• Authors: Izzo, A., Manco, R., Bonfiglio, F., Cali, G., De Cristofaro, T., Patergnani, S., Cicatiello, R., Scrima, R., Zannini, M., Pinton, P., Conti, A., Nitsch, L.
  • Year: 2014
  • Journal: Hum Mol Genet 23 4406-19
  • Applications: in vitro / siRNA / INTERFERin
  • Cell type: Human foreskin fibroblasts


5-20 nM


Mitochondrial dysfunction, which is consistently observed in Down syndrome (DS) cells and tissues, might contribute to the severity of the DS phenotype. Our recent studies on DS fetal hearts and fibroblasts have suggested that one of the possible causes of mitochondrial dysfunction is the downregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1alpha or PPARGC1A)--a key modulator of mitochondrial function--and of several nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes (NEMGs). Re-analysis of publicly available expression data related to manipulation of chromosome 21 (Hsa21) genes suggested the nuclear receptor interacting protein 1 (NRIP1 or RIP140) as a good candidate Hsa21 gene for NEMG downregulation. Indeed, NRIP1 is known to affect oxidative metabolism and mitochondrial biogenesis by negatively controlling mitochondrial pathways regulated by PGC-1alpha. To establish whether NRIP1 overexpression in DS downregulates both PGC-1alpha and NEMGs, thereby causing mitochondrial dysfunction, we used siRNAs to decrease NRIP1 expression in trisomic human fetal fibroblasts. Levels of PGC-1alpha and NEMGs were increased and mitochondrial function was restored, as shown by reactive oxygen species decrease, adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) production and mitochondrial activity increase. These findings indicate that the Hsa21 gene NRIP1 contributes to the mitochondrial dysfunction observed in DS. Furthermore, they suggest that the NRIP1-PGC-1alpha axe might represent a potential therapeutic target for restoring altered mitochondrial function in DS.