Sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients have low amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) clearance in the central nervous system (CNS). The peripheral Aβ clearance may also be important but its role in AD remains unclear. We aimed to study the Aβ degrading proteases including insulin degrading enzyme (IDE), angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) and others in blood. Using the fluorogenic substrate V—a substrate of IDE and other metalloproteases, we showed that human serum degraded the substrate V, and the activity was inhibited by adding increasing dose of Aβ. The existence of IDE activity was demonstrated by the inhibition of insulin, amylin or EDTA, and further confirmed by immunocapture of IDE using monoclonal antibodies. The involvement of ACE was indicated by the ability of the ACE inhibitor, lisinopril, to inhibit the substrate V degradation. To test the variations of substrate V degradation in humans, we used serum samples from a homebound elderly population with cognitive diagnoses. Compared with the elderly who had normal cognition, those with probable AD and amnestic mild cognitive impairment (amnestic MCI) had lower peptidase activities. Probable AD or amnestic MCI as an outcome remained negatively associated with serum substrate V degradation activity after adjusting for the confounders. The elderly with probable AD had lower serum substrate V degradation activity compared with those who had vascular dementia. The blood proteases mediating Aβ degradation may be important for the AD pathogenesis. More studies are needed to specify each Aβ degrading protease in blood as a useful biomarker and a possible treatment target for AD.
Aβ; degradation; protease; insulin degrading enzyme; angiotensin convertingenzyme; serum; alzheimer’s disease
Blast exposure is associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI), neuropsychiatric symptoms, and long-term cognitive disability. We examined a case series of postmortem brains from U.S. military veterans exposed to blast and/or concussive injury. We found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a tau protein–linked neurodegenerative disease, that was similar to the CTE neuropathology observed in young amateur American football players and a professional wrestler with histories of concussive injuries. We developed a blast neurotrauma mouse model that recapitulated CTE-linked neuropathology in wild-type C57BL/6 mice 2 weeks after exposure to a single blast. Blast-exposed mice demonstrated phosphorylated tauopathy, myelinated axonopathy, microvasculopathy, chronic neuroinflammation, and neurodegeneration in the absence of macroscopic tissue damage or hemorrhage. Blast exposure induced persistent hippocampal-dependent learning and memory deficits that persisted for at least 1 month and correlated with impaired axonal conduction and defective activity-dependent long-term potentiation of synaptic transmission. Intracerebral pressure recordings demonstrated that shock waves traversed the mouse brain with minimal change and without thoracic contributions. Kinematic analysis revealed blast-induced head oscillation at accelerations sufficient to cause brain injury. Head immobilization during blast exposure prevented blast-induced learning and memory deficits. The contribution of blast wind to injurious head acceleration may be a primary injury mechanism leading to blast-related TBI and CTE. These results identify common pathogenic determinants leading to CTE in blast-exposed military veterans and head-injured athletes and additionally provide mechanistic evidence linking blast exposure to persistent impairments in neurophysiological function, learning, and memory.
Heat shock response (HSR) that protects cells from proteotoxic stresses is downregulated in aging, as well as upon replicative senescence of cells in culture. Here we demonstrate that HSR is suppressed in fibroblasts from the patients with segmental progerioid Werner Syndrome, which undergo premature senescence. Similar suppression of HSR was seen in normal fibroblasts, which underwent senescence in response to DNA damaging treatments. The major DNA-damage-induced signaling (DDS) pathways p53–p21 and p38-NF-kB-SASP contributed to the HSR suppression. The HSR suppression was associated with inhibition of both activity and transcription of the heat shock transcription factor Hsf1. This inhibition in large part resulted from the downregulation of SIRT1, which in turn was because of decrease in the expression of the translation regulator HuR. Importantly, we uncovered a positive feedback regulation, where suppression of Hsf1 further activates the p38–NF-κB-SASP pathway, which in turn promotes senescence. Overexpression of Hsf1 inhibited the p38–NFκB-SASP pathway and partially relieved senescence. Therefore, downregulation of Hsf1 plays an important role in the development or in the maintenance of DNA damage signaling-induced cell senescence.
heat shock response; Hsp70; HuR; inflammation; p38; p53; SIRT1
Mutations in LRRK2 are associated with familial and sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD). Subjects with PD caused by LRRK2 mutations show pleiotropic pathology that can involve inclusions containing α-synuclein, tau or neither protein. The mechanisms by which mutations in LRRK2 lead to this pleiotropic pathology remain unknown. Objectives: To investigate mechanisms by which LRRK2 might cause PD.
