602 research outputs found

    Single copy/knock-in models of ALS SOD1 in C. elegans suggest loss and gain of function have different contributions to cholinergic and glutamatergic neurodegeneration

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    Mutations in Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) lead to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), a neurodegenerative disease that disproportionately affects glutamatergic and cholinergic motor neurons. Previous work with SOD1 overexpression models supports a role for SOD1 toxic gain of function in ALS pathogenesis. However, the impact of SOD1 loss of function in ALS cannot be directly examined in overexpression models. In addition, overexpression may obscure the contribution of SOD1 loss of function in the degeneration of different neuronal populations. Here, we report the first single-copy, ALS knock-in models in C. elegans generated by transposon- or CRISPR/Cas9- mediated genome editing of the endogenous sod-1 gene. Introduction of ALS patient amino acid changes A4V, H71Y, L84V, G85R or G93A into the C. elegans sod-1 gene yielded single-copy/knock-in ALS SOD1 models. These differ from previously reported overexpression models in multiple assays. In single-copy/knock-in models, we observed differential impact of sod-1 ALS alleles on glutamatergic and cholinergic neurodegeneration. A4V, H71Y, G85R, and G93A animals showed increased SOD1 protein accumulation and oxidative stress induced degeneration, consistent with a toxic gain of function in cholinergic motor neurons. By contrast, H71Y, L84V, and G85R lead to glutamatergic neuron degeneration due to sod-1 loss of function after oxidative stress. However, dopaminergic and serotonergic neuronal populations were spared in single-copy ALS models, suggesting a neuronal-subtype specificity previously not reported in invertebrate ALS SOD1 models. Combined, these results suggest that knock-in models may reproduce the neurotransmitter-type specificity of ALS and that both SOD1 loss and gain of toxic function differentially contribute to ALS pathogenesis in different neuronal populations.Peer reviewe

    Decreased function of survival motor neuron protein impairs endocytic pathways

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    This document is the Accepted Manuscript version. The final, definitive version is available online at https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1600015113.Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by depletion of the ubiquitously expressed survival motor neuron (SMN) protein, with 1 in 40 Caucasians being heterozygous for a disease allele. SMN is critical for the assembly of numerous ribonucleoprotein complexes, yet it is still unclear how reduced SMN levels affect motor neuron function. Here, we examined the impact of SMN depletion in Caenorhabditis elegans and found that decreased function of the SMN ortholog SMN-1 perturbed endocytic pathways at motor neuron synapses and in other tissues. Diminished SMN-1 levels caused defects in C. elegans neuromuscular function, and smn-1 genetic interactions were consistent with an endocytic defect. Changes were observed in synaptic endocytic proteins when SMN-1 levels decreased. At the ultrastructural level, defects were observed in endosomal compartments, including significantly fewer docked synaptic vesicles. Finally, endocytosis-dependent infection by JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) was reduced in human cells with decreased SMN levels. Collectively, these results demonstrate for the first time, to our knowledge, that SMN depletion causes defects in endosomal trafficking that impair synaptic function, even in the absence of motor neuron cell death.Peer reviewedFinal Accepted Versio

    A Small Conductance Calcium-Activated K<sup>+</sup> Channel in C. elegans, KCNL-2, Plays a Role in the Regulation of the Rate of Egg-Laying

