The substitution of Proline with Serine at residue 56 (P56S) of vesicle-associated membrane protein-associated protein B (VAPB) has been linked to an atypical autosomal dominant form of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 8 (ALS8). To investigate the pathogenic mechanism of P56S VAPB in ALS, we generated transgenic (Tg) mice that heterologously express human wild-type (WT) and P56S VAPB under the control of a pan-neuronal promoter Thy1.2. While WT VAPB Tg mice did not exhibit any overt motor behavioral phenotypes, P56S VAPB Tg mice developed progressive hyperactivities and other motor abnormalities. VAPB protein was accumulated as large punctate in the soma and proximal dendrites of both corticospinal motor neurons (CSMNs) and spinal motor neurons (SMNs) in P56S VAPB Tg mice. Concomitantly, a significant increase of endoplasmic reticulum stress and unfolded protein response and the resulting up-regulation of pro-apoptotic factor CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein expression were observed in the CSMNs and SMNs of P56S VAPB Tg mice. However, only a progressive loss of CSMNs but not SMNs was found in P56S VAPB Tg mice. In SMNs, P56S VAPB promoted a rather selective translocation of VAPB protein onto the postsynaptic site of C-boutons that altered the morphology of C-boutons and impaired the spontaneous rhythmic discharges of SMNs. Therefore, these findings provide new pathophysiological mechanisms of P56S VAPB that differentially affect the function and survival of CSMNs and SMNs in ALS8.
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is enriched in the striatal projection neurons (SPNs). Here we show that LRRK2 negatively regulates protein kinase A (PKA) activity in the SPNs during synaptogenesis and in response to dopamine receptor Drd1 activation. LRRK2 interacted with PKA regulatory subunit IIβ (PKARIIβ). A lack of LRRK2 promoted the synaptic translocation of PKA and increased PKA-mediated phosphorylation of actin-disassembling enzyme cofilin and glutamate receptor GluR1, resulting in abnormal synaptogenesis and transmission in the developing SPNs. Furthermore, PKA-dependent phosphorylation of GluR1 was also aberrantly enhanced in the striatum of young and aged LRRK2-null mice after treatment with a Drd1 agonist. Notably, a Parkinson’s disease-related LRRK2 R1441C missense mutation that impaired the interaction of LRRK2 with PKARIIβ also induced excessive PKA activity in the SPNs. Our findings reveal a new regulatory role of LRRK2 in PKA signaling, and provide a new pathogenic mechanism of SPN dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease.
Subpopulations of dopaminergic (DA) neurons within the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) display a differential vulnerability to loss in Parkinson’s disease (PD); however, it is not clear why these subsets are preferentially selected in PD-associated neurodegeneration. In rodent SNpc, DA neurons can be divided into two subpopulations based on the expression of aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1A1). Here, we have shown that, in α-synuclein transgenic mice, a murine model of PD-related disease, DA neurodegeneration occurs mainly in a dorsomedial ALDH1A1-negative subpopulation that is also prone to cytotoxic aggregation of α-synuclein. Notably, the topographic ALDH1A1 pattern observed in α-synuclein transgenic mice was conserved in human SNpc. Postmortem evaluation of brains of patients with PD revealed a severe reduction of ALDH1A1 expression and neurodegeneration in the ventral ALDH1A1-positive DA subpopulations. ALDH1A1 expression was also suppressed in α-synuclein transgenic mice. Deletion of Aldh1a1 exacerbated α-synuclein–mediated DA neurodegeneration and α-synuclein aggregation, whereas Aldh1a1-null and control DA neurons were comparably susceptible to 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium–, glutamate-, or camptothecin-induced cell death. ALDH1A1 overexpression appeared to preferentially protect against α-synuclein–mediated DA neurodegeneration but did not rescue α-synuclein–induced loss of cortical neurons. Together, our findings suggest that ALDH1A1 protects subpopulations of SNpc DA neurons by preventing the accumulation of dopamine aldehyde intermediates and formation of cytotoxic α-synuclein oligomers.