We used systems biology to investigate the transcriptomes from human brains, human blood cells and Caenorhabditis elegans expressing wild-type LRRK2. The role of autophagy was tested in lines of C. elegans expressing LRRK2, V337M tau or both proteins. Neuronal function was measured by quantifying thrashing.
Genes regulating autophagy were coordinately regulated with LRRK2. C. elegans expressing V337M tau showed reduced thrashing, as has been noted previously. Coexpressing mutant LRRK2 (R1441C or G2019S) with V337M tau increased the motor deficits. Treating the lines of C. elegans with an mTOR inhibitor that enhances autophagic flux, ridaforolimus, increased the thrashing behavior to the same level as nontransgenic nematodes.
These data support a role for LRRK2 in autophagy, raise the possibility that deficits in autophagy contribute to the pathophysiology of LRRK2, and point to a potential therapeutic approach addressing the pathophysiology of LRRK2 in PD.
LRRK2 mutations; Autophagy; Familial and sporadic Parkinson's disease
Stress induces aggregation of RNA-binding proteins to form inclusions, termed stress granules (SGs). Recent evidence suggests that SG proteins also colocalize with neuropathological structures, but whether this occurs in Alzheimer’s disease is unknown. We examined the relationship between SG proteins and neuropathology in brain tissue from P301L Tau transgenic mice, as well as in cases of Alzheimer’s disease and FTDP-17. The pattern of SG pathology differs dramatically based on the RNA-binding protein examined. SGs positive for T-cell intracellular antigen-1 (TIA-1) or tristetraprolin (TTP) initially do not colocalize with tau pathology, but then merge with tau inclusions as disease severity increases. In contrast, G3BP (ras GAP-binding protein) identifies a novel type of molecular pathology that shows increasing accumulation in neurons with increasing disease severity, but often is not associated with classic markers of tau pathology. TIA-1 and TTP both bind phospho-tau, and TIA-1 overexpression induces formation of inclusions containing phospho-tau. These data suggest that SG formation might stimulate tau pathophysiology. Thus, study of RNA-binding proteins and SG biology highlights novel pathways interacting with the pathophysiology of AD, providing potentially new avenues for identifying diseased neurons and potentially novel mechanisms regulating tau biology.
The protein aggregation that occurs in neurodegenerative diseases is classically thought to occur as an undesirable, nonfunctional byproduct of protein misfolding. This model contrasts with the biology of RNA binding proteins, many of which are linked to neurodegenerative diseases. RNA binding proteins use protein aggregation as part of a normal regulated, physiological mechanism controlling protein synthesis. The process of regulated protein aggregation is most evident in formation of stress granules. Stress granules assemble when RNA binding proteins aggregate through their glycine rich domains. Stress granules function to sequester, silence and/or degrade RNA transcripts as part of a mechanism that adapts patterns of local RNA translation to facilitate the stress response. Aggregation of RNA binding proteins is reversible and is tightly regulated through pathways, such as phosphorylation of elongation initiation factor 2α. Microtubule associated protein tau also appears to regulate stress granule formation. Conversely, stress granule formation stimulates pathological changes associated with tau. In this review, I propose that the aggregation of many pathological, intracellular proteins, including TDP-43, FUS or tau, proceeds through the stress granule pathway. Mutations in genes coding for stress granule associated proteins or prolonged physiological stress, lead to enhanced stress granule formation, which accelerates the pathophysiology of protein aggregation in neurodegenerative diseases. Over-active stress granule formation could act to sequester functional RNA binding proteins and/or interfere with mRNA transport and translation, each of which might potentiate neurodegeneration. The reversibility of the stress granule pathway also offers novel opportunities to stimulate endogenous biochemical pathways to disaggregate these pathological stress granules, and perhaps delay the progression of disease.