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    In the nervous system of mice, small conductance calcium-activated potassium (SK) channels function to regulate neuronal excitability through the generation of a component of the medium afterhyperpolarization that follows action potentials. In humans, irregular action potential firing frequency underlies diseases such as ataxia, epilepsy, schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease. Due to the complexity of studying protein function in the mammalian nervous system, we sought to characterize an SK channel homologue, KCNL-2, in C. elegans, a genetically tractable system in which the lineage of individual neurons was mapped from their early developmental stages. Sequence analysis of the KCNL-2 protein reveals that the six transmembrane domains, the potassium-selective pore and the calmodulin binding domain are highly conserved with the mammalian homologues. We used widefield and confocal fluorescent imaging to show that a fusion construct of KCNL-2 with GFP in transgenic lines is expressed in the nervous system of C. elegans. We also show that a KCNL-2 null strain, kcnl-2(tm1885), demonstrates a mild egg-laying defective phenotype, a phenotype that is rescued in a KCNL-2-dependent manner. Conversely, we show that transgenic lines that overexpress KCNL-2 demonstrate a hyperactive egg-laying phenotype. In this study, we show that the vulva of transgenic hermaphrodites is highly innervated by neuronal processes and by the VC4 and VC5 neurons that express GFP-tagged KCNL-2. We propose that KCNL-2 functions in the nervous system of C. elegans to regulate the rate of egg-laying. © 2013 Chotoo et al

    Neurocalcin Delta Suppression Protects against Spinal Muscular Atrophy in Humans and across Species by Restoring Impaired Endocytosis

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    This document is the Accepted Manuscript version of the following article: Riessland et al., 'Neurocalcin Delta Suppression Protects against Spinal Muscular Atrophy in Humans and across Species by Restoring Impaired Endocytosis', The American Journal of Human Genetics, Vol. 100 (2): 297-315, first published online 26 January 2017. The final, published version is available online at doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.01.005 © 2017 American Society of Human Genetics.Homozygous SMN1 loss causes spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the most common lethal genetic childhood motor neuron disease. SMN1 encodes SMN, a ubiquitous housekeeping protein, which makes the primarily motor neuron-specific phenotype rather unexpected. SMA-affected individuals harbor low SMN expression from one to six SMN2 copies, which is insufficient to functionally compensate for SMN1 loss. However, rarely individuals with homozygous absence of SMN1 and only three to four SMN2 copies are fully asymptomatic, suggesting protection through genetic modifier(s). Previously, we identified plastin 3 (PLS3) overexpression as an SMA protective modifier in humans and showed that SMN deficit impairs endocytosis, which is rescued by elevated PLS3 levels. Here, we identify reduction of the neuronal calcium sensor Neurocalcin delta (NCALD) as a protective SMA modifier in five asymptomatic SMN1-deleted individuals carrying only four SMN2 copies. We demonstrate that NCALD is a Ca(2+)-dependent negative regulator of endocytosis, as NCALD knockdown improves endocytosis in SMA models and ameliorates pharmacologically induced endocytosis defects in zebrafish. Importantly, NCALD knockdown effectively ameliorates SMA-associated pathological defects across species, including worm, zebrafish, and mouse. In conclusion, our study identifies a previously unknown protective SMA modifier in humans, demonstrates modifier impact in three different SMA animal models, and suggests a potential combinatorial therapeutic strategy to efficiently treat SMA. Since both protective modifiers restore endocytosis, our results confirm that endocytosis is a major cellular mechanism perturbed in SMA and emphasize the power of protective modifiers for understanding disease mechanism and developing therapies.Peer reviewedFinal Accepted Versio

    Genetic modifiers ameliorate endocytic and neuromuscular defects in a model of spinal muscular atrophy

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    © 2020 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.Background: Understanding the genetic modifiers of neurodegenerative diseases can provide insight into the mechanisms underlying these disorders. Here, we examine the relationship between the motor neuron disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which is caused by reduced levels of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein, and the actin-bundling protein Plastin 3 (PLS3). Increased PLS3 levels suppress symptoms in a subset of SMA patients and ameliorate defects in SMA disease models, but the functional connection between PLS3 and SMN is poorly understood.Results: We provide immunohistochemical and biochemical evidence for large protein complexes localized in vertebrate motor neuron processes that contain PLS3, SMN and members of the hnRNP F/H family of proteins. Using a Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) SMA model, we determine that overexpression of PLS3 or loss of the C. elegans hnRNP F/H ortholog SYM-2 enhances endocytic function and ameliorates neuromuscular defects caused by decreased SMN-1 levels. Furthermore, either increasing PLS3 or decreasing SYM-2 levels suppresses defects in a C. elegans ALS model.Conclusions: We propose that hnRNP F/H act in the same protein complex as PLS3 and SMN and that the function of this complex is critical for endocytic pathways, suggesting that hnRNP F/H proteins could be potential targets for therapy development.Peer reviewe

    Plastin increases cortical connectivity to facilitate robust polarization and timely cytokinesis.

