Translate this page to:
In JoVE (1)
- A Simple Composite Fenotype Scoring System voor het evalueren van muismodellen van cerebellaire ataxie
Other Publications (53)
- Science (New York, N.Y.)
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Archives of Neurology
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Nature Genetics
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Nature Medicine
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Mammalian Genome : Official Journal of the International Mammalian Genome Society
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Nature Neuroscience
- Human Molecular Genetics
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
- Cell Metabolism
- Human Molecular Genetics
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Cerebellum (London, England)
- Vision Research
- Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America
- PLoS Genetics
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Nature Medicine
- Molecular Brain
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Nature Medicine
- Nature Reviews. Genetics
- Journal of Proteome Research
- EMBO Molecular Medicine
- Neurobiology of Disease
- Human Molecular Genetics
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Progress in Neurobiology
- Nature Medicine
- Human Molecular Genetics
This translation into Dutch was automatically generated.
English Version | Other Languages
Articles by Albert R. La Spada in JoVE
A Simple Composite Fenotype Scoring System voor het evalueren van muismodellen van cerebellaire ataxie
Stephan J. Guyenet1, Stephanie A. Furrer2, Vincent M. Damian1, Travis D. Baughan2, Albert R. La Spada*3, Gwenn A. Garden*2
1Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, 2Department of Neurology, University of Washington, 3Division of Genetics, Departments of Pediatrics and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and the Institute for Genomic Medicine, University of California, San Diego - Rady Children’s Hospital
Beschrijven we een protocol voor de snelle en gevoelige kwantificering van de ernst van de ziekte in muismodellen van cerebellaire ataxie. De maatregelen omvatten achterste ledematen clasping, richel te testen, manier van lopen en kyphose. Dit protocol discrimineert effectief tussen de getroffen en niet-getroffen individuen, en detecteert de progressie van de getroffen personen in de tijd.
Other articles by Albert R. La Spada on PubMed
Science (New York, N.Y.). Mar, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 11884758
The classical recessive mouse mutant, Purkinje cell degeneration (pcd), exhibits adult-onset degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje neurons, retinal photoreceptors, olfactory bulb mitral neurons, and selected thalamic neurons, and has defective spermatogenesis. Here we identify Nna1 as the gene mutated in the original pcd and two additional pcd alleles (pcd2J and pcd3J). Nna1 encodes a putative nuclear protein containing a zinc carboxypeptidase domain initially identified by its induction in spinal motor neurons during axonal regeneration. The present study suggests an unexpected molecular link between neuronal degeneration and regeneration, and its results have potential implications for neurodegenerative diseases and male infertility.
Polyglutamine-expanded Ataxin-7 Promotes Non-cell-autonomous Purkinje Cell Degeneration and Displays Proteolytic Cleavage in Ataxic Transgenic Mice
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Jun, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12077187
Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) type 7 is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract within the ataxin-7 protein. To determine the molecular basis of polyglutamine neurotoxicity in this and other related disorders, we produced SCA7 transgenic mice that express ataxin-7 with 24 or 92 glutamines in all neurons of the CNS, except for Purkinje cells. Transgenic mice expressing ataxin-7 with 92 glutamines (92Q) developed a dramatic neurological phenotype presenting as a gait ataxia and culminating in premature death. Despite the absence of expression of polyglutamine-expanded ataxin-7 in Purkinje cells, we documented severe Purkinje cell degeneration in 92Q SCA7 transgenic mice. We also detected an N-terminal truncation fragment of ataxin-7 in transgenic mice and in SCA7 patient material with both anti-ataxin-7 and anti-polyglutamine specific antibodies. The appearance of truncated ataxin-7 in nuclear aggregates correlates with the onset of a disease phenotype in the SCA7 mice, suggesting that nuclear localization and proteolytic cleavage may be important features of SCA7 pathogenesis. The non-cell-autonomous nature of the Purkinje cell degeneration in our SCA7 mouse model indicates that polyglutamine-induced dysfunction in adjacent or connecting cell types contributes to the neurodegeneration.
Polyglutamine and Transcription: Gene Expression Changes Shared by DRPLA and Huntington's Disease Mouse Models Reveal Context-independent Effects
Human Molecular Genetics. Aug, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12165555
Recent evidence indicates that transcriptional abnormalities may play an important role in the pathophysiology of polyglutamine diseases. In the present study, we have explored the extent to which polyglutamine-related changes in gene expression may be independent of protein context by comparing mouse models of dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) and Huntington's disease (HD). Microarray gene expression profiling was conducted in mice of the same background strain in which the same promoter was employed to direct the expression of full-length atrophin-1 or partial huntingtin transproteins (At-65Q or N171-82Q mice). A large number of overlapping gene expression changes were observed in the cerebella of At-65Q and N171-82Q mice. Six of the gene expression changes common to both huntingtin and atrophin-1 transgenic mice were also observed in the cerebella of mouse models expressing full-length mutant ataxin-7 or the androgen receptor. These results demonstrate that some of the gene expression effects of expanded polyglutamine proteins occur independently of protein context.
Archives of Neurology. Oct, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12374501
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is characterized by early dementia and associated visual hallucinations, parkinsonism, and fluctuations in cognition. Few families with DLB have been described with detailed clinical, pathological, and genetic assessments.
Genomic Context Drives SCA7 CAG Repeat Instability, While Expressed SCA7 CDNAs Are Intergenerationally and Somatically Stable in Transgenic Mice
Human Molecular Genetics. Jan, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12490531
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is an autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the ataxin-7 gene. In humans, SCA7 is characterized by marked anticipation due to intergenerational repeat instability with a bias toward expansion, and is thus regarded as the most unstable of the polyglutamine diseases. To study the molecular basis of CAG/CTG repeat instability and its pathological significance, we generated lines of transgenic mice carrying either a SCA7 cDNA construct or a 13.5 kb SCA7 genomic fragment with 92 CAG repeats. While the cDNA transgenic mice showed little intergenerational repeat instability, the genomic fragment transgenic mice displayed marked intergenerational instability with an obvious expansion bias. We then went on to generate additional lines of genomic fragment transgenic mice, and observed that deletion of the 3' genomic region significantly stabilized intergenerational transmission of the SCA7 CAG92 repeat. These results suggest that cis-information present on the genomic fragment is driving the instability process. As the SCA7 genomic fragment contains a large number of replication-associated motifs, the presence of such sequence elements may make the SCA7 CAG repeat region more susceptible to instability. Small-pool and standard PCR analysis of tissues from genomic fragment mice revealed large repeat expansions in their brains and livers, but no such changes were found in any tissues from cDNA transgenic mice that have been shown to undergo neurodegeneration. As large somatic repeat expansions are absent from the brains of SCA7 cDNA mice, our results indicate that neurodegeneration can occur without marked somatic mosaicism, at least in these mice.
Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and Neurology. Mar, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12641375
The authors report a case of a 64-year-old male with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) pathology at autopsy who did not manifest the core symptoms of DLB until very late in his clinical course. His initial presentation of early executive and language dysfunction suggested a cortical dementia similar to frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Core symptoms of DLB including dementia, hallucination, and parkinsonian symptoms were not apparent until late in the course of his illness. Autopsy revealed both brainstem and cortical Lewy bodies and AD pathology. Family history revealed 7 relatives with a history of dementia including 4 with possible or probable DLB. This case is unique because of the FTLD-like presentation, positive family history of dementia, and autopsy confirmation of DLB.
Neuron. Jun, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 12797953
Nine inherited neurodegenerative disorders result from polyglutamine expansions. Two recently published papers on spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, together with studies on spinobulbar muscular atrophy last year, indicate that host protein context is the key arbiter of polyglutamine disease protein toxicity. This insight may represent the most important development in the field since the recognition of nuclear inclusions or the propensity of polyglutamine to aggregate. Indeed, an intimate and inextricable relationship may exist between polyglutamine neurotoxicity and the normal interactions, domains, modifications, and functions of the respective disease proteins.
Neuron. Sep, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 14527425
In this issue of Neuron, two papers provide evidence that polyglutamine (polyQ) proteins disrupt axonal transport. Gunawardena et al. show that normal levels of huntingtin are required for proper axonal transport in Drosophila. In addition, expression of expanded polyQ proteins disrupts axonal transport in larval neurons. Szebenyi and colleagues find that polyQ proteins directly inhibit fast axonal transport using axoplasm from the squid giant axon and suggest that axonal transport defects may be a common feature of polyQ disease pathogenesis.
Interference of Crx-dependent Transcription by Ataxin-7 Involves Interaction Between the Glutamine Regions and Requires the Ataxin-7 Carboxy-terminal Region for Nuclear Localization
Human Molecular Genetics. Jan, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 14613968
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract in the ataxin-7 protein. A unique feature of SCA7 is degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina, resulting in cone-rod dystrophy. In an SCA7 transgenic mouse model that we developed, it was found that the cone-rod dystrophy involves altered photoreceptor gene expression due to interference with Crx, a homeodomain transcription factor containing a glutamine-rich region. To determine the basis of the Crx-ataxin-7 interaction, Crx and ataxin-7 truncation and point mutants were generated, and the ability of mutant versions of either protein to co-immunoprecipitate the normal version of the other protein was tested. Thus Crx's ataxin-7 interaction domain was localized to its glutamine-rich region and ataxin-7's Crx binding domain was mapped to its glutamine tract. The importance of each protein's respective glutamine region for a productive interaction was confirmed by performing Crx transactivation assays in HEK293 cells and correlating the extent of Crx transcription interference with the intactness of each protein's glutamine region. It was also established that ataxin-7 must localize to the nucleus to repress Crx transactivation, and the likely nuclear localization signals were mapped to ataxin-7's carboxy-terminal region. Finally, using chromatin immunoprecipitation, it was demonstrated that Crx and ataxin-7 engage in a functionally significant interaction by co-occupying the promoter and enhancer regions of Crx-regulated retinal genes in vivo. The results suggest that one mechanism of SCA7 disease pathogenesis is transcription dysregulation, and that Crx transcription interference is a predominant factor in SCA7 cone-rod dystrophy retinal degeneration.
Androgen Receptor YAC Transgenic Mice Recapitulate SBMA Motor Neuronopathy and Implicate VEGF164 in the Motor Neuron Degeneration
Neuron. Mar, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15003169
X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is an inherited neuromuscular disorder characterized by lower motor neuron degeneration. SBMA is caused by polyglutamine repeat expansions in the androgen receptor (AR). To determine the basis of AR polyglutamine neurotoxicity, we introduced human AR yeast artificial chromosomes carrying either 20 or 100 CAGs into mouse embryonic stem cells. The AR100 transgenic mice developed a late-onset, gradually progressive neuromuscular phenotype accompanied by motor neuron degeneration, indicating striking recapitulation of the human disease. We then tested the hypothesis that polyglutamine-expanded AR interferes with CREB binding protein (CBP)-mediated transcription of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and observed altered CBP-AR binding and VEGF reduction in AR100 mice. We found that mutant AR-induced death of motor neuron-like cells could be rescued by VEGF. Our results suggest that SBMA motor neuronopathy involves altered expression of VEGF, consistent with a role for VEGF as a neurotrophic/survival factor in motor neuron disease.
A SCA7 CAG/CTG Repeat Expansion is Stable in Drosophila Melanogaster Despite Modulation of Genomic Context and Gene Dosage
Gene. Feb, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15715978
CAG and CTG repeat expansions are the cause of at least a dozen inherited neurological disorders. In these so-called "dynamic mutation" diseases, the expanded repeats display dramatic genetic instability, changing in size when transmitted through the germline and within somatic tissues. As the molecular basis of the repeat instability process remains poorly understood, modeling of repeat instability in model organisms has provided some insights into potentially involved factors, implicating especially replication and repair pathways. Studies in mice have also shown that the genomic context of the repeat sequence is required for CAG/CTG repeat instability in the case of spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7), one of the most unstable of all CAG/CTG repeat disease loci. While most studies of repeat instability have taken a candidate gene approach, unbiased screens for factors involved in trinucleotide repeat instability have been lacking. We therefore attempted to use Drosophila melanogaster to model expanded CAG repeat instability by creating transgenic flies carrying trinucleotide repeat expansions, deriving flies with SCA7 CAG90 repeats in cDNA and genomic context. We found that SCA7 CAG90 repeats are stable in Drosophila, regardless of context. To screen for genes whose reduced function might destabilize expanded CAG repeat tracts in Drosophila, we crossed the SCA7 CAG90 repeat flies with various deficiency stocks, including lines lacking genes encoding the orthologues of flap endonuclease-1, PCNA, and MutS. In all cases, perfect repeat stability was preserved, suggesting that Drosophila may not be a suitable system for determining the molecular basis of SCA7 CAG repeat instability.
Polyglutamine-expanded Ataxin-7 Inhibits STAGA Histone Acetyltransferase Activity to Produce Retinal Degeneration
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Jun, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15932940
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is characterized by cone-rod dystrophy retinal degeneration and is caused by a polyglutamine [poly(Q)] expansion within ataxin-7, a protein of previously unknown function. Here, we report that ataxin-7 is an integral component of the mammalian STAGA (SPT3-TAF9-ADA-GCN5 acetyltransferase) transcription coactivator complex, interacts directly with the GCN5 histone acetyltransferase component of STAGA, and mediates a direct interaction of STAGA with the CRX (cone-rod homeobox) transactivator of photoreceptor genes. Consistent with these results, chromatin immunoprecipitation assays document retinal-specific association of CRX, GCN5, and acetylated histone H3 with CRX target genes. RNA interference studies also implicate ataxin-7 and GCN5 in CRX-dependent gene activation, and histone deacetylase inhibitors restore the compromised expression of a CRX target gene in an ataxin-7-deficient background. Significantly, in relation to SCA7, poly(Q)-expanded ataxin-7 gets incorporated into STAGA and, in a dominant-negative manner, inhibits the nucleosomal histone acetylation function of STAGA GCN5 both in vitro and, based on chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, in SCA7 transgenic mice. These results suggest that the normal function of a poly(Q) disease protein may intersect with its pathogenic mechanism, an observation with significant implications for the molecular basis of all poly(Q) disorders and ultimately for their treatment.
Neuron. Jul, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15996541
A role for apoptotic mediators in neurodegenerative disease has long been considered, but the identity of the putative effectors and the basis of their actions in neurodegeneration remain ill-defined. Huntington's disease (HD) is a polyglutamine disorder whose pathogenesis likely involves mitochondrial dysfunction. In this issue of Neuron, Bae et al. present data implicating p53 in HD pathogenesis. This intriguing study may thus provide a link between nuclear transcription dysregulation and mitochondrial abnormalities in HD.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Dec, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16330780
Neuron. Dec, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 16337909
Nine dominantly inherited neurodegenerative diseases are caused by expansion of a CAG repeat encoding glutamine. An important development in the study of such "polyglutamine" diseases was the realization that merely shutting off expression of a disease-encoding transgene could arrest progression in animal models with significant disease pathology. Such studies opened the door to a powerful new therapeutic approach now being pioneered: silencing of the dominant disease allele by RNA-mediated interference (RNAi), for the arrest--and potential reversal--of the disease process.
The Purkinje Cell Degeneration 5J Mutation is a Single Amino Acid Insertion That Destabilizes Nna1 Protein
Mammalian Genome : Official Journal of the International Mammalian Genome Society. Feb, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16465590
In the mouse, Purkinje cell degeneration (pcd) is a recessive mutation characterized by degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje cells, retinal photoreceptors, olfactory bulb mitral neurons, and certain thalamic neurons, and is accompanied by defective spermatogenesis. Previous studies of pcd have led to the identification of Nna1 as the causal gene; however, how loss of Nna1 function results in neurodegeneration remains unresolved. One useful approach for establishing which functional domains of a protein underlie a recessive phenotype has been to determine the genetic basis of the various alleles at the locus of interest. Because none of the pcd alleles analyzed at the time of the identification of Nna1 provided insight into the molecular basis of Nna1 loss-of-function, we obtained a recent pcd remutation--pcd5J, and after determining that its phenotype is comparable to existing pcd severe alleles, we sought its genetic basis by sequencing Nna1. In this article we report that pcd5J results from the insertion of a single GAC triplet encoding an aspartic acid residue at position 775 of Nna1. Although this insertion does not affect Nna1 expression at the RNA level, Nna1pcd-5J protein expression is markedly decreased. Pulse-chase experiments reveal that the aspartic acid insertion dramatically destabilizes Nna1pcd-5J protein, accounting for the observation that pcd5J is a severe allele. The presence of a readily detectable genetic mutation in pcd5J confirms that Nna1 loss-of-function alone underlies the broad pcd phenotype and will facilitate further studies of how Nna1 loss-of-function produces neurodegeneration and defective spermatogenesis in pcd mice.
Gene. Apr, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16487669
The availability of genomic sequence information and extensive bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries for both the mouse and human genomes is ushering in a new era in biological research and disease modeling. To facilitate the study of large mammalian genes in vivo, we have developed: i) a simple lambda bacteriophage-based methodology for recombining overlapping bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) into a single larger BAC, and ii) a new methodology for targeting "seamless" mutations into BACs. In the first method, overlapping sequence from one BAC is cloned alongside a selectable marker and placed between unique sequence arms from the terminus of the other BAC to create a targeting construct. Two rounds of recombination-based cloning are then performed. The robustness of this methodology is demonstrated herein by using it to obtain a 254 kb BAC containing the entire human androgen receptor (hAR) gene. In the second method, transient expression of three lambda bacteriophage genes to 'pop-in' a targeting cassette is followed by RecA expression from the targeting vector itself to 'pop-out' the vector backbone. This new "hybrid recombineering" method combines the strengths of the lambda bacteriophage and RecA systems, while avoiding their major weaknesses. Application of this method for introduction of a 162 CAG repeat expansion into the hAR 254kb BAC is shown. With "hybrid recombineering", we believe that the power and utility of the classical 'pop-in/pop-out' approach -- so commonly and efficiently employed in yeast for decades -- can now be achieved with BACs.
Loss of Endogenous Androgen Receptor Protein Accelerates Motor Neuron Degeneration and Accentuates Androgen Insensitivity in a Mouse Model of X-linked Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy
Human Molecular Genetics. Jul, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16772330
X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA; Kennedy's disease) is a polyglutamine (polyQ) disease in which the affected males suffer progressive motor neuron degeneration accompanied by signs of androgen insensitivity, such as gynecomastia and reduced fertility. SBMA is caused by CAG repeat expansions in the androgen receptor (AR) gene resulting in the production of AR protein with an extended glutamine tract. SBMA is one of nine polyQ diseases in which polyQ expansion is believed to impart a toxic gain-of-function effect upon the mutant protein, and initiate a cascade of events that culminate in neurodegeneration. However, whether loss of a disease protein's normal function concomitantly contributes to the neurodegeneration remains unanswered. To address this, we examined the role of normal AR function in SBMA by crossing a highly representative AR YAC transgenic mouse model with 100 glutamines (AR100) and a corresponding control (AR20) onto an AR null (testicular feminization; Tfm) background. Absence of endogenous AR protein in AR100Tfm mice had profound effects upon neuromuscular and endocrine-reproductive features of this SBMA mouse model, as AR100Tfm mice displayed accelerated neurodegeneration and severe androgen insensitivity in comparison to AR100 littermates. Reduction in size and number of androgen-sensitive motor neurons in the spinal cord of AR100Tfm mice underscored the importance of AR action for neuronal health and survival. Promoter-reporter assays confirmed that AR transactivation competence diminishes in a polyQ length-dependent fashion. Our studies indicate that SBMA disease pathogenesis, both in the nervous system and the periphery, involves two simultaneous pathways: gain-of-function misfolded protein toxicity and loss of normal protein function.
Bergmann Glia Expression of Polyglutamine-expanded Ataxin-7 Produces Neurodegeneration by Impairing Glutamate Transport
Nature Neuroscience. Oct, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16936724
Non-neuronal cells may be pivotal in neurodegenerative disease, but the mechanistic basis of this effect remains ill-defined. In the polyglutamine disease spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7), Purkinje cells undergo non-cell-autonomous degeneration in transgenic mice. We considered the possibility that glial dysfunction leads to Purkinje cell degeneration, and generated mice that express ataxin-7 in Bergmann glia of the cerebellum with the Gfa2 promoter. Bergmann glia-specific expression of mutant ataxin-7 was sufficient to produce ataxia and neurodegeneration. Expression of the Bergmann glia-specific glutamate transporter GLAST was reduced in Gfa2-SCA7 mice and was associated with impaired glutamate transport in cultured Bergmann glia, cerebellar slices and cerebellar synaptosomes. Ultrastructural analysis of Purkinje cells revealed findings of dark cell degeneration consistent with excitotoxic injury. Our studies indicate that impairment of glutamate transport secondary to glial dysfunction contributes to SCA7 neurodegeneration, and suggest a similar role for glial dysfunction in other polyglutamine diseases and SCAs.
Beta-synuclein Modulates Alpha-synuclein Neurotoxicity by Reducing Alpha-synuclein Protein Expression
Human Molecular Genetics. Oct, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16959793
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by fibrillar aggregates of alpha-synuclein in characteristic inclusions known as "Lewy bodies". As mutations altering alpha-synuclein structure or increasing alpha-synuclein expression level can cause familial forms of PD or related Lewy body disorders, alpha-synuclein is believed to play a central role in the process of neuron toxicity, degeneration and death in "synucleinopathies". beta-synuclein is closely related to alpha-synuclein and has been shown to inhibit alpha-synuclein aggregation and ameliorate alpha-synuclein neurotoxicity. We generated beta-synuclein transgenic mice and observed a marked reduction in alpha-synuclein protein expression in the cortex of mice over-expressing beta-synuclein. This reduction in alpha-synuclein protein expression was not accompanied by decreases in alpha-synuclein mRNA expression. Using the prion protein promoter alpha-synuclein A53T mouse model of PD, we demonstrated that over-expression of beta-synuclein could retard the progression of impaired motor performance, reduce alpha-synuclein aggregation and extend survival in doubly transgenic mice. We attributed the amelioration of alpha-synuclein neurotoxicity in such bigenic mice to the ability of beta-synuclein to reduce alpha-synuclein protein expression based upon I(125) autoradiography quantification. Our findings indicate that increased expression of beta-synuclein protein results in a reduction of alpha-synuclein protein expression. As increased expression of alpha-synuclein may cause or contribute to PD pathogenesis in sporadic and familial forms of disease, this observation has important implications for the development of therapies for PD.
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Feb, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16314424
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by a CAG DNA triplet repeat expansion leading to an expanded polyglutamine tract in the ataxin-7 protein. Ataxin-7 appears to be a transcription factor and a component of the STAGA transcription coactivator complex. Here, using live cell imaging and inverted fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, we demonstrate that ataxin-7 has the ability to export from the nucleus via the CRM-1/exportin pathway and that ataxin-7 contains a classic leucine-type nuclear export signal (NES). We have precisely defined the location of this NES in ataxin-7 and found it to be fully conserved in all vertebrate species. Polyglutamine expansion was seen to reduce the nuclear export rate of mutant ataxin-7 relative to wild-type ataxin-7. Subtle point mutation of the NES in polyglutamine expanded ataxin-7 increased toxicity in primary cerebellar neurons in a polyglutamine length-dependent manner in the context of full-length ataxin-7. Our results add ataxin-7 to a growing list of polyglutamine disease proteins that are capable of nuclear shuttling, and we define an activity of ataxin-7 in the STAGA complex of trafficking between the nucleus and cytoplasm.
Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets. Aug, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16848688
Polyglutamine diseases, such as Huntington's disease, are among the most common inherited neurodegenerative disorders. They share salient clinical and pathological features with major sporadic neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotropic lateral sclerosis. Over the last decade, protein aggregation has emerged as a common pathological hallmark in neurodegenerative diseases and has, therefore, attracted considerable attention as a likely shared therapeutic target. Because of their clearly defined molecular genetic basis, polyglutamine diseases have allowed researchers to dissect the relationship between neurodegeneration and protein aggregation. In this review, the authors discuss recent progress in understanding polyglutamine-mediated neurotoxicity, and discuss the most promising therapeutic strategies being developed in the polyglutamine diseases and related neurodegenerative disorders.
Thermoregulatory and Metabolic Defects in Huntington's Disease Transgenic Mice Implicate PGC-1alpha in Huntington's Disease Neurodegeneration
Cell Metabolism. Nov, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 17055784
Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal, dominantly inherited disorder caused by polyglutamine repeat expansion in the huntingtin (htt) gene. Here, we observe that HD mice develop hypothermia associated with impaired activation of brown adipose tissue (BAT). Although sympathetic stimulation of PPARgamma coactivator 1alpha (PGC-1alpha) was intact in BAT of HD mice, uncoupling protein 1 (UCP-1) induction was blunted. In cultured cells, expression of mutant htt suppressed UCP-1 promoter activity; this was reversed by PGC-1alpha expression. HD mice showed reduced food intake and increased energy expenditure, with dysfunctional BAT mitochondria. PGC-1alpha is a known regulator of mitochondrial function; here, we document reduced expression of PGC-1alpha target genes in HD patient and mouse striatum. Mitochondria of HD mouse brain show reduced oxygen consumption rates. Finally, HD striatal neurons expressing exogenous PGC-1alpha were resistant to 3-nitropropionic acid treatment. Altered PGC-1alpha function may thus link transcription dysregulation and mitochondrial dysfunction in HD.
Cell. Nov, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 17110325
The neurodegenerative disease Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is a polyglutamine expansion disorder characterized by the death of Purkinje neurons in the brain. In this issue, Serra et al. (2006) implicate the impaired function of the orphan nuclear receptor RORalpha in SCA1 pathogenesis. Their intriguing results suggest that derailing a transcription program during embryonic development may render adult neurons more susceptible to toxic insults.
Visceral Neuropathy and Intestinal Pseudo-obstruction in a Murine Model of a Nuclear Inclusion Disease
Gastroenterology. Dec, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 18054568
Intestinal dysmotility is a component of many neurodegenerative disorders, including some characterized by neuronal intranuclear inclusions. PrP-SCA7-92Q transgenic mice phenocopy many aspects of the human polyglutamine neurodegenerative disorder spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7). The enteric neuropathology of PrP-SCA7-92Q mice was investigated after observing that they develop signs of intestinal pseudo-obstruction.
Human Molecular Genetics. Jul, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17470458
Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease caused by an expansion of the polyglutamine tract in the androgen receptor (AR). Here, we investigated the regulation of AR phosphorylation in order to understand factors that may modify SBMA disease progression. We show that expanded polyglutamine AR is phosphorylated by Akt. Substitution of the AR at two Akt consensus sites, S215 and S792, with aspartate, which mimics phosphorylation, reduces ligand binding, ligand-dependent nuclear translocation, transcriptional activation and toxicity of expanded polyglutamine AR. Co-expression of constitutively active Akt and the AR has similar consequences, which are blocked by alanine substitutions at residues 215 and 792. Furthermore, in motor neuron-derived MN-1 cells toxicity associated with polyglutamine-expanded AR is rescued by co-expression with Akt. Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) stimulation, which activates several cell survival promoting pathways, also reduces toxicity of the expanded polyglutamine AR in MN-1 cells, in a manner dependent upon phospho-inositol-3-kinase. IGF-1 rescue of AR toxicity is diminished by alanine substitutions at the Akt consensus sites. These results highlight potential targets for therapeutic intervention in SBMA.
