278 research outputs found

    Disrupted glycosylation of lipids and proteins is a cause of neurodegeneration

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    Glycosyltransferases represent a large family of enzymes that catalyse the biosynthesis of oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, and glycoconjugates. A number of studies have implicated glycosyltransferases in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases but differentiating cause from effect has been difficult. We have recently discovered that mutations proximal to the substrate binding site of glycosyltransferase 8 domain containing 1 (GLT8D1) are associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We demonstrated that ALS-associated mutations reduce activity of the enzyme suggesting a loss-of-function mechanism that is an attractive therapeutic target. Our work is the first evidence that isolated dysfunction of a glycosyltransferase is sufficient to cause a neurodegenerative disease, but connection between neurodegeneration and genetic variation within glycosyltransferases is not new. Previous studies have identified associations between mutations in UGT8 and sporadic ALS, and between ST6GAL1 mutations and conversion of mild cognitive impairment into clinical Alzheimer’s disease. In this review we consider potential mechanisms connecting glycosyltransferase dysfunction to neurodegeneration. The most prominent candidates are ganglioside synthesis and impaired addition of O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) groups to proteins important for axonal and synaptic function. Special consideration is given to examples where genetic mutations within glycosyltransferases are associated with neurodegeneration in recognition of the fact that these changes are likely to be upstream causes present from birth

    Mutations in the Glycosyltransferase Domain of GLT8D1 Are Associated with Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a severe neurodegenerative disorder without effective neuroprotective therapy. Known genetic variants impair pathways, including RNA processing, axonal transport, and protein homeostasis. We report ALS-causing mutations within the gene encoding the glycosyltransferase GLT8D1. Exome sequencing in an autosomal-dominant ALS pedigree identified p.R92C mutations in GLT8D1, which co-segregate with disease. Sequencing of local and international cohorts demonstrated significant ALS association in the same exon, including additional rare deleterious mutations in conserved amino acids. Mutations are associated with the substrate binding site, and both R92C and G78W changes impair GLT8D1 enzyme activity. Mutated GLT8D1 exhibits in vitro cytotoxicity and induces motor deficits in zebrafish consistent with ALS. Relative toxicity of mutations in model systems mirrors clinical severity. In conclusion, we have linked ALS pathophysiology to inherited mutations that diminish the activity of a glycosyltransferase enzyme

    “Maybe we should take the legal ways”: Citizen engagement with lower state courts in post‐war northern Uganda

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    Lower state courts are the focus of both international and national access to justice policies and programs but remain understudied in Uganda. Drawing on 3 years of ethnographically informed research on citizen engagement with a busy magistrates' court in post-war northern Uganda, we show the diverse reasons why citizens appeal to the rule-of-law in places where state authority is contested. In a context of limited statehood, against a backdrop of high-levels of corruption and inefficiency in the judicial system, people turn to lower state courts for normative, pragmatic, and tactical reasons that are not well captured by conventional measures of procedural justice. Our findings extend theory on citizen-authority relations in a global context, shedding light on contextual meanings of legitimacy, trust, and corruption in places where lower state courts are deeply problematic sites for achieving justice

    Genetics of Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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    Physical activity as an exogenous risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a review of the evidence

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    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disorder. The only established epidemiological risk factors for ALS are male sex and increasing age. The role of physical activity has been debated as an environmental risk factor. Over the last decade multiple studies have attempted to delineate the architecture of ALS. These have not yet established definite risk factors, often due to low-powered studies, lack of focus on at-risk genotypes and sub-optimal methodology. We have conducted a review of all the studies published between 2009 and December 2021. The free text search terms were [(motor neuron disease) OR (MND) OR (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) OR (ALS)] AND [(Exercise) or (Physical Activity) or (PA) or (sport)]. We identified common themes, for example soccer, head injury and the physiological mechanisms that differ in ALS patients. We have analysed the relevant, available studies (n = 93), highlighting the underlying reasons for any reported discrepancies. Overall, we have found that the more highly powered studies using validated exposure methodologies, linked strenuous, anaerobic physical activity as a risk factor for ALS. Future large-scale studies focusing on specific at-risk genotypes and physical activity should be conducted to confirm this finding. This will strengthen the evidence already surrounding strenuous physical activity as an environmental risk factor for ALS and allow advice to be given to at-risk family members. Increasing our understanding of the genetic–environmental interactions in the pathophysiology of ALS will allow for the possibility of developing preventative therapeutic approaches

    TDP43 proteinopathy is associated with aberrant DNA methylation in human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

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    Background Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor neurone (MN) degeneration and death. ALS can be sporadic (sALS) or familial, with a number of associated gene mutations, including C9orf72 (C9ALS). DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism whereby a methyl group is attached to a cytosine (5mC), resulting in gene expression repression. 5mC can be further oxidized to 5‐hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC). DNA methylation has been studied in other neurodegenerative diseases, but little work has been conducted in ALS. Aims To assess differences in DNA methylation in individuals with ALS and the relationship between DNA methylation and TDP43 pathology. Methods Post mortem tissue from controls, sALS cases and C9ALS cases were assessed by immunohistochemistry for 5mC and 5hmC in spinal cord, motor cortex and prefrontal cortex. LMNs were extracted from a subset of cases using laser capture microdissection. DNA from these underwent analysis using the MethylationEPIC array to determine which molecular processes were most affected. Results There were higher levels of 5mC and 5hmC in sALS and C9ALS in the residual lower motor neurones (LMNs) of the spinal cord. Importantly, in LMNs with TDP43 pathology there was less nuclear 5mC and 5hmC compared to the majority of residual LMNs that lacked TDP43 pathology. Enrichment analysis of the array data suggested RNA metabolism was particularly affected. Conclusions DNA methylation is a contributory factor in ALS LMN pathology. This is not so for glia or neocortical neurones
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