Stress granule; TIA-1; TIAR; TTP; G3BP; Prion protein; Microtubule associated protein tau; TDP-43; FUS; FMRP; Prion protein protein synthesis; RNA translation; Alzheimer’s disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Motor neuron disease; Frontotemporal dementia
Recent trials of statins produced no benefit for subjects with Alzheimer's disease. These negative studies add to a growing list of negative clinical trials. These data point to a need for reevaluating the pathophysiology of late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Late-onset Alzheimer's disease might result from the cumulative effects of at least four different factors: β-amyloid accumulation, cardiovascular disease, aging and the associated loss of synaptic plasticity, and inflammation. Successful therapy of subjects with overt dementia might require approaches targeting all four pathophysiological domains.
Local regulation of protein synthesis in neurons has emerged as a leading research focus due to its importance in synaptic plasticity and neurological diseases. The complexity of neuronal sub-cellular domains and their distance from the soma demand local spatial and temporal control of protein synthesis. Synthesis of many synaptic proteins, such as GluR and PSD-95, is under local control. mRNA binding proteins (RBPs), such as FMRP, function as key regulators of local RNA translation, and the mTORC1 pathway acts as a primary signaling cascade for regulation of these proteins. Much of the regulation occurs through structures termed RNA granules, which are based on reversible aggregation of the RBPs, some of which have aggregation prone domains with sequence features similar to yeast prion proteins. Mutations in many of these RBPs are associated with neurologic diseases, including FMRP in Fragile X syndrome, TDP-43, FUS, angiogenin and ataxin-2 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ataxin-2 in spinocerebellar ataxia, and SMN in spinal muscular atrophy.
Protein synthesis; RNA translation; Synaptic efficacy; transport; RNA granule; Stress Granule; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; fragile X syndrome; spinal muscular atrophy; spinocerebellar ataxia
Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the most frequent cause of autosomal-dominant Parkinson’s disease (PD). The second known autosomal-dominant PD gene (SNCA) encodes α-synuclein, which is deposited in Lewy bodies, the neuropathological hallmark of PD. LRRK2 contains a kinase domain with homology to mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinases (MAPKKKs) and its activity has been suggested to be a key factor in LRRK2-associated PD. Here we investigated the role of LRRK2 in signal transduction pathways to identify putative PD-relevant downstream targets. Over-expression of wild-type [wt]LRRK2 in human embryonic kidney HEK293 cells selectively activated the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) module. PD-associated mutants G2019S and R1441C, but not kinase-dead LRRK2, induced ERK phosphorylation to the same extent as [wt]LRRK2, indicating that this effect is kinase-dependent. However, ERK activation by mutant R1441C and G2019S was significantly slower than that for [wt]LRRK2, despite similar levels of expression. Furthermore, induction of the ERK module by LRRK2 was associated to a small but significant induction of SNCA, which was suppressed by treatment with the selective MAPK/ERK kinase inhibitor U0126. This pathway linking the two dominant PD genes LRRK2 and SNCA may offer an interesting target for drug therapy in both familial and sporadic disease.
LRRK2; Mitogen-activated protein kinases; ERK; α-Synuclein; Parkinson’s disease
Point mutations in LRRK2 cause autosomal dominant Parkinson's disease. Despite extensive efforts to determine the mechanism of cell death in patients with LRRK2 mutations, the aetiology of LRRK2 PD is not well understood. To examine possible alterations in gene expression linked to the presence of LRRK2 mutations, we carried out a case versus control analysis of global gene expression in three systems: fibroblasts isolated from LRRK2 mutation carriers and healthy, non-mutation carrying controls; brain tissue from G2019S mutation carriers and controls; and HEK293 inducible LRRK2 wild type and mutant cell lines. No significant alteration in gene expression was found in these systems following correction for multiple testing. These data suggest that any alterations in basal gene expression in fibroblasts or cell lines containing mutations in LRRK2 are likely to be quantitatively small. This work suggests that LRRK2 is unlikely to play a direct role in modulation of gene expression, although it remains possible that this protein can influence mRNA expression under pathogenic cicumstances.
C. elegans is increasingly being used to study neurodegenerative diseases. Nematodes are translucent, which facilitates study of particular neurons in the living animal, and easy to manipulate genetically. Despite vast evolutionary divergence, human proteins are functionally active when expressed in C. elegans, and disease-linked mutations in these proteins also cause phenotypic changes in the nematode. In this manuscript, we review use of C. elegans to investigate the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and axonal degeneration. Studies of presenilin, β-amyloid, tau,α-synuclein and LRRK2 all produce strong phenotypic effects in C. elegans, and in many cases reproduces selective neuronal vulnerability observed in humans. Disease-linked mutations enhance degeneration in the C. elegans models. These studies are increasingly leading to high throughput screens that identify novel genes and novel pharmaceuticals that modify the disease course.