Proteolytic Cleavage of Ataxin-7 by Caspase-7 Modulates Cellular Toxicity and Transcriptional Dysregulation
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Oct, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17646170
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is a polyglutamine (polyQ) disorder characterized by specific degeneration of cerebellar, brainstem, and retinal neurons. Although they share little sequence homology, proteins implicated in polyQ disorders have common properties beyond their characteristic polyQ tract. These include the production of proteolytic fragments, nuclear accumulation, and processing by caspases. Here we report that ataxin-7 is cleaved by caspase-7, and we map two putative caspase-7 cleavage sites to Asp residues at positions 266 and 344 of the ataxin-7 protein. Site-directed mutagenesis of these two caspase-7 cleavage sites in the polyQ-expanded form of ataxin-7 produces an ataxin-7 D266N/D344N protein that is resistant to caspase cleavage. Although ataxin-7 displays toxicity, forms nuclear aggregates, and represses transcription in human embryonic kidney 293T cells in a polyQ length-dependent manner, expression of the non-cleavable D266N/D344N form of polyQ-expanded ataxin-7 attenuated cell death, aggregate formation, and transcriptional interference. Expression of the caspase-7 truncation product of ataxin-7-69Q or -92Q, which removes the putative nuclear export signal and nuclear localization signals of ataxin-7, showed increased cellular toxicity. We also detected N-terminal polyQ-expanded ataxin-7 cleavage products in SCA7 transgenic mice similar in size to those generated by caspase-7 cleavage. In a SCA7 transgenic mouse model, recruitment of caspase-7 into the nucleus by polyQ-expanded ataxin-7 correlated with its activation. Our results, thus, suggest that proteolytic processing of ataxin-7 by caspase-7 may contribute to SCA7 disease pathogenesis.
Cerebellum (London, England). 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18418675
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is unique among CAG/polyglutamine (polyQ) repeat diseases due to dramatic intergenerational instability in repeat length and an associated cone-rod dystrophy retinal degeneration phenotype. SCA7 is caused by a polyQ expansion in the protein ataxin-7. Like other neurodegenerative diseases caused by polyQ expansion mutations, the spectrum of clinical severity and disease progression worsens with increasing polyQ length. Several potential mechanisms for the molecular pathogenesis of polyQ-expanded ataxin-7 have been suggested. These include, but are not limited to, alteration of endogenous ataxin-7 function, abnormal processing and stability of polyQ ataxin-7, and alteration of transcriptional regulation via interaction of polyQ-expanded ataxin-7 with other transcriptional regulators. Ataxin-7's normal function as a transcription factor may contribute to the selective vulnerability of specific cellular populations in SCA7, and the resolution of the mechanistic basis of this pathogenic cascade is a major focus of SCA7 disease research. PolyQ-expanded ataxin-7 can cause non-cell autonomous neurodegeneration in cerebellar Purkinje cells. Advances in understanding SCA7's molecular basis have led to important insights into cell-type specific neurodegeneration. We expect that further study of ataxin-7 normal function, insights into the molecular basis of SCA7 neurodegeneration, and the development of therapeutic interventions for SCA7 will greatly influence related endeavors directed at other CAG/polyQ repeat diseases.
The Zinc-binding Domain of Nna1 is Required to Prevent Retinal Photoreceptor Loss and Cerebellar Ataxia in Purkinje Cell Degeneration (pcd) Mice
Vision Research. Sep, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18602413
The Purkinje cell degeneration (pcd) mouse undergoes retinal photoreceptor degeneration and Purkinje cell loss. Nna1 is postulated to be the causal gene for pcd. We show that a BAC containing the Nna1 gene rescues retinal photoreceptor loss and Purkinje cell degeneration, confirming that Nna1 loss-of-function is responsible for these phenotypes. Mutation of the zinc-binding domain within the transgene destroyed its ability to rescue neuronal loss in pcd(5J) homozygous mice. In conclusion, Nna1 is required for survival of retinal photoreceptors and other neuron populations that degenerate in pcd mice. A functional zinc-binding domain is crucial for Nna1 to support neuron survival.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. Aug, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18625411
Polyglutamine repeat expansion in the androgen receptor is responsible for the motor neuron degeneration in X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA; Kennedy's disease). This mutation, like the other polyglutamine repeat expansions, has proven to be toxic itself by a gain-of-function effect; however, a growing body of evidence indicates that loss of androgen receptor normal function simultaneously contributes to SBMA disease pathology, and, conversely, that normal androgen receptor signaling mediates important trophic effects upon motor neurons. This review considers the trophic requirements of motor neurons, focusing upon the role of known neurotrophic factors in motor neuron disease natural history, and the interactions of androgen receptor signaling pathways with motor neuron disease pathogenesis and progression. A thorough understanding of androgen receptor signaling in motor neurons should provide important inroads toward the development of effective treatments for a variety of devastating motor neuron diseases.
CTCF Cis-regulates Trinucleotide Repeat Instability in an Epigenetic Manner: a Novel Basis for Mutational Hot Spot Determination
PLoS Genetics. Nov, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 19008940
At least 25 inherited disorders in humans result from microsatellite repeat expansion. Dramatic variation in repeat instability occurs at different disease loci and between different tissues; however, cis-elements and trans-factors regulating the instability process remain undefined. Genomic fragments from the human spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) locus, containing a highly unstable CAG tract, were previously introduced into mice to localize cis-acting "instability elements," and revealed that genomic context is required for repeat instability. The critical instability-inducing region contained binding sites for CTCF -- a regulatory factor implicated in genomic imprinting, chromatin remodeling, and DNA conformation change. To evaluate the role of CTCF in repeat instability, we derived transgenic mice carrying SCA7 genomic fragments with CTCF binding-site mutations. We found that CTCF binding-site mutation promotes triplet repeat instability both in the germ line and in somatic tissues, and that CpG methylation of CTCF binding sites can further destabilize triplet repeat expansions. As CTCF binding sites are associated with a number of highly unstable repeat loci, our findings suggest a novel basis for demarcation and regulation of mutational hot spots and implicate CTCF in the modulation of genetic repeat instability.
Nutrient Deprivation Induces Neuronal Autophagy and Implicates Reduced Insulin Signaling in Neuroprotective Autophagy Activation
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jan, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19017649
Although autophagy maintains normal neural function by degrading misfolded proteins, little is known about how neurons activate this integral response. Furthermore, classical methods of autophagy induction used with nonneural cells, such as starvation, simply result in neuron death. To study neuronal autophagy, we cultured primary cortical neurons from transgenic mice that ubiquitously express green fluorescent protein-tagged LC3 and monitored LC3-I to LC3-II conversion by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. Evaluation of different culture media led us to discover that culturing primary neurons in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium without B27 supplementation robustly activates autophagy. We validated this nutrient-limited media approach for inducing autophagy by showing that 3-methyl-adenine treatment and Atg5 RNA interference knockdown each inhibits LC3-I to LC3-II conversion. Evaluation of B27 supplement components yielded insulin as the factor whose absence induced autophagy in primary neurons, and this activation was mammalian target of rapamycin-dependent. When we tested if nutrient-limited media could protect neurons expressing polyglutamine-expanded proteins against cell death, we observed a strong protective effect, probably due to autophagy activation. Our results indicate that nutrient deprivation can be used to understand the regulatory basis of neuronal autophagy and implicate diminished insulin signaling in the activation of neuronal autophagy.
