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Decreased OLA1 (Obg-Like ATPase-1) Expression Drives Ubiquitin-Proteasome Pathways to Downregulate Mitochondrial SOD2 (Superoxide Dismutase) in Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn. Hypertension 2019 Oct;74(4):957-966



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85072134040 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   20 Citations


Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) is a failure of pulmonary vascular resistance to decline at birth rapidly. One principal mechanism implicated in PPHN development is mitochondrial oxidative stress. Expression and activity of mitochondrial SOD2 (superoxide dismutase) are decreased in PPHN; however, the mechanism remains unknown. Recently, OLA1 (Obg-like ATPase-1) was shown to act as a critical regulator of proteins controlling cell response to stress including Hsp70, an obligate chaperone for SOD2. Here, we investigated whether OLA1 is causally linked to PPHN. Compared with controls, SOD2 expression is reduced in distal-pulmonary arteries (PAs) from patients with PPHN and fetal-lamb models. Disruptions of the SOD2 gene reproduced PPHN phenotypes, manifested by elevated right ventricular systolic pressure, PA-endothelial cells apoptosis, and PA-smooth muscle cells proliferation. Analyses of SOD2 protein dynamics revealed higher ubiquitinated-SOD2 protein levels in PPHN-lambs, suggesting dysregulated protein ubiquitination. OLA1 controls multiple proteostatic mechanisms and is overexpressed in response to stress. We demonstrated that OLA1 acts as a molecular chaperone, and its activity is induced by stress. Strikingly, OLA1 expression is decreased in distal-PAs from PPHN-patients and fetal-lambs. OLA1 deficiency enhanced CHIP affinity for Hsp70-SOD2 complexes, facilitating SOD2 degradation. Consequently, mitochondrial H2O2 formation is impaired, leading to XIAP (X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis) overexpression that suppresses caspase activity in PA-smooth muscle cells, allowing them to survive and proliferate, contributing to PA remodeling. In-vivo, ola1-/- downregulated SOD2 expression, induced distal-PA remodeling, and right ventricular hypertrophy. We conclude that decreased OLA1 expression accounts for SOD2 downregulation and, therefore, a therapeutic target in PPHN treatments.

Author List

Schultz A, Olorundami OA, Teng RJ, Jarzembowski J, Shi ZZ, Kumar SN, Pritchard K Jr, Konduri GG, Afolayan AJ


Adeleye James Afolayan MD Associate Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Jason A. Jarzembowski MD, PhD Sr Associate Dean, CEO CSG, Professor in the Pathology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Girija Ganesh Konduri MD Chief, Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Suresh Kumar PhD Associate Professor in the Pathology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Kirkwood A. Pritchard PhD Professor in the Surgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Ru-Jeng Teng MD Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Adenosine Triphosphatases
GTP-Binding Proteins
Hydrogen Peroxide
Infant, Newborn
Oxidative Stress
Persistent Fetal Circulation Syndrome
Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
Reactive Oxygen Species
Superoxide Dismutase
X-Linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein