Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-linked fused in sarcoma/translocated in liposarcoma (FUS/TLS or FUS) is concentrated within cytoplasmic stress granules under conditions of induced stress. Since only the mutants, but not the endogenous wild-type FUS, are associated with stress granules under most of the stress conditions reported to date, the relationship between FUS and stress granules represents a mutant-specific phenotype and thus may be of significance in mutant-induced pathogenesis. While the association of mutant-FUS with stress granules is well established, the effect of the mutant protein on stress granules has not been examined. Here we investigated the effect of mutant-FUS on stress granule formation and dynamics under conditions of oxidative stress.
We found that expression of mutant-FUS delays the assembly of stress granules. However, once stress granules containing mutant-FUS are formed, they are more dynamic, larger and more abundant compared to stress granules lacking FUS. Once stress is removed, stress granules disassemble more rapidly in cells expressing mutant-FUS. These effects directly correlate with the degree of mutant-FUS cytoplasmic localization, which is induced by mutations in the nuclear localization signal of the protein. We also determine that the RGG domains within FUS play a key role in its association to stress granules. While there has been speculation that arginine methylation within these RGG domains modulates the incorporation of FUS into stress granules, our results demonstrate that this post-translational modification is not involved.
Our results indicate that mutant-FUS alters the dynamic properties of stress granules, which is consistent with a gain-of-toxic mechanism for mutant-FUS in stress granule assembly and cellular stress response.
Stress granule; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; FUS/TLS; Oxidative stress
Mutations in the gene encoding parkin, a neuroprotective protein with dual functions as an E3 ubiquitin ligase and transcriptional repressor of p53, are linked to familial forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). We hypothesized that oxidative posttranslational modification of parkin by environmental toxins may contribute to sporadic PD.
We first demonstrated that S-nitrosylation of parkin decreased its activity as a repressor of p53 gene expression, leading to upregulation of p53. Chromatin immunoprecipitation as well as gel-shift assays showed that parkin bound to the p53 promoter, and this binding was inhibited by S-nitrosylation of parkin. Additionally, nitrosative stress induced apoptosis in cells expressing parkin, and this death was, at least in part, dependent upon p53. In primary mesencephalic cultures, pesticide-induced apoptosis was prevented by inhibition of nitric oxide synthase (NOS). In a mouse model of pesticide-induced PD, both S-nitrosylated (SNO-)parkin and p53 protein levels were increased, while administration of a NOS inhibitor mitigated neuronal death in these mice. Moreover, the levels of SNO-parkin and p53 were simultaneously elevated in postmortem human PD brain compared to controls.
Taken together, our data indicate that S-nitrosylation of parkin, leading to p53-mediated neuronal cell death, contributes to the pathophysiology of sporadic PD.
Nitric oxide (NO); S-nitrosylation; Parkin; p53; Nitrosative stress; Parkinson’s disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder involving both upper motor neurons (UMN) and lower motor neurons (LMN). Enormous research has been done in the past few decades in unveiling the genetics of ALS, successfully identifying at least fifteen candidate genes associated with familial and sporadic ALS. Numerous studies attempting to define the pathogenesis of ALS have identified several plausible determinants and molecular pathways leading to motor neuron degeneration, which include oxidative stress, glutamate excitotoxicity, apoptosis, abnormal neurofilament function, protein misfolding and subsequent aggregation, impairment of RNA processing, defects in axonal transport, changes in endosomal trafficking, increased inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction. This review is to update the recent discoveries in genetics of ALS, which may provide insight information to help us better understanding of the disease neuropathogenesis.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Disease-related gene mutations; Autophagy; Apoptosis; Oxidative stress; Glutamate excitotoxicity
Accumulation of β-amyloid peptides is an important hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Tremendous efforts have been directed to elucidate the mechanisms of β-amyloid peptides degradation and develop strategies to remove β-amyloid accumulation. In this study, we demonstrated that a subpopulation of oligodendroglial precursor cells, also called NG2 cells, were a new cell type that can clear β-amyloid peptides in the AD transgene mice and in NG2 cell line.