Polyglutamine-expanded Androgen Receptor Truncation Fragments Activate a Bax-dependent Apoptotic Cascade Mediated by DP5/Hrk
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Feb, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19228953
Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is an inherited neuromuscular disorder caused by a polyglutamine (polyQ) repeat expansion in the androgen receptor (AR). PolyQ-AR neurotoxicity may involve generation of an N-terminal truncation fragment, as such peptides occur in SBMA patients and mouse models. To elucidate the basis of SBMA, we expressed N-terminal truncated AR in motor neuron-derived cells and primary cortical neurons. Accumulation of polyQ-AR truncation fragments in the cytosol resulted in neurodegeneration and apoptotic, caspase-dependent cell death. Using primary neurons from mice transgenic or deficient for apoptosis-related genes, we determined that polyQ-AR apoptotic activation is fully dependent on Bax. Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) was required for apoptotic pathway activation through phosphorylation of c-Jun. Expression of polyQ-AR in DP5/Hrk null neurons yielded significant protection against apoptotic activation, but absence of Bim did not provide protection, apparently due to compensatory upregulation of DP5/Hrk or other BH3-only proteins. Misfolded AR protein in the cytosol thus initiates a cascade of events beginning with JNK and culminating in Bax-dependent, intrinsic pathway activation, mediated in part by DP5/Hrk. As apoptotic mediators are candidates for toxic fragment generation and other cellular processes linked to neuron dysfunction, delineation of the apoptotic activation pathway induced by polyQ-expanded AR may shed light on the pathogenic cascade in SBMA and other motor neuron diseases.
Nature Medicine. Mar, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19265826
Development of Selective Nutrient Deprivation As a System to Study Autophagy Induction and Regulation in Neurons
Autophagy. May, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19363305
Autophagy is emerging as a fundamentally important pathway for countering misfolded protein stress in the central nervous system. Indeed, many studies suggest that upregulation of a properly functioning macroautophagy pathway can be neuroprotective in neurodegenerative disorders characterized by the production of toxic protein conformers. Despite these advances, little is known about how autophagy is regulated in neurons. To directly study neuronal autophagy, we developed a primary neuron culture system where we can induce autophagy by withdrawal of a key supplement from the culture medium. We recently reported that the absence of insulin from the culture medium induces autophagy in this primary neuron system, and that the neuronal autophagy activation is mTOR-dependent. Further studies indicate that our nutrient-deprivation method of autophagy induction yields normally functioning and fully progressing autophagy based upon treatment with lysosomal inhibitors. As this method of autophagy induction can protect neurons from proteotoxic cell death, our findings suggest that an understanding of how to turn on autophagy in neurons could translate into a viable approach for treating neurodegenerative proteinopathies. However, before therapeutic applications can be realized, the pathways regulating neuronal autophagy need to be defined. As highlighted herein, our system for autophagy induction should contribute to efforts aimed at understanding the regulatory basis of autophagy activation in neurons.
Autophagy Activation and Enhanced Mitophagy Characterize the Purkinje Cells of Pcd Mice Prior to Neuronal Death
Molecular Brain. 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19640278
Purkinje cells are a class of specialized neurons in the cerebellum, and are among the most metabolically active of all neurons, as they receive immense synaptic stimulation, and provide the only efferent output from the cerebellum. Degeneration of Purkinje cells is a common feature of inherited ataxias in humans and mice. To understand Purkinje neuron degeneration, investigators have turned to naturally occurring Purkinje cell degeneration phenotypes in mice to identify key regulatory proteins and cellular pathways. The Purkinje cell degeneration (pcd) mouse is a recessive mutant characterized by complete and dramatic post-natal, cell autonomous Purkinje neuron degeneration and death. As the basis of Purkinje cell death in pcd is unresolved, and contradictory data has emerged for the role of autophagy in Purkinje cell degeneration, we studied the mechanism of Purkinje cell death in pcd mice. BAX null status did not suppress Purkinje neuron death in pcd mice, indicating that classic apoptosis is not responsible for Purkinje cell loss. Interestingly, LC3 Western blot analysis and GFP-LC3 immunostaining of degenerating pcd cerebellum revealed activation of the autophagy pathway. Ultrastructural studies confirmed increased autophagy pathway activity in Purkinje cells, and yielded evidence for mitophagy, in agreement with LC3 immunoblotting of cerebellar fractions. As p62 levels were decreased in pcd cerebellum, our findings suggest that pcd Purkinje cell neurons can execute effective autophagy. However, our results support a role for dysregulated autophagy activation in pcd, and suggest that increased or aberrant mitophagy contributes to the Purkinje cell degeneration in pcd mice.
Neurology. Sep, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19738176
Heterogeneity of motor phenotypes is a clinically well-recognized fundamental aspect of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and is determined by variability of 3 independent primary attributes: body region of onset; relative mix of upper motor neuron (UMN) and lower motor neuron (LMN) deficits; and rate of progression. Motor phenotypes are determined by the anatomy of the underlying neuropathology and the common defining elements underlying their heterogeneity are that motor neuron degeneration is fundamentally a focal process and that it spreads contiguously through the 3-dimensional anatomy of the UMN and LMN levels, thus causing seemingly complex and varied clinical manifestations. This suggests motor neuron degeneration in ALS is in actuality a very orderly and actively propagating process and that fundamental molecular mechanisms may be uniform and their chief properties deduced. This also suggests opportunities for translational research to seek pathobiology directly in the less affected regions of the nervous system.
Posttranslational Modification of Ataxin-7 at Lysine 257 Prevents Autophagy-mediated Turnover of an N-terminal Caspase-7 Cleavage Fragment
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Dec, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19955365
Polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion within the ataxin-7 protein, a member of the STAGA [SPT3-TAF(II)31-GCN5L acetylase] and TFTC (GCN5 and TRRAP) chromatin remodeling complexes, causes the neurodegenerative disease spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7). Proteolytic processing of ataxin-7 by caspase-7 generates N-terminal toxic polyQ-containing fragments that accumulate with disease progression and play an important role in SCA7 pathogenesis. To elucidate the basis for the toxicity of these fragments, we evaluated which posttranslational modifications of the N-terminal fragment of ataxin-7 modulate turnover and toxicity. Here, we show that mutating lysine 257 (K257), an amino acid adjacent to the caspase-7 cleavage site of ataxin-7 regulates turnover of the truncation product in a repeat-dependent manner. Modification of ataxin-7 K257 by acetylation promotes accumulation of the fragment, while unmodified ataxin-7 is degraded. The degradation of the caspase-7 cleavage product is mediated by macroautophagy in cell culture and primary neuron models of SCA7. Consistent with this, the fragment colocalizes with autophagic vesicle markers, and enhanced fragment accumulation increases in these lysosomal structures. We suggest that the levels of fragment accumulation within the cell is a key event in SCA7 neurodegeneration, and enhancing clearance of polyQ-containing fragments may be an effective target to reduce neurotoxicity in SCA7.