Recent genome-wide association studies indicate that a simple alteration of Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) gene expression may contribute to the etiology of sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the expression and regulation of LRRK2 protein in the sporadic PD brains remain to be determined. Here, we found that the expression of LRRK2 protein was enhanced in the sporadic PD patients using the frontal cortex tissue from a set of 16 PD patients and 7 control samples. In contrast, no significant difference was detected in the level of LRRK2 mRNA expression between the control and PD cases, suggesting a potential post-transcriptional modification of the LRRK2 protein expression in the sporadic PD brains. Indeed, it was identified that microRNA-205 (miR-205) suppressed the expression of LRRK2 protein through a conserved-binding site at the 3′-untranslated region (UTR) of LRRK2 gene. Interestingly, miR-205 expression was significantly downregulated in the brains of patients with sporadic PD, showing the enhanced LRRK2 protein levels. Also, in vitro studies in the cell lines and primary neuron cultures further established the role of miR-205 in modulating the expression of LRRK2 protein. In addition, introduction of miR-205 prevented the neurite outgrowth defects in the neurons expressing a PD-related LRRK2 R1441G mutant. Together, these findings suggest that downregulation of miR-205 may contribute to the potential pathogenic elevation of LRRK2 protein in the brains of patients with sporadic PD, while overexpression of miR-205 may provide an applicable therapeutic strategy to suppress the abnormal upregulation of LRRK2 protein in PD.
Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are strongly associated with late-onset autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease. LRRK2 is highly expressed in immune cells and recent work points towards a link between LRRK2 and innate immunity. Here we demonstrate that stimulation of the Toll-Like Receptor (TLR) pathway by MyD88-dependent agonists in bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) or RAW264.7 macrophages induces marked phosphorylation of LRRK2 at Ser910 and Ser935, the phosphorylation sites that regulate the binding of 14-3-3 to LRRK2. Phosphorylation of these residues is prevented by knock-out of MyD88 in BMDMs, but not the alternative TLR adaptor protein TRIF. Utilising both pharmacological inhibitors, including a new TAK1 inhibitor, NG25, and genetic models, we provide evidence that both the canonical (IKKα and IKKβ) and IKK-related (IKKε and TBK1) kinases mediate TLR agonist induced phosphorylation of LRRK2 in vivo. Moreover, all four IKK members directly phosphorylate LRRK2 at Ser910 and Ser935 in vitro. Consistent with previous work describing Ser910 and Ser935 as pharmacodynamic biomarkers of LRRK2 activity, we find that the TLR independent basal phosphorylation of LRRK2 at Ser910 and Ser935 is abolished following treatment of macrophages with LRRK2 kinase inhibitors. However, the increased phosphorylation of Ser910 and Ser935 induced by activation of the MyD88 pathway is insensitive to LRRK2 kinase inhibitors. Finally, employing LRRK2-deficient BMDMs, we present data indicating that LRRK2 does not play a major role in regulating the secretion of inflammatory cytokines induced by activation of the MyD88 pathway. Our findings provide the first direct link between LRRK2 and the IKKs that mediate many immune responses. Further work is required to uncover the physiological roles that phosphorylation of LRRK2 by IKKs play in controlling macrophage biology and to determine how phosphorylation of LRRK2 by IKKs impacts upon the use of Ser910 and Ser935 as pharmacodynamic biomarkers.
Mutations in α-synuclein and Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are linked to autosomal dominant forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, little is known about any potential pathophysiological interplay between these two PD-related genes. Here we show in transgenic mice that although over-expression of LRRK2 alone did not cause neurodegeneration, the presence of excess LRRK2 greatly accelerated the progression of neuropathological abnormalities developed in PD-related A53T α-synuclein transgenic mice. Moreover, we found that LRRK2 promoted the abnormal aggregation and somatic accumulation of α-synuclein in A53T mice, likely resulted from the impairment of microtubule dynamics, Golgi organization, and ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Conversely, genetic ablation of LRRK2 preserved the Golgi structure, suppressed the aggregation and somatic accumulation of α-synuclein, and thereby delayed the progression of neuropathology in A53T mice. These findings demonstrate that over-expression of LRRK2 enhances α-synuclein-mediated cytotoxicity and suggest inhibition of LRRK2 expression as a potential therapeutic option for ameliorating α-synuclein-induced neurodegeneration.
