ALS- and FTD-associated missense mutations in TBK1 differentially disrupt mitophagy.
TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) is a multifunctional kinase with an essential role in mitophagy, the selective clearance of damaged mitochondria. More than 90 distinct mutations in TBK1 are linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and fronto-temporal dementia, including missense mutations that disrupt the abilities of TBK1 to dimerize, associate with the mitophagy receptor optineurin (OPTN), autoactivate, or catalyze phosphorylation. We investigated how ALS-associated mutations in TBK1 affect Parkin-dependent mitophagy using imaging to dissect the molecular mechanisms involved in clearing damaged mitochondria. Some mutations cause severe dysregulation of the pathway, while others induce limited disruption. Mutations that abolish either TBK1 dimerization or kinase activity were insufficient to fully inhibit mitophagy, while mutations that reduced both dimerization and kinase activity were more disruptive. Ultimately, both TBK1 recruitment and OPTN phosphorylation at S177 are necessary for engulfment of damaged mitochondra by autophagosomal membranes. Surprisingly, we find that ULK1 activity contributes to the phosphorylation of OPTN in the presence of either wild-type or kinase-inactive TBK1. In primary neurons, TBK1 mutants induce mitochondrial stress under basal conditions; network stress is exacerbated with further mitochondrial insult. Our study further refines the model for TBK1 function in mitophagy, demonstrating that some ALS-linked mutations likely contribute to disease pathogenesis by inducing mitochondrial stress or inhibiting mitophagic flux. Other TBK1 mutations exhibited much less impact on mitophagy in our assays, suggesting that cell-type-specific effects, cumulative damage, or alternative TBK1-dependent pathways such as innate immunity and inflammation also factor into the development of ALS in affected individuals.
Harding, O; Evans, CS; Ye, J; Cheung, J; Maniatis, T; Holzbaur, ELF
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