Nature Reviews. Genetics. Apr, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20177426
Repeat expansion mutations cause at least 22 inherited neurological diseases. The complexity of repeat disease genetics and pathobiology has revealed unexpected shared themes and mechanistic pathways among the diseases, such as RNA toxicity. Also, investigation of the polyglutamine diseases has identified post-translational modification as a key step in the pathogenic cascade and has shown that the autophagy pathway has an important role in the degradation of misfolded proteins--two themes that are likely to be relevant to the entire neurodegeneration field. Insights from repeat disease research are catalysing new lines of study that should not only elucidate molecular mechanisms of disease but also highlight opportunities for therapeutic intervention for these currently untreatable disorders.
Mitochondrial Dysfunction in NnaD Mutant Flies and Purkinje Cell Degeneration Mice Reveals a Role for Nna Proteins in Neuronal Bioenergetics
Neuron. Jun, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20620870
The Purkinje cell degeneration (pcd) mouse is a recessive model of neurodegeneration, involving cerebellum and retina. Purkinje cell death in pcd is dramatic, as >99% of Purkinje neurons are lost in 3 weeks. Loss of function of Nna1 causes pcd, and Nna1 is a highly conserved zinc carboxypeptidase. To determine the basis of pcd, we implemented a two-pronged approach, combining characterization of loss-of-function phenotypes of the Drosophila Nna1 ortholog (NnaD) with proteomics analysis of pcd mice. Reduced NnaD function yielded larval lethality, with survivors displaying phenotypes that mirror disease in pcd. Quantitative proteomics revealed expression alterations for glycolytic and oxidative phosphorylation enzymes. Nna proteins localize to mitochondria, loss of NnaD/Nna1 produces mitochondrial abnormalities, and pcd mice display altered proteolytic processing of Nna1 interacting proteins. Our studies indicate that Nna1 loss of function results in altered bioenergetics and mitochondrial dysfunction.
Proteomics of Dense Core Secretory Vesicles Reveal Distinct Protein Categories for Secretion of Neuroeffectors for Cell-cell Communication
Journal of Proteome Research. Oct, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20695487
Regulated secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohumoral factors from dense core secretory vesicles provides essential neuroeffectors for cell-cell communication in the nervous and endocrine systems. This study provides comprehensive proteomic characterization of the categories of proteins in chromaffin dense core secretory vesicles that participate in cell-cell communication from the adrenal medulla. Proteomic studies were conducted by nano-HPLC Chip MS/MS tandem mass spectrometry. Results demonstrate that these secretory vesicles contain proteins of distinct functional categories consisting of neuropeptides and neurohumoral factors, protease systems, neurotransmitter enzymes and transporters, receptors, enzymes for biochemical processes, reduction/oxidation regulation, ATPases, protein folding, lipid biochemistry, signal transduction, exocytosis, calcium regulation, as well as structural and cell adhesion proteins. The secretory vesicle proteomic data identified 371 proteins in the soluble fraction and 384 membrane proteins, for a total of 686 distinct secretory vesicle proteins. Notably, these proteomic analyses illustrate the presence of several neurological disease-related proteins in these secretory vesicles, including huntingtin interacting protein, cystatin C, ataxin 7, and prion protein. Overall, these findings demonstrate that multiple protein categories participate in dense core secretory vesicles for production, storage, and secretion of bioactive neuroeffectors for cell-cell communication in health and disease.
Déjà Vu with a Twist: Transglutaminases in Bioenergetics and Transcriptional Dysfunction in Huntington's Disease
EMBO Molecular Medicine. Sep, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20730854
The article by McConoughey et al in the current issue of EMBO Molecular Medicine examines the contribution of transglutaminase 2 (TG2) to Huntington's disease (HD) pathogenesis. The authors find that TG2 inhibition can ameliorate HD neurodegeneration, and thereby elevate the status of transglutaminases (TGs) to a major therapeutic target-not because of their well-known activity in mutant protein aggregation, but instead based upon their ability to epigenetically modulate transcription and energy production. While the reintroduction of TG inhibition as a therapy for HD may evoke feelings of déjà vu, the outcome this time around could go in a dramatically different direction.
Neurobiology of Disease. Jul, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 20887789
Macroautophagy is a cellular process by which cytosolic components and organelles are degraded in double-membrane bound structures upon fusion with lysosomes. A pathway for selective degradation of mitochondria by autophagy, known as mitophagy, has been described, and is of particular importance to neurons, because of the constant need for high levels of energy production in this cell type. Although much remains to be learned about mitophagy, it appears that the regulation of mitophagy shares key steps with the macroautophagy pathway, while exhibiting distinct regulatory steps specific for mitochondrial autophagic turnover. Mitophagy is emerging as an important pathway in neurodegenerative disease, and has been linked to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease through the study of recessively inherited forms of this disorder, involving PINK1 and Parkin. Recent work indicates that PINK1 and Parkin together maintain mitochondrial quality control by regulating mitophagy. In the Purkinje cell degeneration (pcd) mouse, altered mitophagy may contribute to the dramatic neuron cell death observed in the cerebellum, suggesting that over-active mitophagy or insufficient mitophagy can both be deleterious. Finally, mitophagy has been linked to aging, as impaired macroautophagy over time promotes mitochondrial dysfunction associated with the aging process. Understanding the role of mitophagy in neural function, neurodegenerative disease, and aging represents an essential goal for future research in the autophagy field. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Autophagy and protein degradation in neurological diseases."
Human Molecular Genetics. May, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21317158
Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), or Kennedy's disease, is a late-onset motor neuron disease (MND) caused by an abnormal expansion of the CAG repeat in the androgen receptor (AR) gene on the X-chromosome, encoding a polyglutamine (poly-Q) sequence in the protein product. Mutant poly-Q-expanded AR protein is widely expressed but leads to selective lower motoneuron death. Although the mechanisms that underlie SBMA remain unclear, defective axonal transport has been implicated in MND and other forms of poly-Q disease. Transcriptional dysregulation may also be involved in poly-Q repeat pathology. We therefore examined axonal transport in a mouse model of SBMA recapitulating many aspects of the human disease. We found no difference in the expression levels of motor and the microtubule-associated protein tau, in the spinal cord and sciatic nerve of wild-type (WT) and SBMA mice at various stages of disease progression. Furthermore, we found no alteration in binding properties of motor proteins and tau to microtubules. Moreover, analysis of axonal transport rates both in cultured primary motoneurons in vitro and in vivo in the sciatic nerve of adult WT and mutant SBMA mice demonstrated no overt axonal transport deficits in these systems. Our results therefore indicate that unlike other motoneuron and poly-Q diseases, axonal transport deficits do not play a significant role in the pathogenesis of SBMA.