LRRK2; G2019S; α-synuclein; A53T; Golgi apparatus; microtubule; ubiquitin; mitochondria; aggregation; transgenic; knockout; Parkinson’s disease
Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) functions as a putative protein kinase of ezrin, radixin, and moesin (ERM) family proteins. A Parkinson's disease-related G2019S substitution in the kinase domain of LRRK2 further enhances the phosphorylation of ERM proteins. The phosphorylated ERM proteins (pERM) are restricted to the filopodia of growing neurites where they tether filamentous actin (F-actin) to the cytoplasmic membrane and regulate the dynamics of filopodia protrusion. Here, we show that in cultured neurons derived from LRRK2 G2019S transgenic mice, the number of pERM-positive and F-actin-enriched filopodia was significantly increased, and this correlates with the retardation of neurite outgrowth. Conversely, deletion of LRRK2, which lowered the pERM and F-actin contents in filopodia, promoted neurite outgrowth. Furthermore, inhibition of ERM phosphorylation or actin polymerization rescued the G2019S-dependent neuronal growth defects. These data support a model in which the G2019S mutation of LRRK2 causes a gain of function effect that perturbs the homeostasis of pERM and F-actin in sprouting neurites critical for neuronal morphogenesis.
LRRK2; G2019S; ERM; phosphorylation; filamentous actin; neuronal morphogenesis; Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most common movement disorder. While neuronal deposition of α-synuclein serves as a pathological hallmark of PD and Dementia with Lewy Bodies, α-synuclein-positive protein aggregates are also present in astrocytes. The pathological consequence of astrocytic accumulation of α-synuclein, however, is unclear.
Here we show that PD-related A53T mutant α-synuclein, when selectively expressed in astrocytes, induced rapidly progressed paralysis in mice. Increasing accumulation of α-synuclein aggregates was found in presymptomatic and symptomatic mouse brains and correlated with the expansion of reactive astrogliosis. The normal function of astrocytes was compromised as evidenced by cerebral microhemorrhage and down-regulation of astrocytic glutamate transporters, which also led to increased inflammatory responses and microglial activation. Interestingly, the activation of microglia was mainly detected in the midbrain, brainstem and spinal cord, where a significant loss of dopaminergic and motor neurons was observed. Consistent with the activation of microglia, the expression level of cyclooxygenase 1 (COX-1) was significantly up-regulated in the brain of symptomatic mice and in cultured microglia treated with conditioned medium derived from astrocytes over-expressing A53T α-synuclein. Consequently, the suppression of COX-1 activities extended the survival of mutant mice, suggesting that excess inflammatory responses elicited by reactive astrocytes may contribute to the degeneration of neurons.
Our findings demonstrate a critical involvement of astrocytic α-synuclein in initiating the non-cell autonomous killing of neurons, suggesting the viability of reactive astrocytes and microglia as potential therapeutic targets for PD and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Dysfunction of alsin, particularly its putative Rab5 guanine-nucleotide-exchange factor activity, has been linked to one form of juvenile onset recessive familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS2). Multiple lines of alsin knockout (ALS2-/-) mice have been generated to model this disease. However, it remains elusive whether the Rab5-dependent endocytosis is altered in ALS2-/- neurons. To directly examine the Rab5-mediated endosomal trafficking in ALS2-/- neurons, we introduced green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Rab5 into cultured hippocampal neurons to monitor the morphology and motility of Rab5-associated early endosomes. Here we report that Rab5-mediated endocytosis was severely altered in ALS2-/-neurons. Excessive accumulation of Rab5-positive vesicles was observed in ALS2-/- neurons, which correlated with a significant reduction in endosomal motility and augmentation in endosomal conversion to lysosomes. Consequently, a significant increase in endosome/lysosome-dependent degradation of internalized glutamate receptors was observed in ALS2-/- neurons. These phenotypes closely resembled the endosomal trafficking abnormalities induced by a constitutively active form of Rab5 in wild-type neurons. Therefore, our findings reveal a negatively regulatory mechanism of alsin in Rab5-mediated endosomal trafficking, suggesting that enhanced endosomal degradation in ALS2-/- neurons may underlie the pathogenesis of motor neuron degeneration in ALS2 and related motor neuron diseases.