Beta-amyloid; Microtubule associated protein tau; presenilin; α-synuclein; Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2; Green fluorescent protein; dopamine; axonal dystrophy; laser ablation
Mutations in leucine rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) cause autosomal dominant familial Parkinson’s disease. We generated lines of C. elegans expressing neuronally directed human LRRK2. Expressing human LRRK2 expression increased nematode survival in response to rotenone or paraquat, which are agents that cause mitochondrial dysfunction. Protection by G2019S, R1441C or kinase dead LRRK2 was less than protection by wild type LRRK2. Knockdown of lrk-1, the endogenous orthologue of LRRK2 in C. elegans, reduced survival associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. C. elegans expressing LRRK2 showed rapid loss of dopaminergic markers (DAT∷GFP fluorescence and dopamine levels) beginning in early adulthood. Loss of dopaminergic markers was greater for the G2019S LRRK2 line than for the WT line. Rotenone treatment induced a larger loss of dopamine markers in C. elegans expressing G2019S LRRK2 than in C. elegans expressing WT LRRK2; however loss of dopaminergic markers in the G2019S LRRK2 nematode lines was not statistically different than that in the control line. These data suggest that LRRK2 plays an important role in modulating the response to mitochondrial inhibition, and raises the possibility that mutations in LRRK2 selectively enhance the vulnerability of dopaminergic neurons to a stressor associated with Parkinson’s disease.
mitochondrial dysfunction; rotenone; paraquat; complex I; Parkinson’s disease; C. elegans; kinase; WD40 domain; GTPase; dopamine; neurodegeneration
Increasing evidence indicates that patients develop post-operative cognitive decline (POCD) following surgery, with risk factors including increasing age, diabetes and low education. POCD is characterized by a bimodal incidence. Initially, there is a transient short-term decline in cognitive ability evident in the early post-operative period. This initial decline predicts a delayed cognitive decline associated with dementia 3 to 5 years post-surgery, with conversion rates up to 70% in patients who are 65 years or older. The factors responsible for this emergence of dementia are unclear and might differ for the acute post-operative emergence of cognitive decline and the subsequent delayed emergence of dementia. Clinical studies investigating the prevalence of POCD and dementia following surgery do not show an association with the type of anesthesia or duration of surgery. However, animal studies suggest that prolonged exposure to some volatile-inhalational anesthetics increase production of Aβ and vulnerability to neurodegeneration. Other factors might include the initiation of an inflammatory response, related to the use of indwelling devices such as the cardio-pulmonary bypass machine or initiated by intrinsic factors such as blood loss, as well as the effects of a maladaptive stress response. Identifying the factors occurring during surgery that predispose subjects to POCD and dementia and subsequent ways to provide prophylaxis against this represent important avenues of research for the health care community. Equally important, the field needs to adopt a more rigorous approach to codifying the frequency and extent of early and delayed post-operative cognitive decline.
Alzheimer's disease; amyloid beta-protein; dementia; coronary artery bypass operation; surgery; anesthetics
There is increasing evidence that soluble factors in inflammatory central nervous system diseases not only regulate the inflammatory process but also directly influence electrophysiological membrane properties of neurons and astrocytes. In this context, the cytokine TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor-α) has complex injury promoting, as well as protective, effects on neuronal viability. Up-regulated TNF-α expression has also been found in various neurodegenerative diseases such as cerebral malaria, AIDS dementia, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke, suggesting a potential pathogenic role of TNF-α in these diseases as well. We used the neuroblastoma cells SK-N-MC. Transcriptional activity was measured using luciferase reporter gene assays by using lipofectin. We performed cotransfection experiments of NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells) promoter constructed with a dominant negative version of NFAT (dn-NFAT). Cell death was performed by MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)5,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) and TUNEL assays. NFAT translocation was confirmed by Western blot. Involvement of NFAT in cell death was assessed by using VIVIT. P53, Fas-L, caspase-3, and caspase-9 expressions were carried out by Western blot. The mechanisms involved in TNF-α-induced cell death were assessed by using microarray analysis. TNF-α causes neuronal cell death in the absence of glia. TNF-α treatment results in nuclear translocation of NFAT through activation of calcineurin in a Ca2+ independent manner. We demonstrated the involvement of FasL/Fas, cytochrome c, and caspase-9 but the lack of caspase-3 activation. NB cell death was absolutely reverted in the presence of VIVIT, and partially diminished by anti-Fas treatment. These data demonstrate that TNF-α promotes FasL expression through NFAT activation in neuroblastoma cells and this event leads to increased apoptosis through independent caspase-3 activation.
