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1.  Non-native Soluble Oligomers of Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase (SOD1) Contain a Conformational Epitope Linked to Cytotoxicity in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) 
Biochemistry  2014;53(14):2423-2432.
Soluble misfolded Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is implicated in motor neuron death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); however, the relative toxicities of the various non-native species formed by SOD1 as it misfolds and aggregates are unknown. Here, we demonstrate that early stages of SOD1 aggregation involve the formation of soluble oligomers that contain an epitope specific to disease-relevant misfolded SOD1; this epitope, recognized by the C4F6 antibody, has been proposed as a marker of toxic species. Formation of potentially toxic oligomers is likely to be exacerbated by an oxidizing cellular environment, as evidenced by increased oligomerization propensity and C4F6 reactivity when oxidative modification by glutathione is present at Cys-111. These findings suggest that soluble non-native SOD1 oligomers, rather than native-like dimers or monomers, share structural similarity to pathogenic misfolded species found in ALS patients and therefore represent potential cytotoxic agents and therapeutic targets in ALS.
PMCID: PMC4004233  PMID: 24660965
2.  Glutathionylation at Cys-111 Induces Dissociation of Wild Type and FALS Mutant SOD1 Dimers 
Biochemistry  2011;50(32):7057-7066.
Mutation of the ubiquitous cytosolic enzyme Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is hypothesized to cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS) through structural destabilization leading to misfolding and aggregation. Considering the late onset of symptoms as well as the phenotypic variability among patients with identical SOD1 mutations, it is clear that nongenetic factor(s) impact ALS etiology and disease progression. Here we examine the effect of Cys-111 glutathionylation, a physiologically prevalent post-translational oxidative modification, on the stabilities of wild type SOD1 and two phenotypically diverse FALS mutants, A4V and I112T. Glutathionylation results in profound destabilization of SOD1WT dimers, increasing the equilibrium dissociation constant Kd to ~10−20 μM, comparable to that of the aggressive A4V mutant. SOD1A4V is further destabilized by glutathionylation, experiencing an ~30-fold increase in Kd. Dissociation kinetics of glutathionylated SOD1WT and SOD1A4V are unchanged, as measured by surface plasmon resonance, indicating that glutathionylation destabilizes these variants by decreasing association rate. In contrast, SOD1I112T has a modestly increased dissociation rate but no change in Kd when glutathionylated. Using computational structural modeling, we show that the distinct effects of glutathionylation on different SOD1 variants correspond to changes in composition of the dimer interface. Our experimental and computational results show that Cys-111 glutathionylation induces structural rearrangements that modulate stability of both wild type and FALS mutant SOD1. The distinct sensitivities of SOD1 variants to glutathionylation, a modification that acts in part as a coping mechanism for oxidative stress, suggest a novel mode by which redox regulation and aggregation propensity interact in ALS.
PMCID: PMC3281512  PMID: 21739997

Results 1-2 (2)