β-site APP cleavage enzyme 1 (BACE1) is the β-secretase responsible for generating amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Previous studies suggest that activation of protein kinase C (PKC) modulates the β-secretase-mediated cleavage of APP and reduces the production of Aβ. The mechanism of PKC-mediated modulation of β-secretase activity, however, remains elusive. We report here that activation of PKC modulated β-secretase activity through either suppressing the accumulation or promoting the translocation of BACE1 protein in a cell type-dependent manner. We found that activation of PKC suppressed the accumulation of BACE1 protein in fibroblasts through an enhancement of intracellular protease activities. In neurons, activation of PKC did not alter the expression level of BACE1, but led to more BACE1 translocated to the cell surface, resulting in a decreased cleavage of APP at the β1 site. Together, Our findings provide novel mechanisms of PKC-mediated modulation of β-secretase activity, suggesting that alteration of the intracellular trafficking of BACE1 may serve as a useful therapeutic strategy to lower the production of Aβ in AD.
BACE1; APP; PKC; protein degradation; protein translocation; amyloid β; β-secretase; fibroblast; neuron
Parkinson’s disease (PD), a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by bradykinesia, rigidity, and resting tremor, is the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder. Although the majority of PD cases are sporadic, some are inherited, including those caused by leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) mutations. The substitution of serine for glycine at position 2019 (G2019S) in the kinase domain of LRRK2 represents the most prevalent genetic mutation in both familial and apparently sporadic cases of PD. Because mutations in LRRK2 are likely associated with a toxic gain of function, destabilization of LRRK2 may be a novel way to limit its detrimental effects. Here we show that LRRK2 forms a complex with heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) in vivo and that inhibition of Hsp90 disrupts the association of Hsp90 with LRRK2 and leads to proteasomal degradation of LRRK2. Hsp90 inhibitors may therefore limit the mutant LRRK2-elicited toxicity to neurons. As a proof of principle, we show that Hsp90 inhibitors rescue the axon growth retardation caused by overexpression of the LRRK2 G2019S mutation in neurons. Therefore, inhibition of LRRK2 kinase activity can be achieved by blocking Hsp90-mediated chaperone activity and Hsp90 inhibitors may serve as potential anti-PD drugs.
Hsp90; LRRK2; G2019S; Parkinson’s disease; protein degradation; chaperone
Autosomal recessive mutations in the ALS2 gene have been linked to juvenile-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS2), primary lateral sclerosis and juvenile-onset ascending hereditary spastic paraplegia. Except for two recently identified missense mutations, all other mutations in the ALS2 gene lead to a premature stop codon and likely abrogate all the potential functions of alsin, the protein encoded by the ALS2 gene. To study the pathologic mechanisms of ALS2 deficiency, four different lines of ALS2 knockout (ALS2−/−) mice have been generated by independent groups. The loss of ALS2/alsin does not have a drastic effect on the survival or function of motor neurons in mice. However, subtle deficits observed in the behavior and pathology of these mice have aided in our understanding of the relationship between alsin and motor neuron dysfunction. In this review, we summarize and reconcile major findings of ALS2−/− mice and attempt to place these results within the larger context of modeling recessive movement disorders in mice.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ALS2; Alsin; Knockout mice; Mouse model; Guanine nucleotide exchange factor; Primary lateral sclerosis; Hereditary spastic paraplegia
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common adult-onset motor neuron disease is caused by a selective loss of motor neurons. One form of juvenile onset autosomal recessive ALS (ALS2) has been linked to the loss of function of the ALS2 gene. The pathogenic mechanism of ALS2-deficiency, however, remains unclear. To further understand the function of alsin that is encoded by the full-length ALS2 gene, we screened proteins interacting with alsin. Here, we report that alsin interacted with glutamate receptor interacting protein 1 (GRIP1) both in vitro and in vivo, and colocalized with GRIP1 in neurons. In support of the physiological interaction between alsin and GRIP1, the subcellular distribution of GRIP1 was altered in ALS2-/- spinal motor neurons, which correlates with a significant reduction of AMPA-type glutamate receptor subunit 2 (GluR2) at the synaptic/cell surface of ALS2-/- neurons. The decrease of calcium-impermeable GluR2-containing AMPA receptors at the cell/synaptic surface rendered ALS2-/- neurons more susceptible to glutamate receptor-mediated neurotoxicity. Our findings reveal a novel function of alsin in AMPA receptor trafficking and provide a novel pathogenic link between ALS2-deficiency and motor neuron degeneration, suggesting a protective role of alsin in maintaining the survival of motor neurons.