NG2 cells were recruited and clustered around the amyloid plaque in the APPswe/PS1dE9 mice, which is Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. In vitro, NG2 cell line and primary NG2 cells engulfed β-amyloid peptides through the mechanisms of endocytosis in a time dependent manner. Endocytosis is divided into pinocytosis and phagocytosis. Aβ42 internalization by NG2 cells was mediated by actin-dependent macropinocytosis. The presence of β-amyloid peptides stimulated the autophagic pathway in NG2 cells. Once inside the cells, the β-amyloid peptides in NG2 cells were transported to lysosomes and degraded by autophagy.
Our findings suggest that NG2 cells are a new cell type that can clear β-amyloid peptides through endocytosis and autophagy.
Alzheimer’s disease; β-amyloid degradation; Autophagy; Endocytosis; NG2 cells
The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors are key mediators of excitatory transmission and are implicated in many forms of synaptic plasticity. These receptors are heterotetrameres consisting of two obligatory NR1 and two regulatory subunits, usually NR2A or NR2B. The NR2B subunits are abundant in the early postnatal brain, while the NR2A/NR2B ratio increases during early postnatal development. This shift is driven by NMDA receptor activity. A functional interplay of the Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor Related Protein 1 (LRP1) NMDA receptor has already been reported. Such abilities as interaction of LRP1 with NMDA receptor subunits or its important role in tPa-mediated NMDA receptor signaling were already demonstrated. Moreover, mice harboring a conditional neuronal knock-out mutation of the entire Lrp1 gene display NMDA-associated behavioral changes. However, the exact role of LRP1 on NMDA receptor function remains still elusive.
To provide a mechanistic explanation for such effects we investigated whether an inactivating knock-in mutation into the NPxY2 motif of LRP1 might influence the cell surface expression of LRP1 and NMDA receptors in primary cortical neurons. Here we demonstrate that a knock-in into the NPxY2 motif of LRP1 results in an increased surface expression of LRP1 and NR2B NMDA receptor subunit due to reduced endocytosis rates of LRP1 and the NR2B subunit in primary neurons derived from LRP1ΔNPxY2 animals. Furthermore, we demonstrate an altered phosphorylation pattern of S1480 and Y1472 in the NR2B subunit at the surface of LRP1ΔNPxY2 neurons, while the respective kinases Fyn and casein kinase II are not differently regulated compared with wild type controls. Performing co-immunoprecipitation experiments we demonstrate that binding of LRP1 to NR2B might be linked by PSD95, is phosphorylation dependent and this regulation mechanism is impaired in LRP1ΔNPxY2 neurons. Finally, we demonstrate hyperactivity and changes in spatial and reversal learning in LRP1ΔNPxY2 mice, confirming the mechanistic interaction in a physiological readout.
In summary, our data demonstrate that LRP1 plays a critical role in the regulation of NR2B expression at the cell surface and may provide a mechanistic explanation for the behavioral abnormalities detected in neuronal LRP1 knock-out animals reported earlier.
LRP1; NPxY2 motif; NMDA receptor; NR1; NR2B receptor subunit; PSD95; Cell surface expression
Evidence has been mounting for an involvement of the prion protein (PrP) in a molecular pathway assumed to play a critical role in the etiology of Alzheimer disease. A currently popular model sees oligomeric amyloid β (oAβ) peptides bind directly to PrP to emanate a signal that causes activation of the cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase Fyn, an essential player in a cascade of events that ultimately leads to NMDA receptor-mediated excitotoxicity and hyper-phosphorylation of tau. The model does not reveal, however, how extracellular binding of oAβ to PrP is communicated across the plasma membrane barrier to affect activation of Fyn. A scenario whereby PrP may adapt a transmembrane topology to affect Fyn activation in the absence of additional partners is currently not supported by evidence. A survey of known candidate PrP interactors leads to a small number of molecules that are known to acquire a transmembrane topology and understood to contribute to Fyn activation. Because multiple signaling pathways converge onto Fyn, a realistic model needs to take into account a reality of Fyn acting as a hub that integrates signals from multiple inhibitory and activating effectors. To clarify the role of PrP in oAβ-dependent excitotoxicity, future studies may need to incorporate experimental designs that can probe the contributions of Fyn modulator pathways and rely on analogous readouts, rather than threshold effects, known to underlie excitotoxic signaling.
