Effects of carbonic anhydrase-related protein VIII on human cells harbouring an A8344G mitochondrial DNA mutation

Tze Kai Wang, Che Kun Cheng, Tang Hao Chi, Yi Shing Ma, Shi Bei Wu, Yau Huei Wei, Mingli Hsieh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

8 Scopus citations


MERRF (myoclonus epilepsy associated with ragged-red fibres) is a maternally inherited mitochondrial encephalomyopathy with various syndromes involving both muscular and nervous systems. The most common mutation in MERRF syndrome, the A8344G mutation in mtDNA, has been associated with severe defects in the respiratory function of mitochondria. In the present study, we show that there is a significant decrease in CA8 (carbonic anhydrase-related protein VIII) in cybrids harbouring the MERRF A8344G mutation. CA8 deficiency and mutations were found to be associated with a distinctive lifelong gait disorder in wdl (Waddles) mice and novel syndromes characterized by cerebellar ataxia andmental retardation in humans. The results of the present study showed that overexpression of CA8 in MERRF cybrids significantly decreased cell death induced by STS (staurosporine) treatment, suggesting a protective function of CA8 in cells harbouring the A8344G mutation of mtDNA. Interestingly, an increase in the formation of LC3-II (microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3-II) was found in the cybrids with downregulated CA8 expression, suggesting that reduced expression of CA8 leads to autophagy activation. Furthermore, cybrids exhibiting down-regulated CA8 showed increased cytosolic Ca2+signals and reduced levels of phospho-Akt compared with those in the cybrids with overexpressed CA8, indicating that phospho-Akt is involved in the protection of cells by CA8. Our findings suggest that CA8 is involved in the autophagic pathway and may have a protective role in cultured cells from patients with MERRF. Targeting CA8 and the downstream autophagic pathway might help develop therapeutic agents for treatment of MERRF syndrome in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-160
Number of pages12
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 01 04 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Carbonic anhydrase-related protein VIII (CA8)
  • Mitochondrion
  • Myoclonus epilepsy associated with ragged-red fibres (MERRF)
  • mtDNA point mutation


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