ALS2; knock-out mouse; motor neuron; GRIP1; AMPA receptor; excitotoxicity
Autosomal recessive mutations in the ALS2 gene have been linked to juvenile-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS2), primary lateral sclerosis and juvenile-onset ascending hereditary spastic paraplegia. Except for two recently identified missense mutations, all other mutations in the ALS2 gene lead to a premature stop codon and likely abrogate all the potential functions of alsin, the protein encoded by the ALS2 gene. To study the pathologic mechanisms of ALS2 deficiency, four different lines of ALS2 knockout (ALS2–/–) mice have been generated by independent groups. The loss of ALS2/alsin does not have a drastic effect on the survival or function of motor neurons in mice. However, subtle deficits observed in the behavior and pathology of these mice have aided in our understanding of the relationship between alsin and motor neuron dysfunction. In this review, we summarize and reconcile major findings of ALS2–/– mice and attempt to place these results within the larger context of modeling recessive movement disorders in mice.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; ALS2; Alsin; Knockout mice; Mouse model; Guanine nucleotide exchange factor; Primary lateral sclerosis; Hereditary spastic paraplegia
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common motor neuron disease, is caused by a selective loss of motor neurons in the CNS. Mutations in the ALS2 gene have been linked to one form of autosomal recessive juvenile onset ALS (ALS2). To investigate the pathogenic mechanisms of ALS2, we generated ALS2 knock-out (ALS2−/−) mice. Although ALS2−/− mice lacked obvious developmental abnormalities, they exhibited age-dependent deficits in motor coordination and motor learning. Moreover, ALS2−/− mice showed a higher anxiety response in the open-field and elevated plus-maze tasks. Although they failed to recapitulate clinical or neuropathological phenotypes consistent with motor neuron disease by 20 months of age, ALS2−/− mice or primary cultured neurons derived from these mice were more susceptible to oxidative stress compared with wild-type controls. These observations suggest that loss of ALS2 function is insufficient to cause major motor deficits or motor neuron degeneration in a mouse model but predisposes neurons to oxidative stress.
ALS2; knock-out mouse; motor neuron; motor coordination; motor learning; oxidative stress
One form of juvenile onset autosomal recessive amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS2) has been linked to the dysfunction of the ALS2 gene. The ALS2 gene is expressed in lymphoblasts, however, whether ALS2-deficiency affects periphery blood is unclear. Here we report that ALS2 knockout (ALS2−/−) mice developed peripheral lymphopenia but had higher proportions of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in which the stem cell factor-induced cell proliferation was up-regulated. Our findings reveal a novel function of the ALS2 gene in the lymphopoiesis and hematopoiesis, suggesting that the immune system is involved in the pathogenesis of ALS2.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); ALS2; ALS2 knockout mice; lymphopenia; hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells; cytokine-stimulated proliferation; stroma