Alzheimer disease; Amyloid β peptide; Fyn; Prion protein; Tau; Excitotoxicity
Most neurons are born with the potential to live for the entire lifespan of the organism. In addition, neurons are highly polarized cells with often long axons, extensively branched dendritic trees and many synaptic contacts. Longevity together with morphological complexity results in a formidable challenge to maintain synapses healthy and functional. This challenge is often evoked to explain adult-onset degeneration in numerous neurodegenerative disorders that result from otherwise divergent causes. However, comparably little is known about the basic cell biological mechanisms that keep normal synapses alive and functional in the first place. How the basic maintenance mechanisms are related to slow adult-onset degeneration in different diseasesis largely unclear. In this review we focus on two basic and interconnected cell biological mechanisms that are required for synaptic maintenance: endomembrane recycling and calcium (Ca2+) homeostasis. We propose that subtle defects in these homeostatic processes can lead to late onset synaptic degeneration. Moreover, the same basic mechanisms are hijacked, impaired or overstimulated in numerous neurodegenerative disorders. Understanding the pathogenesis of these disorders requires an understanding of both the initial cause of the disease and the on-going changes in basic maintenance mechanisms. Here we discuss the mechanisms that keep synapses functional over long periods of time with the emphasis on their role in slow adult-onset neurodegeneration.
Neurodegeneration; Endosome; Autophagy; Alzheimer’s disease; Calcium; Presenilin; Amyloid; Huntington’s disease; Hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy; Lysosomal storage disorder; Ataxia; Calcineurin; Excitotoxicity
There is no effective therapeutic intervention developed targeting cerebrovascular toxicity of drugs of abuse, including methamphetamine (METH). We hypothesize that exercise protects against METH-induced disruption of the blood–brain barrier (BBB) by enhancing the antioxidant capacity of cerebral microvessels and modulating caveolae-associated signaling. Mice were subjected to voluntary wheel running for 5 weeks resembling the voluntary pattern of human exercise, followed by injection with METH (10 mg/kg). The frequency, duration, and intensity of each running session were monitored for each mouse via a direct data link to a computer and the running data are analyzed by Clock lab™ Analysis software. Controls included mice sedentary that did not have access to running wheels and/or injections with saline.
METH induced oxidative stress in brain microvessels, resulting in up regulation of caveolae-associated NAD(P)H oxidase subunits, and phosphorylation of mitochondrial protein 66Shc. Treatment with METH disrupted also the expression and colocalization of tight junction proteins. Importantly, exercise markedly attenuated these effects and protected against METH-induced disruption of the BBB integrity.
The obtained results indicate that exercise is an important modifiable behavioral factor that can protect against METH-induced cerebrovascular toxicity. These findings may provide new strategies in preventing the toxicity of drug of abuse.
Methamphetamine; Drug abuse; Exercise; Blood-brain; Oxidative stress; Tight junctions
Retinal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is an important cause of visual impairment. However, questions remain on the overall I/R mechanisms responsible for progressive damage to the retina. In this study, we used a mouse model of I/R and characterized the pathogenesis by analyzing temporal changes of retinal morphology and function associated with changes in retinal gene expression. Transient ischemia was induced in one eye of C57BL/6 mice by raising intraocular pressure to 120 mmHg for 60 min followed by retinal reperfusion by restoring normal pressure. At various time points post I/R, retinal changes were monitored by histological assessment with H&E staining and by SD-OCT scanning. Retinal function was also measured by scotopic ERG. Temporal changes in retinal gene expression were analyzed using cDNA microarrays and real-time RT-PCR. In addition, retinal ganglion cells and gliosis were observed by immunohistochemistry. H&E staining and SD-OCT scanning showed an initial increase followed by a significant reduction of retinal thickness in I/R eyes accompanied with cell loss compared to contralateral control eyes. The greatest reduction in thickness was in the inner plexiform layer (IPL) and inner nuclear layer (INL). Retinal detachment was observed at days 3 and 7 post- I/R injury. Scotopic ERG a- and b-wave amplitudes and implicit times were significantly impaired in I/R eyes compared to contralateral control eyes. Microarray data showed temporal changes in gene expression involving various gene clusters such as molecular chaperones and inflammation. Furthermore, immunohistochemical staining confirmed Müller cell gliosis in the damaged retinas. The time-dependent changes in retinal morphology were significantly associated with functional impairment and altered retinal gene expression. We demonstrated that I/R-mediated morphological changes the retina closely associated with functional impairment as well as temporal changes in retinal gene expression. Our findings will provide further understanding of molecular pathogenesis associated with ischemic injury to the retina.