An Antisense CAG Repeat Transcript at JPH3 Locus Mediates Expanded Polyglutamine Protein Toxicity in Huntington's Disease-like 2 Mice
Neuron. May, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21555070
Huntington's disease-like-2 (HDL2) is a phenocopy of Huntington's disease caused by CTG/CAG repeat expansion at the Junctophilin-3 (JPH3) locus. The mechanisms underlying HDL2 pathogenesis remain unclear. Here we developed a BAC transgenic mouse model of HDL2 (BAC-HDL2) that exhibits progressive motor deficits, selective neurodegenerative pathology, and ubiquitin-positive nuclear inclusions (NIs). Molecular analyses reveal a promoter at the transgene locus driving the expression of a CAG repeat transcript (HDL2-CAG) from the strand antisense to JPH3, which encodes an expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) protein. Importantly, BAC-HDL2 mice, but not control BAC mice, accumulate polyQ-containing NIs in a pattern strikingly similar to those in the patients. Furthermore, BAC mice with genetic silencing of the expanded CUG transcript still express HDL2-CAG transcript and manifest polyQ pathogenesis. Finally, studies of HDL2 mice and patients revealed CBP sequestration into NIs and evidence for interference of CBP-mediated transcriptional activation. These results suggest overlapping polyQ-mediated pathogenic mechanisms in HD and HDL2.
CTCF Regulates Ataxin-7 Expression Through Promotion of a Convergently Transcribed, Antisense Noncoding RNA
Neuron. Jun, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21689595
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by CAG/polyglutamine repeat expansions in the ataxin-7 gene. Ataxin-7 is a component of two different transcription coactivator complexes, and recent work indicates that disease protein normal function is altered in polyglutamine neurodegeneration. Given this, we studied how ataxin-7 gene expression is regulated. The ataxin-7 repeat and translation start site are flanked by binding sites for CTCF, a highly conserved multifunctional transcription regulator. When we analyzed this region, we discovered an adjacent alternative promoter and a convergently transcribed antisense noncoding RNA, SCAANT1. To understand how CTCF regulates ataxin-7 gene expression, we introduced ataxin-7 mini-genes into mice, and found that CTCF is required for SCAANT1 expression. Loss of SCAANT1 derepressed ataxin-7 sense transcription in a cis-dependent fashion and was accompanied by chromatin remodeling. Discovery of this pathway underscores the importance of altered epigenetic regulation for disease pathology at repeat loci exhibiting bidirectional transcription.
Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 7 Cerebellar Disease Requires the Coordinated Action of Mutant Ataxin-7 in Neurons and Glia, and Displays Non-cell-autonomous Bergmann Glia Degeneration
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Nov, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22072678
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is a dominantly inherited disorder characterized by cerebellum and brainstem neurodegeneration. SCA7 is caused by a CAG/polyglutamine (polyQ) repeat expansion in the ataxin-7 gene. We previously reported that directed expression of polyQ-ataxin-7 in Bergmann glia (BG) in transgenic mice leads to ataxia and non-cell-autonomous Purkinje cell (PC) degeneration. To further define the cellular basis of SCA7, we derived a conditional inactivation mouse model by inserting a loxP-flanked ataxin-7 cDNA with 92 repeats into the translational start site of the murine prion protein (PrP) gene in a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC). The PrP-floxed-SCA7-92Q BAC mice developed neurological disease, and exhibited cerebellar degeneration and BG process loss. To inactivate polyQ-ataxin-7 expression in specific cerebellar cell types, we crossed PrP-floxed-SCA7-92Q BAC mice with Gfa2-Cre transgenic mice (to direct Cre to BG) or Pcp2-Cre transgenic mice (which yields Cre in PCs and inferior olive). Excision of ataxin-7 from BG partially rescued the behavioral phenotype, but did not prevent BG process loss or molecular layer thinning, while excision of ataxin-7 from PCs and inferior olive provided significantly greater rescue and prevented both pathological changes, revealing a non-cell-autonomous basis for BG pathology. When we prevented expression of mutant ataxin-7 in BG, PCs, and inferior olive by deriving Gfa2-Cre;Pcp2-Cre;PrP-floxed-SCA7-92Q BAC triple transgenic mice, we noted a dramatic improvement in SCA7 disease phenotypes. These findings indicate that SCA7 disease pathogenesis involves a convergence of alterations in a variety of different cell types to fully recapitulate the cerebellar degeneration.
PGC-1α at the Intersection of Bioenergetics Regulation and Neuron Function: From Huntington's Disease to Parkinson's Disease and Beyond
Progress in Neurobiology. Nov, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22100502
Neurons are specialized cells with unique features, including a constant high demand for energy. Mitochondria satisfy this constant demand, and are emerging as a central target for dysfunction in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Huntington's disease (HD) and Parkinson's disease. PPARγ co-activator-1α (PGC-1α) is a transcription co-activator for nuclear receptors such as the PPARs, and thereby coordinates a number of gene expression programs to promote mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative phosphorylation. Studies of PGC-1α knock-out mice have yielded important insights into the role of PGC-1α in normal nervous system function and potentially neurological disease. HD is caused by a polyglutamine repeat expansion in the huntingtin protein, and decades of work have established mitochondrial dysfunction as a key feature of HD pathogenesis. However, after the discovery of the HD gene, numerous reports produced strong evidence for altered transcription in HD. In 2006, a series of studies revealed that PGC-1α transcription interference contributes to HD neurodegeneration, linking the nuclear transcriptionopathy with the mitochondrial dysfunction. Subsequent work has strengthened this view, and further extended the role of PGC-1α within the CNS. Within the last year, studies of Parkinson's disease, another involuntary movement disorder long associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, have shown that PGC-1α dysregulation is contributing to its pathogenesis. As PGC-1α is likely also important for aging, a process with considerable relevance to neuron function, translational studies aimed at developing therapies based upon the PGC-1α pathway as a high priority target are underway.
Human Molecular Genetics. Mar, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22100762
The spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) gene product, Ataxin-7 (ATXN7), localizes to the nucleus and has been shown to function as a component of the TATA-binding protein-free TAF-containing-SPT3-TAF9-GCN5-acetyltransferase transcription complex, although cytoplasmic localization of ATXN7 in affected neurons of human SCA7 patients has also been detected. Here, we define a physiological function for cytoplasmic ATXN7. Live imaging reveals that the intracellular distribution of ATXN7 dynamically changes and that ATXN7 distribution frequently shifts from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Immunocytochemistry and immunoprecipitation demonstrate that cytoplasmic ATXN7 associates with microtubules (MTs), and expression of ATXN7 stabilizes MTs against nocodazole treatment, while ATXN7 knockdown enhances MT degradation. Interestingly, normal and mutant ATXN7 similarly associate with and equally stabilize MTs. Taken together, these findings provide a novel physiological function of ATXN7 in the regulation of cytoskeletal dynamics, and suggest that abnormal cytoskeletal regulation may contribute to SCA7 disease pathology.