1. Cardiolipin Deficiency
2. TCA Cycle Dysfunction
3. Anaplerotic Pathways
4. Cellular Metabolism
5. Genetic Metabolic Diseases

In the intricate mosaic of cellular metabolism, the importance of maintaining a fluent and efficient energy supply chain cannot be overstated. The news that emerges from the depths of biomolecular research often shines a light on previously undervalued players in this process, influencing our understanding of both health and disease. One recent study, initially published in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, and later amended through a corrigendum, dives into the world of anaplerotic pathways and their critical role in cells deficient in cardiolipin.
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2019.04.014

The study in question, titled “Cardiolipin-deficient cells depend on anaplerotic pathways to ameliorate defective TCA cycle function,” (Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids. 2019 May;1864(5):654-661. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2019.04.014) by Raja Vaishnavi V. and colleagues from Wayne State University and the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, explored the implications of cardiolipin deficiency on the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, a central hub of cellular metabolism. The need for the corrigendum, which clarified results and corrected data, underscores the fastidious nature of scientific research and the commitment to accuracy in the scientific community.

Background on Cardiolipin and its Role

Cardiolipin, a unique anionic phospholipid, localizes predominantly to the inner mitochondrial membrane, where it plays a pivotal role in several aspects of mitochondrial function, including the organization of respiratory chain complexes and the optimization of electron transport. Cardiolipin deficiency is a feature of Barth syndrome, a genetic metabolic disease, and has been implicated in the development of various conditions, such as heart failure and neurodegenerative diseases.

The Original Findings

The original work by Vaishnavi and her team identified a critical issue—cells lacking sufficient cardiolipin levels exhibit impaired TCA cycle functionality. The TCA cycle is essential for generating energy (in the form of ATP) through the oxidation of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. In cells with compromised cardiolipin, the researchers anticipated a dramatic energy deficit. However, their findings revealed that such cells could survive, suggesting the activation of compensatory mechanisms.

Corrigendum and its Implications

The publication of the corrigendum brought to light deeper details, offering a clearer view of the implicated pathways. It became evident that cardiolipin-deficient cells rely heavily on anaplerotic pathways to mitigate the effects of disrupted TCA cycle function. Anaplerotic pathways, which replenish TCA cycle intermediates, become crucial for the survival and functionality of these cells.

The Role of Anaplerotic Pathways

In normal cells, anaplerotic reactions are a routine part of metabolism—think of them as metabolic top-ups that keep the TCA cycle well-stocked with its necessary precursors. For cardiolipin-deficient cells, however, the reliance on these pathways is heightened. One such anaplerotic pathway involves the conversion of pyruvate to oxaloacetate by means of pyruvate carboxylase.

Impacts on Cellular Metabolism and Disease

Understanding the upregulation of anaplerotic pathways in response to cardiolipin deficiency is not just a matter of satisfying academic curiosity; it has tangible implications for the treatment of related diseases. Therapeutic targeting of these pathways could potentially offer new avenues to mitigate energy deficits in tissues afflicted by cardiolipin-related dysfunctions, an exciting prospect for personalized medicine.

Future Perspectives

The discovery prompts a reassessment of metabolic flexibility in diseased states. How might the alteration of anaplerotic flux contribute to the progression of genetic metabolic diseases? Could interventions aimed at modifying these pathways prove beneficial? The study paves the way for future research to explore such questions, which could lead to novel therapeutics and management strategies.


The corrigendum to “Cardiolipin-deficient cells depend on anaplerotic pathways to ameliorate defective TCA cycle function” serves as a reminder of the evolving nature of science, where the path to understanding is punctuated by corrections and clarifications. The study of cardiolipin-deficient cells and their dependence on anaplerotic processes offers a glimpse into the resilience of cellular metabolism—a system that is constantly adapting to maintain homeostasis, even against the backdrop of genetic anomalies.


1. Vaishnavi, V. R et al. (2019). Corrigendum to “Cardiolipin-deficient cells depend on anaplerotic pathways to ameliorate defective TCA cycle function” [Biochim. Biophys. Acta, Mol. Cell Biol. Lipids 1864/5(2019) 654-661]. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, 1183. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2019.04.014
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