A rare variant in the Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) gene has been reported to be a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease by two independent groups (Odds ratio between 2.9-4.5). Given the key role of TREM2 in the effective phagocytosis of apoptotic neuronal cells by microglia, we hypothesized that dysfunction of TREM2 may play a more generalized role in neurodegeneration. With this in mind we set out to assess the genetic association of the Alzheimer’s disease-related risk variant in TREM2 (rs75932628, p.R47H) with other related neurodegenerative disorders.
The study included 609 patients with frontotemporal dementia, 765 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, 1493 with Parkinson’s disease, 772 with progressive supranuclear palsy, 448 with ischemic stroke and 1957 controls subjects free of neurodegenerative disease. A significant association was observed for the TREM2 p.R47H substitution in susceptibility to frontotemporal dementia (OR = 5.06; p-value = 0.001) and Parkinson’s disease (OR = 2.67; p-value = 0.026), while no evidence of association with risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, progressive supranuclear palsy or ischemic stroke was observed.
Our results suggest that the TREM2 p.R47H substitution is a risk factor for frontotemporal dementia and Parkinson’s disease in addition to Alzheimer’s disease. These findings suggest a more general role for TREM2 dysfunction in neurodegeneration, which could be related to its role in the immune response.
TREM2; Frontotemporal dementia; Parkinson disease; Genetic association
The diagnostic guidelines of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have recently been updated to include brain imaging and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers, with the aim of increasing the certainty of whether a patient has an ongoing AD neuropathologic process or not. The CSF biomarkers total tau (T-tau), hyperphosphorylated tau (P-tau) and the 42 amino acid isoform of amyloid β (Aβ42) reflect the core pathologic features of AD, which are neuronal loss, intracellular neurofibrillary tangles and extracellular senile plaques. Since the pathologic processes of AD start decades before the first symptoms, these biomarkers may provide means of early disease detection. The updated guidelines identify three different stages of AD: preclinical AD, mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to AD and AD with dementia. In this review, we aim to summarize the CSF biomarker data available for each of these stages. We also review results from blood biomarker studies. In summary, the core AD CSF biomarkers have high diagnostic accuracy both for AD with dementia and to predict incipient AD (MCI due to AD). Longitudinal studies on healthy elderly and recent cross-sectional studies on patients with dominantly inherited AD mutations have also found biomarker changes in cognitively normal at-risk individuals. This will be important if disease-modifying treatment becomes available, given that treatment will probably be most effective early in the disease. An important prerequisite for this is trustworthy analyses. Since measurements vary between studies and laboratories, standardization of analytical as well as pre-analytical procedures will be essential. This process is already initiated. Apart from filling diagnostic roles, biomarkers may also be utilized for prognosis, disease progression, development of new treatments, monitoring treatment effects and for increasing the knowledge about pathologic processes coupled to the disease. Hence, the search for new biomarkers continues. Several candidate biomarkers have been found in CSF, and although biomarkers in blood have been harder to find, some recent studies have presented encouraging results. But before drawing any major conclusions, these results need to be verified in independent studies.
Alzheimer’s disease; Cerebrospinal fluid; Blood; Biomarker; Amyloid β; Total tau; Phosphorylated tau; Diagnosis; Disease stages
Though the precise cause(s) of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) remain unknown, there is strong evidence that decreased clearance of β-amyloid (Aβ) from the brain can contribute to the disease. Therapeutic strategies to promote natural Aβ clearance mechanisms, such as the protein apolipoprotein-E (APOE), hold promise for the treatment of AD. The amount of APOE in the brain is regulated by nuclear receptors including retinoid X receptors (RXRs). Drugs that activate RXRs, including bexarotene, can increase APOE and ABCA1 production, and have been shown to decrease the Aβ burden and improve cognition in mouse models of Aβ amyloidosis. Although recent bexarotene studies failed to replicate the rapid clearance of Aβ from brains, behavioral and cognitive effects of this compound remain controversial.
