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posted on 18.03.2022, 13:30 authored by Keunjung Heo, Himanish Basu, Amos Gutnick, Wei Wei, Evgeny Shlevkov, Thomas L. Schwarz

Microtubule-based transport provides mitochondria to distant regions of neurons and is essential for neuronal health. To identify compounds that increase mitochondrial motility, we screened 1,641 small-molecules in a high-throughput screening platform. Indirubin and cantharidin increased mitochondrial motility in rat cortical neurons. Cantharidin is known to inhibit protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). We therefore tested two other inhibitors of PP2A: LB-100 and okadaic acid. LB-100 increased mitochondrial motility, but okadaic acid did not. To resolve this discrepancy, we knocked down expression of the catalytic subunit of PP2A (PP2CA). This long-term inhibition of PP2A more than doubled retrograde transport of axonal mitochondria, confirming the importance of PP2A as a regulator of mitochondrial motility and as the likely mediator of cantharidin’s effect.

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