Peruzzo R, Corrà S, Costa R, Brischigliaro M, Varanita T, Biasutto L, Rampazzo C, Ghezzi D, Leanza L, Zoratti M, Zeviani M, De Pittà C, Viscomi C, Costa R, Szabò I
Mitochondrial diseases impair oxidative phosphorylation and ATP production, while effective treatment is still lacking. Defective complex III is associated with a highly variable clinical spectrum. We show that pyocyanin, a bacterial redox cycler, can replace the redox functions of complex III, acting as an electron shunt. Sub-μM pyocyanin was harmless, restored respiration and increased ATP production in fibroblasts from five patients harboring pathogenic mutations in TTC19, BCS1L or LYRM7, involved in assembly/stabilization of complex III. Pyocyanin normalized the mitochondrial membrane potential, and mildly increased ROS production and biogenesis. These in vitro effects were confirmed in both DrosophilaTTC19KO and in Danio rerioTTC19KD, as administration of low concentrations of pyocyanin significantly ameliorated movement proficiency. Importantly, daily administration of pyocyanin for two months was not toxic in control mice. Our results point to utilization of redox cyclers for therapy of complex III disorders.