In efforts to clarify these behavioral findings, mutant APP/PS1 mice were acutely dosed with bexarotene. While ABCA1 was upregulated in mutant APP/PS1 mice treated with bexarotene, this drug failed to attenuate Aβ plaques or cognitive deficits in these mice.
We recommend rigorous preclinical study to evaluate the mechanism and utility of such a compound for AD therapy.
Bexarotene; Alzheimer’s disease; Mouse model; RXR agonist; APOE; Cognition
Genetic studies have established a causative role for α-synuclein (αS) in Parkinson’s disease (PD), and the presence of αS aggregates in the form of Lewy body (LB) and Lewy neurite (LN) protein inclusions are defining pathological features of PD. Recent data has established that extracellular αS aggregates can induce intracellular αS pathologies supporting the hypothesis that αS pathology can spread via a “prion-like” self-templating mechanism.
Here we investigated the potential for conformational templating of αS intracellular aggregates by seeding using recombinant wild-type and PD-linked mutant (A53T and E46K) αS in primary mixed neuronal-glial cultures. We find that wild-type and A53T αS fibrils predominantly seed flame-like inclusions in both neurons and astrocytes of mixed primary cultures; whereas the structurally distinct E46K fibrils seed punctate, rounded inclusions. Notably, these differences in seeded inclusion formation in these cultures reflect differences in inclusion pathology seen in transgenic mice expressing the A53T or E46K αS mutants. We further show that the inclusion morphology is dictated primarily by the seed applied rather than the form of αS expressed. We also provide initial evidence that αS inclusion pathology can be passaged in primary astrocyte cultures.
These studies establish for the first time that αS aggregation in cultured cells can occur by a morphological self-templating mechanism.
α-Synuclein; Parkinson’s disease; Self-templating; Amyloid; Prion
Recent findings suggest that the pathological effects of apoE4, the most prevalent genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), start many years before the onset of the disease and are already detectable at a young age. In the present study we investigated the extent to which such pathological and cognitive impairments also occur in young apoE4 mice.
This study revealed that the levels of the presynaptic glutamatergic vesicular transporter, VGlut, in the CA3, CA1, and DG hippocampal subfields were lower in hippocampal neurons of young (4-month-old) apoE4-targeted replacement mice than in those of the apoE3 mice. In contrast, the corresponding inhibitory GABAergic nerve terminals and perikarya were not affected by apoE4.
This synaptic effect was associated with hyperphosphorylation of tau in these neurons. In addition, apoE4 increased the accumulation of neuronal Aβ42 and induced mitochondrial changes, both of which were specifically pronounced in CA3 neurons. Spatial navigation behavioral studies revealed that these hippocampal pathological effects of apoE4 are associated with corresponding behavioral impairments. Time-course studies revealed that the effects of apoE4 on tau hyperphosphorylation and the mitochondria were already apparent at the age of 1 month and that the apoE4-driven accumulation of neuronal Aβ and reduced VGlut levels evolve later and are apparent at the age of 2–4 months. Furthermore, the levels of tau phosphorylation decrease in apoE3 mice and increase in apoE4 mice between 1 and 4 months, whereas the levels of Aβ42 decrease in apoE3 mice and are not affected in apoE4 mice over the same time period.
These findings show that apoE4 stimulates the accumulation of Aβ42 and hyperphosphorylated tau and reduces the levels of VGlut in hippocampal neurons of young apoE4-targeted replacement mice and that these neurochemical effects are associated with cognitive impairments. This model is not associated with hypothesis-driven mechanistic manipulations and is thus most suitable for unbiased studies of the mechanisms underlying the pathological effects of apoE4.
Recent research in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) field has been focused on the potential role of the amyloid-β protein that is derived from the transmembrane amyloid precursor protein (APP) in directly mediating cognitive impairment in AD. Transgenic mouse models overexpressing APP develop robust AD-like amyloid pathology in the brain and show various levels of cognitive decline. In the present study, we examined the cognition of the BRI2-Aβ transgenic mouse model in which secreted extracellular Aβ1-40, Aβ1-42 or both Aβ1-40/Aβ1-42 peptides are generated from the BRI-Aβ fusion proteins encoded by the transgenes. BRI2-Aβ mice produce high levels of Aβ peptides and BRI2-Aβ1-42 mice develop amyloid pathology that is similar to the pathology observed in mutant human APP transgenic models.
