure in the rat hippocampus. BPA caused a significant reduction in the levels of mitochondrial biogenesis proteins (PGC1α, and TFAM) and mitochondrial import protein (GFER). Immunohistochemical analysis showed reduced co-localization of NeuN with GFER, PGC-1α, and TFAM suggesting impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and protein import. BPA exposure resulted in damaged mitochondria with distorted cristae in neurons and caused a significant reduction in GFER localization inside IMS as depicted by immunogold electron microscopy. The reduced levels of GFER resulted in defective COX17 import. The translocation of cytochrome c into the cytosol and increased cleaved caspase-3 levels triggered apoptosis due to BPA toxicity. Overall, our study implicates GFER as a potential target for impaired mitochondrial protein machinery, biogenesis, and apoptosis against BPA neurotoxicity in the rat hippocampus. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Shweta Goyal, Saurabh Tiwari, Brashket Seth, Ankit Tandon, Jai Shankar, Meetali Sinha, Sangh Jyoti Singh, Smriti Priya, Rajnish Kumar Chaturvedi. Bisphenol-A inhibits mitochondrial biogenesis via impairment of GFER mediated mitochondrial protein import in the rat brain hippocampus. Neurotoxicology. 2021 Jul;85:18-32

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PMID: 33878312

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