Oxidative stress is due to an imbalance of antioxidant/pro-oxidant homeostasis and is associated with the progression of several neurological diseases, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Furthermore, oxidative stress is responsible for the neuronal loss and dysfunction associated with disease pathogenesis. Survivin is a member of the inhibitors of the apoptosis (IAP) family of proteins, but its neuroprotective effects have not been studied. Here, we demonstrate that SurR9-C84A, a survivin mutant, has neuroprotective effects against H2O2-induced neurotoxicity. Our results show that H2O2 toxicity is associated with an increase in cell death, mitochondrial membrane depolarisation, and the expression of cyclin D1 and caspases 9 and 3. In addition, pre-treatment with SurR9-C84A reduces cell death by decreasing both the level of mitochondrial depolarisation and the expression of cyclin D1 and caspases 9 and 3. We further show that SurR9-C84A increases the antioxidant activity of GSH-peroxidase and catalase, and effectively counteracts oxidant activity following exposure to H2O2. These results suggest for the first time that SurR9-C84A is a promising treatment to protect neuronal cells against H2O2-induced neurotoxicity.
Galanin is a neuropeptide with a wide distribution in the central and peripheral nervous systems and whose physiological effects are mediated through three G protein-coupled receptor subtypes, GalR1, GalR2, and GalR3. Several lines of evidence indicate that galanin, as well as activation of the GalR1 receptor, is a potent and effective modulator of neuronal excitability in the hippocampus.
In order to test more formally the potential influence of GalR1 on seizure-induced excitotoxic cell death, we conducted functional complementation tests in which transgenic mice that exhibit decreased expression of the GalR1 candidate mRNA underwent kainate-induced status epilepticus to determine if the quantitative trait of susceptibility to seizure-induced cell death is determined by the activity of GalR1. In the present study, we report that reduction of GalR1 mRNA via null mutation or injection of the GalR1 antagonist, galantide, prior to kainate-induced status epilepticus induces hippocampal damage in a mouse strain known to be highly resistant to kainate-induced neuronal injury. Wild-type and GalR1 knockout mice were subjected to systemic kainate administration. Seven days later, Nissl and NeuN immune- staining demonstrated that hippocampal cell death was significantly increased in GalR1 knockout strains and in animals injected with the GalR1 antagonist. Compared to GalR1-expressing mice, GalR1-deficient mice had significantly larger hippocampal lesions after status epilepticus.
Our results suggest that a reduction of GalR1 expression in the C57BL/6J mouse strain renders them susceptible to excitotoxic injury following systemic kainate administration. From these results, GalR1 protein emerges as a new molecular target that may have a potential therapeutic value in modulating seizure-induced cell death.
Tar DNA Binding Protein-43 (TDP-43) is a principle component of inclusions in many cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-U) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). TDP-43 resides predominantly in the nucleus, but in affected areas of ALS and FTLD-U central nervous system, TDP-43 is aberrantly processed and forms cytoplasmic inclusions. The mechanisms governing TDP-43 inclusion formation are poorly understood. Increasing evidence indicates that TDP-43 regulates mRNA metabolism by interacting with mRNA binding proteins that are known to associate with RNA granules. Here we show that TDP-43 can be induced to form inclusions in cell culture and that most TDP-43 inclusions co-localize with SGs. SGs are cytoplasmic RNA granules that consist of mixed protein - RNA complexes. Under stressful conditions SGs are generated by the reversible aggregation of prion-like proteins, such as TIA-1, to regulate mRNA metabolism and protein translation. We also show that disease-linked mutations in TDP-43 increased TDP-43 inclusion formation in response to stressful stimuli. Biochemical studies demonstrated that the increased TDP-43 inclusion formation is associated with accumulation of TDP-43 detergent insoluble complexes. TDP-43 associates with SG by interacting with SG proteins, such as TIA-1, via direct protein-protein interactions, as well as RNA-dependent interactions. The signaling pathway that regulates SGs formation also modulates TDP-43 inclusion formation. We observed that inclusion formation mediated by WT or mutant TDP-43 can be suppressed by treatment with translational inhibitors that suppress or reverse SG formation. Finally, using Sudan black to quench endogenous autofluorescence, we also demonstrate that TDP-43 positive-inclusions in pathological CNS tissue co-localize with multiple protein markers of stress granules, including TIA-1 and eIF3. These data provide support for accumulating evidence that TDP-43 participates in the SG pathway.