Using established behavioral tests that reveal deficits in APP transgenic models, BRI2-Aβ1-42 mice showed completely intact cognitive performance at ages both pre and post amyloid plaque formation. BRI2-Aβ mice producing Aβ1-40 or both peptides were also cognitively intact.
These data indicate that high levels of Aβ1-40 or Aβ1-42, or both produced in the absence of APP overexpression do not reproduce memory deficits observed in APP transgenic mouse models. This outcome is supportive of recent data suggesting that APP processing derivatives or the overexpression of full length APP may contribute to cognitive decline in APP transgenic mouse models. Alternatively, Aβ aggregates may impact cognition by a mechanism that is not fully recapitulated in these BRI2-Aβ mouse models.
Alzheimer’s disease; Mouse models; Amyloid-β; Amyloid plaques; Cognition
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic neurodegenerative condition that is characterized by motor symptoms as a result of dopaminergic degeneration, particularly in the mesostriatal pathway. However, in recent years, a greater number of clinical studies have focused on the emergence of non-motor symptoms in PD patients, as a consequence of damage on the mesolimbic and mesocortical dopaminergic networks, and on their significant impact on the quality of life of PD patients. Herein, we performed a thorough behavioral analysis including motor, emotional and cognitive dimensions, of the unilateral medial forebrain bundle (MFB) 6-hydroxidopamine (6-OHDA)-lesioned model of PD, and further addressed the impact of pharmacological interventions with levodopa and antidepressants on mood dimensions.
Based on apomorphine-induced turning behaviour and degree of dopaminergic degeneration, animals submitted to MFB lesions were subdivided in complete and incomplete lesion groups. Importantly, this division also translated into a different severity of motor and exploratory impairments and depressive-like symptoms; in contrast, no deficits in anxiety-like and cognitive behaviors were found in MFB-lesioned animals. Subsequently, we found that the exploratory and the anhedonic behavioural alterations of MFB-lesioned rats can be partially improved with the administration of both levodopa or the antidepressant bupropion, but not paroxetine.
Our results suggest that this model is a relevant tool to study the pathophysiology of motor and non-motor symptoms of PD. In addition, the present data shows that pharmacological interventions modulating dopaminergic transmission are also relevant to revert the non-motor behavioral deficits found in the disease.
Parkinson’s disease; 6-OHDA; Motor behavior; Emotion; Levodopa; Bupropion; Paroxetine
Sizing of GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat expansions within the C9ORF72 locus, which account for approximately 10% of all amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) cases, is urgently required to answer fundamental questions about mechanisms of pathogenesis in this important genetic variant. Currently employed PCR protocols are limited to discrimination between the presence and absence of a modified allele with more than 30 copies of the repeat, while Southern hybridisation-based methods are confounded by the somatic heterogeneity commonly present in blood samples, which might cause false-negative or ambiguous results.
We describe an optimised Southern hybridisation-based protocol that allows confident detection of the presence of a C9ORF72 repeat expansion alongside independent assessment of its heterogeneity and the number of repeat units. The protocol can be used with either a radiolabeled or non-radiolabeled probe. Using this method we have successfully sized the C9ORF72 repeat expansion in lymphoblastoid cells, peripheral blood, and post-mortem central nervous system (CNS) tissue from ALS patients. It was also possible to confidently demonstrate the presence of repeat expansion, although of different magnitude, in both C9ORF72 alleles of the genome of one patient.
The suggested protocol has sufficient advantages to warrant adoption as a standard for Southern blot hybridisation analysis of GGGGCC repeat expansions in the C9ORF72 locus.
C9ORF72; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Southern hybridisation
The editors of Molecular Neurodegeneration would like to thank all the reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 7 (2012).
P73 belongs to the p53 family of cell survival regulators with the corresponding locus Trp73 producing the N-terminally distinct isoforms, TAp73 and DeltaNp73. Recently, two studies have implicated the murine Trp73 in the modulation in phospho-tau accumulation in aged wild type mice and in young mice modeling Alzheimer’s disease (AD) suggesting that Trp73, particularly the DeltaNp73 isoform, links the accumulation of amyloid peptides to the creation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Here, we reevaluated tau pathologies in the same TgCRND8 mouse model as the previous studies.
