Proteolipid protein (PLP) and DM20, the most abundant myelin proteins, are coded by the human PLP1 and non-human Plp1 PLP gene. Mutations in the PLP1 gene cause Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD) with duplications of the native PLP1 gene accounting for 70% of PLP1 mutations. Humans with PLP1 duplications and mice with extra Plp1 copies have extensive neuronal degeneration. The mechanism that causes neuronal degeneration is unknown. We show that native PLP traffics to mitochondria when the gene is duplicated in mice and in humans. This report is the first demonstration of a specific cellular defect in brains of PMD patients; it validates rodent models as ideal models to study PMD. Insertion of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins requires specific import pathways; we show that specific cysteine motifs, part of the Mia40/Erv1 mitochondrial import pathway, are present in PLP and are required for its insertion into mitochondria. Insertion of native PLP into mitochondria of transfected cells acidifies media, partially due to increased lactate; it also increases adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the media. The same abnormalities are found in the extracellular space of mouse brains with extra copies of Plp1. These physiological abnormalities are preventable by mutations in PLP cysteine motifs, a hallmark of the Mia40/Erv1 pathway. Increased extracellular ATP and acidosis lead to neuronal degeneration. Our findings may be the mechanism by which microglia are activated and proinflammatory molecules are upregulated in Plp1 transgenic mice (Tatar et al. (2010) ASN Neuro 2:art:e00043). Manipulation of this metabolic pathway may restore normal metabolism and provide therapy for PMD patients.
Cells expressing the dopamine D1 receptor (DRD1) have significant functional roles in diverse physiological processes including locomotion and drug addiction. The present work presents a novel in vivo DRD1-Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) Tet-on system allowing for the inducible activation of tet-operated transgenes specifically within DRD1-expressing cells of transgenic mice. It is shown that the DRD1-rtTA BAC-driven expression of a tet-operated reporter is under tight regulation by doxycycline and is restricted to DRD1-expressing brain regions. The model will be a useful research tool in studies of movement and reward and associated pathologies such as Parkinsons disease and addiction.
Obesity increases the risk of multiple diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart diseases, and therefore the current obesity epidemic poses a major public health issue. Therapeutic approaches are urgently needed to treat obesity as well as its complications. Plasma-membrane proteins with restricted tissue distributions are attractive drug targets, because of their accessibility to various drug delivery mechanisms and potentially alleviated side effects. To identify genes involved in metabolism, we performed RNA-Seq on fat in mice treated with a high-fat diet or fasting. Here we show that the gene A530016L24Rik (human ortholog C14orf180), named Nrac, is a novel nutritionally-regulated adipose and cardiac-enriched gene. Nrac is expressed specifically and abundantly in fat and the heart. Both fasting and obesity reduced Nrac expression in white adipose tissue, and fasting reduced its expression in brown fat. Nrac is localized to the plasma membrane, and highly induced during adipocyte differentiation. Nrac is therefore a novel adipocyte marker and has potential functions in metabolism.
Hyperlipidemia is a major contributor to cardiovascular diseases. Members of the angiopoietin-like protein family (ANGPTLs) are important determinants of blood lipid levels. Lipasin, a newly identified gene that regulates serum triglycerides, is homologous to ANGPTL3s N-terminal domain, which is sufficient and necessary for blood lipid regulation. Brown fat is critical in mediating energy homeostasis. Thermogenesis is the primary function of brown fat, in which Lipasin and some ANGPTLs are abundant; it is unknown, however, whether these genes are thermoregulated. We therefore comprehensively examined the thermoregulation of Lipasin and ANGPTLs in brown fat. Here we show that Lipasin is a novel but atypical member of the ANGPTL family because it is within the same branch as ANGPTL3 and 4 by phylogenetic analysis. The mRNA levels of Lipasin are dramatically increased in the cold environment (4 °C for 4 h) whereas those of ANGPTL4 and ANGPTL2 are suppressed. Fasting dramatically suppresses Lipasin but increases ANGPTL4. High-fat diet treatment increases Lipasin, but reduces ANGPTL2. The distinct transcriptional regulations of Lipasin, ANGPTL2 and ANGPTL4 in brown fat in response to cold exposure and nutritional stimulation suggest distinct physiological roles for ANGPTL family members in mediating thermogenesis and energy homeostasis.
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