CoA-dependent activation of mitochondrial acyl carrier protein links four neurodegenerative diseases

Roald A. Lambrechts, Hein Schepers, Yi Yu, Marianne van der Zwaag, Kaija J. Autio, Marcel A. Vieira-Lara, Barbara M. Bakker, Marina A. Tijssen, Susan J. Hayflick, Nicola A. Grzeschik, Ody C.M. Sibon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


PKAN, CoPAN, MePAN, and PDH-E2 deficiency share key phenotypic features but harbor defects in distinct metabolic processes. Selective damage to the globus pallidus occurs in these genetic neurodegenerative diseases, which arise from defects in CoA biosynthesis (PKAN, CoPAN), protein lipoylation (MePAN), and pyruvate dehydrogenase activity (PDH-E2 deficiency). Overlap of their clinical features suggests a common molecular etiology, the identification of which is required to understand their pathophysiology and design treatment strategies. We provide evidence that CoA-dependent activation of mitochondrial acyl carrier protein (mtACP) is a possible process linking these diseases through its effect on PDH activity. CoA is the source for the 4′-phosphopantetheine moiety required for the posttranslational 4′-phosphopantetheinylation needed to activate specific proteins. We show that impaired CoA homeostasis leads to decreased 4′-phosphopantetheinylation of mtACP. This results in a decrease of the active form of mtACP, and in turn a decrease in lipoylation with reduced activity of lipoylated proteins, including PDH. Defects in the steps of a linked CoA-mtACP-PDH pathway cause similar phenotypic abnormalities. By chemically and genetically re-activating PDH, these phenotypes can be rescued, suggesting possible treatment strategies for these diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10488
JournalEMBO Molecular Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • 4′-phosphopantetheinylation
  • Coenzyme A
  • NBIA
  • mtACP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine


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