To investigate midlife cholesterol in relation to Alzheimer's disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) in a large multiethnic cohort of women and men.
The Kaiser Permanente Northern California Medical Group (healthcare delivery organization) formed the database for this study. The 9,844 participants underwent detailed health evaluations during 1964–1973 at ages 40–45 years; they were still members of the health plan in 1994. AD and VaD were ascertained by medical records between 1 January 1994 and 1 June 2007. Cox proportional hazards models – adjusted for age, education, race/ethnic group, sex, midlife diabetes, hypertension, BMI and late-life stroke – were conducted.
In total, 469 participants had AD and 127 had VaD. With desirable cholesterol levels (<200 mg/dl) as a reference, hazard ratios (HR) and 95% CI for AD were 1.23 (0.97–1.55) and 1.57 (1.23–2.01) for borderline (200–239 mg/dl) and high cholesterol (≥240 mg/dl), respectively. HR and 95% CI for VaD were 1.50 (1.01–2.23) for borderline and 1.26 (0.82–1.96) for high cholesterol. Further analyses for AD (cholesterol quartiles, 1st quartile reference) indicated that cholesterol levels >220 mg/dl were a significant risk factor: HR were 1.31 (1.01–1.71; 3rd quartile, 221–248 mg/dl) and 1.58 (1.22–2.06; 4th quartile, 249–500 mg/dl).
Midlife serum total cholesterol was associated with an increased risk of AD and VaD. Even moderately elevated cholesterol increased dementia risk. Dementia risk factors need to be addressed as early as midlife, before underlying disease(s) or symptoms appear.
Dementia; Epidemiology; Alzheimer's dementia; Cholesterol; Vascular dementia
Adipocyte-derived leptin appears to regulate a number of features defining Alzheimer's disease (AD) at the molecular and physiological level. One activity of leptin is the control of AMP-dependent kinase (AMPK). In addition to maintaining lipid levels, AMPK regulates glycogen synthase kinase-3, which modulates tau phosphorylation. Leptin has been shown to reduce the amount of extracellular amyloid-β, both in cell culture and animal models of AD, as well as reduce tau phosphorylation in neuronal cells. Importantly, chronic administration of leptin resulted in a significant improvement in the cognitive performance of transgenic animal models of AD. In humans, weight loss often precedes the onset of dementia in AD and the level of circulating leptin is inversely proportional to the severity of dementia among AD patients. It is speculated that a deficiency in leptin levels or function may contribute to systemic and central nervous system abnormalities leading to AD, suggesting that a leptin replacement therapy may be beneficial for AD. This may be an attractive alternative to the drugs that are currently under development.
AICAR; AMP-dependent kinase; amyloid-β; glycogen synthase kinase-3; leptin; tau
Mutations in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are prevalent causes of late-onset Parkinson’s disease (PD). Here, we show that LRRK2 binds to mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinases MKK3, 6, and 7, and that LRRK2 is able to phosphorylate MKK3, 6 and 7. Over-expression of LRRK2 and MKK6 increased the steady state levels of each protein beyond that observed with over-expression of either protein alone. Co-expression increased levels of MKK6 in the membrane more than in the cytoplasm. The increased expression of LRRK2 and MKK6 requires MKK6 activity. The disease-linked LRRK2 mutations, G2019S, R1441C and I2020T, enhance binding of LRRK2 to MKK6. This interaction was further supported by in vivo studies in C. elegans. RNAi knockdown in C. elegans of the endogenous orthologs for MKK6 or p38, sek-1 and pmk-1, abolishes LRRK2-mediated protection against mitochondrial stress. These results were confirmed by deletion of sek-1 in C. elegans. These data demonstrate that MKKs and LRRK2 function in similar biological pathways, and support a role for LRRK2 in modulating the cellular stress response.