Despite the use of the same animal models, our in vivo studies failed to demonstrate biochemical or histological evidence for misprocessing of tau in young compound Trp73+/- + TgCRND8 mice or in aged Trp73+/- mice analyzed at the ages reported previously, or older. Secondly, we analyzed an additional mouse model where the DeltaNp73 was specifically deleted and confirmed a lack of impact of the DeltaNp73 allele, either in heterozygous or homozygous form, upon tau pathology in aged mice. Lastly, we also examined human TP73 for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and/or copy number variants in a meta-analysis of 10 AD genome-wide association datasets. No SNPs reached significance after correction for multiple testing and no duplications/deletions in TP73 were found in 549 cases of AD and 544 non-demented controls.
Our results fail to support P73 as a contributor to AD pathogenesis.
P73; Alzheimer’s disease; Animal models; GWAS
Tauopathies are characterized by intracellular deposition of the microtubule-associated protein tau as filamentous aggregates. The rTg4510 mouse conditionally expresses mutant human tau protein in various forebrain areas under the Tet-off expression system. Mice develop neurofibrillary tangles, with significant neuronal loss and cognitive deficits by 6 months of age. Previous behavioral and biochemical work has linked the expression and aggregates of mutant tau to functional impairments. The present work used manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) to investigate basal levels of brain activity in the rTg4510 and control mice.
Our results show an unmistakable curtailment of neural activity in the amygdala and hippocampus, two regions known for their role in memory formation, but not the cortex, cerebellum, striatum and hypothalamus in tau expressing mice.
Behavioral impairments associated with changes in activity in these areas may correspond to age progressive mutant tauP301L-induced neurodegeneration.
Tauopathy; Neurodegenerative disease; Alzheimer’s disease; rTg4510; Manganese enhanced MRI
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, especially affecting the hippocampus. Impairment of cognitive and memory functions is associated with amyloid β-peptide-induced oxidative stress and alterations in lipid metabolism. In this scenario, the dual role of peroxisomes in producing and removing ROS, and their function in fatty acids β-oxidation, may be critical. This work aims to investigating the possible involvement of peroxisomes in AD onset and progression, as studied in a transgenic mouse model, harboring the human Swedish familial AD mutation. We therefore characterized the peroxisomal population in the hippocampus, focusing on early, advanced, and late stages of the disease (3, 6, 9, 12, 18 months of age). Several peroxisome-related markers in transgenic and wild-type hippocampal formation were comparatively studied, by a combined molecular/immunohistochemical/ultrastructural approach.
Our results demonstrate early and significant peroxisomal modifications in AD mice, compared to wild-type. Indeed, the peroxisomal membrane protein of 70 kDa and acyl-CoA oxidase 1 are induced at 3 months, possibly reflecting the need for efficient fatty acid β-oxidation, as a compensatory response to mitochondrial dysfunction. The concomitant presence of oxidative damage markers and the altered expression of antioxidant enzymes argue for early oxidative stress in AD. During physiological and pathological brain aging, important changes in the expression of peroxisome-related proteins, also correlating with ongoing gliosis, occur in the hippocampus. These age- and genotype-based alterations, strongly dependent on the specific marker considered, indicate metabolic and/or numerical remodeling of peroxisomal population.
Overall, our data support functional and biogenetic relationships linking peroxisomes to mitochondria and suggest peroxisomal proteins as biomarkers/therapeutic targets in pre-symptomatic AD.
Peroxisome; Brain aging; Alzheimer’s disease; Neurodegeneration; Oxidative stress; Lipid metabolism; Catalase; Superoxide dismutase; Glutathione peroxidase; Acyl-CoA beta-oxidation
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have been demonstrated to be beneficial in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases. Such results were mainly associated with the epigenetic modulation caused by HDACs, especially those from class I, via chromatin deacetylation. However, other mechanisms may contribute to the neuroprotective effect of HDAC inhibitors, since each HDAC may present distinct specific functions within the neurodegenerative cascades. Such an example is HDAC6 for which the role in neurodegeneration has been partially elucidated so far. The strategy to be adopted in promising therapeutics targeting HDAC6 is still controversial. Specific inhibitors exert neuroprotection by increasing the acetylation levels of α-tubulin with subsequent improvement of the axonal transport, which is usually impaired in neurodegenerative disorders. On the other hand, an induction of HDAC6 would theoretically contribute to the degradation of protein aggregates which characterize various neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Hutington’s diseases. This review describes the specific role of HDAC6 compared to the other HDACs in the context of neurodegeneration, by collecting in silico, in vitro and in vivo results regarding the inhibition and/or knockdown of HDAC6 and other HDACs. Moreover, structure, function, subcellular localization, as well as the level of HDAC6 expression within brain regions are reviewed and compared to the other HDAC isoforms. In various neurodegenerative diseases, the mechanisms underlying HDAC6 interaction with other proteins seem to be a promising approach in understanding the modulation of HDAC6 activity.
Histone deacetylase; HDAC6; Neurodegenerative diseases
Lewy bodies (LB) are a neuropathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other synucleinopathies. The role their formation plays in disease pathogenesis is not well understood, in part because studies of LB have been limited to examination of post-mortem tissue. LB formation may be detrimental to neuronal survival or merely an adaptive response to other ongoing pathological processes. In a human cytoplasmic hybrid (cybrid) neural cell model that expresses mitochondrial DNA from PD patients, we observed spontaneous formation of intracellular protein aggregates (“cybrid LB” or CLB) that replicate morphological and biochemical properties of native, cortical LB. We studied mitochondrial morphology, bioenergetics and biogenesis signaling by creating stable sub-clones of three PD cybrid cell lines derived from cells expressing CLB.
Cloning based on CLB expression had a differential effect on mitochondrial morphology, movement and oxygen utilization in each of three sub-cloned lines, but no long-term change in CLB expression. In one line (PD63CLB), mitochondrial function declined compared to the original PD cybrid line (PD63Orig) due to low levels of mtDNA in nucleoids. In another cell line (PD61Orig), the reverse was true, and cellular and mitochondrial function improved after sub-cloning for CLB expression (PD61CLB). In the third cell line (PD67Orig), there was no change in function after selection for CLB expression (PD67CLB).
Expression of mitochondrial DNA derived from PD patients in cybrid cell lines induced the spontaneous formation of CLB. The creation of three sub-cloned cybrid lines from cells expressing CLB resulted in differential phenotypic changes in mitochondrial and cellular function. These changes were driven by the expression of patient derived mitochondrial DNA in nucleoids, rather than by the presence of CLB. Our studies suggest that mitochondrial DNA plays an important role in cellular and mitochondrial dysfunction in PD. Additional studies will be needed to assess the direct effect of CLB expression on cellular and mitochondrial function.
Aggregation of the α-Synuclein (α-Syn) protein, amyloid fibril formation and progressive neurodegeneration are the neuropathological hallmarks of Parkinson's Disease (PD). However, a detailed mechanism of α-Syn aggregation/fibrillogenesis and the exact nature of toxic oligomeric species produced during amyloid formation process are still unknown.
In this study, the rates of α-Syn aggregation were compared for the recombinant wild-type (WT) α-Syn and a structurally relevant chimeric homologous protein containing an inducible Fv dimerizing domain (α-SynFv), capable to form dimers in the presence of a divalent ligand (AP20187). In the presence of AP20187, we report a rapid random coil into β-sheet conformational transformation of α-SynFv within 24 h, whereas WT α-Syn showed 24 h delay to achieve β-sheet structure after 48 h. Fluorescence ANS and ThT binding experiments demonstrate an accelerated oligomer/amyloid formation of dimerized α-SynFv, compared to the slower oligomerization and amyloidogenesis of WT α-Syn or α-SynFv without dimerizer AP20187. Both α-SynFv and α-Syn pre-fibrillar aggregates internalized cells and induced neurotoxicity when injected into the hippocampus of wild-type mice. These recombinant toxic aggregates further converted into non-toxic amyloids which were successfully amplified by protein misfolding cyclic amplification method, providing the first evidence for the in vitro propagation of synthetic α-Syn aggregates.
Together, we show that dimerization is important for α-Syn conformational transition and aggregation. In addition, α-Syn dimerization can accelerate the formation of neurotoxic aggregates and amyloid fibrils which can be amplified in vitro. A detailed characterization of the mechanism of α-Syn aggregation/amyloidogenesis and toxicity is crucial to comprehend Parkinson's disease pathology at the molecular level.