MAP kinase; phosphorylation; C. elegans; JNK; p38; membrane
Mutations in the gene encoding Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the most common cause of inherited Parkinson's disease (PD). LRRK2 is a multi-domain protein kinase containing a central catalytic core and a number of protein-protein interaction domains. An important step forward in the understanding of both the biology and the pathology of LRRK2 would be achieved by identification of its authentic physiological substrates. In the present study we examined phosphorylation of 4E-BP (eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E)-binding protein), a recently proposed substrate for LRRKs. We found that LRRK2 is capable of phosphorylating 4E-BP in vitro. The PD related LRRK2-G2019S mutant was ∼2 fold more active than wild type protein. However, LRRK2 autophosphorylation was stronger than 4E-BP phosphorylation under conditions of molar excess of 4E-BP to LRRK2. We also tested three other kinases (STK3, MAPK14/p38α and DAPK2) and found that MAPK14/p38α could efficiently phosphorylate 4E-BP at the same site as LRRK2 in vitro. Finally, we did not see changes in 4E-BP phosphorylation levels using inducible expression of LRRK2 in HEK cell lines. We also found that MAPK14/p38α phosphorylates 4E-BP in transient overexpression experiments whereas LRRK2 did not. We suggest that increased 4E-BP phosphorylation reported in some systems may be related to p38-mediated cell stress rather than direct LRRK2 activity. Overall, our results suggest that 4E-BP is a relatively poor direct substrate for LRRK2.
Objective To investigate whether angiotensin receptor blockers protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia or reduce the progression of both diseases.
Design Prospective cohort analysis.
Setting Administrative database of the US Veteran Affairs, 2002-6.
Population 819 491 predominantly male participants (98%) aged 65 or more with cardiovascular disease.
Main outcome measures Time to incident Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in three cohorts (angiotensin receptor blockers, lisinopril, and other cardiovascular drugs, the “cardiovascular comparator”) over a four year period (fiscal years 2003-6) using Cox proportional hazard models with adjustments for age, diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Disease progression was the time to admission to a nursing home or death among participants with pre-existing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Results Hazard rates for incident dementia in the angiotensin receptor blocker group were 0.76 (95% confidence interval 0.69 to 0.84) compared with the cardiovascular comparator and 0.81 (0.73 to 0.90) compared with the lisinopril group. Compared with the cardiovascular comparator, angiotensin receptor blockers in patients with pre-existing Alzheimer’s disease were associated with a significantly lower risk of admission to a nursing home (0.51, 0.36 to 0.72) and death (0.83, 0.71 to 0.97). Angiotensin receptor blockers exhibited a dose-response as well as additive effects in combination with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors. This combination compared with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors alone was associated with a reduced risk of incident dementia (0.54, 0.51 to 0.57) and admission to a nursing home (0.33, 0.22 to 0.49). Minor differences were shown in mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures between the groups. Similar results were observed for Alzheimer’s disease.
Conclusions Angiotensin receptor blockers are associated with a significant reduction in the incidence and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia compared with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or other cardiovascular drugs in a predominantly male population.
Evidence from biochemical, epidemiological and genetic findings indicates that cholesterol levels are linked to amyloid-β (Aβ) production and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Oxysterols, which are cholesterol-derived ligands of the liver X receptors (LXRs) and oxysterol binding proteins, strongly regulate the processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP). Although LXRs have been studied extensively, little is known about the biology of oxysterol binding proteins. Oxysterol-binding protein 1 (OSBP1) is a member of a family of sterol-binding proteins with roles in lipid metabolism, regulation of secretory vesicle generation and signal transduction, and it is thought that these proteins may act as sterol sensors to control a variety of sterol-dependent cellular processes.
We investigated whether OSBP1 was involved in regulating APP processing and found that overexpression of OSBP1 downregulated the amyloidogenic processing of APP, while OSBP1 knockdown had the opposite effect. In addition, we found that OSBP1 altered the trafficking of APP-Notch2 dimers by causing their accumulation in the Golgi, an effect that could be reversed by treating cells with OSBP1 ligand, 25-hydroxycholesterol.
These results suggest that OSBP1 could play a role in linking cholesterol metabolism with intracellular APP trafficking and Aβ production, and more importantly indicate that OSBP1 could provide an alternative target for Aβ-directed therapeutic.