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    The cell cortex is essential to maintain animal cell shape, and contractile forces generated within it by nonmuscle myosin II (NMY-2) drive cellular morphogenetic processes such as cytokinesis. The role of actin cross-linking proteins in cortical dynamics is still incompletely understood. Here, we show that the evolutionarily conserved actin bundling/cross-linking protein plastin is instrumental for the generation of potent cortical actomyosin contractility in the Caenorhabditis elegans zygote. PLST-1 was enriched in contractile structures and was required for effective coalescence of NMY-2 filaments into large contractile foci and for long-range coordinated contractility in the cortex. In the absence of PLST-1, polarization was compromised, cytokinesis was delayed or failed, and 50% of embryos died during development. Moreover, mathematical modeling showed that an optimal amount of bundling agents enhanced the ability of a network to contract. We propose that by increasing the connectivity of the F-actin meshwork, plastin enables the cortex to generate stronger and more coordinated forces to accomplish cellular morphogenesis

    Bioenergetic status modulates motor neuron vulnerability and pathogenesis in a zebrafish model of spinal muscular atrophy

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    Degeneration and loss of lower motor neurons is the major pathological hallmark of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), resulting from low levels of ubiquitously-expressed survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. One remarkable, yet unresolved, feature of SMA is that not all motor neurons are equally affected, with some populations displaying a robust resistance to the disease. Here, we demonstrate that selective vulnerability of distinct motor neuron pools arises from fundamental modifications to their basal molecular profiles. Comparative gene expression profiling of motor neurons innervating the extensor digitorum longus (disease-resistant), gastrocnemius (intermediate vulnerability), and tibialis anterior (vulnerable) muscles in mice revealed that disease susceptibility correlates strongly with a modified bioenergetic profile. Targeting of identified bioenergetic pathways by enhancing mitochondrial biogenesis rescued motor axon defects in SMA zebrafish. Moreover, targeting of a single bioenergetic protein, phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (Pgk1), was found to modulate motor neuron vulnerability in vivo. Knockdown of pgk1 alone was sufficient to partially mimic the SMA phenotype in wild-type zebrafish. Conversely, Pgk1 overexpression, or treatment with terazosin (an FDA-approved small molecule that binds and activates Pgk1), rescued motor axon phenotypes in SMA zebrafish. We conclude that global bioenergetics pathways can be therapeutically manipulated to ameliorate SMA motor neuron phenotypes in vivo

    Conserved Genes Act as Modifiers of Invertebrate SMN Loss of Function Defects

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    Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is caused by diminished function of the Survival of Motor Neuron (SMN) protein, but the molecular pathways critical for SMA pathology remain elusive. We have used genetic approaches in invertebrate models to identify conserved SMN loss of function modifier genes. Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans each have a single gene encoding a protein orthologous to human SMN; diminished function of these invertebrate genes causes lethality and neuromuscular defects. To find genes that modulate SMN function defects across species, two approaches were used. First, a genome-wide RNAi screen for C. elegans SMN modifier genes was undertaken, yielding four genes. Second, we tested the conservation of modifier gene function across species; genes identified in one invertebrate model were tested for function in the other invertebrate model. Drosophila orthologs of two genes, which were identified originally in C. elegans, modified Drosophila SMN loss of function defects. C. elegans orthologs of twelve genes, which were originally identified in a previous Drosophila screen, modified C. elegans SMN loss of function defects. Bioinformatic analysis of the conserved, cross-species, modifier genes suggests that conserved cellular pathways, specifically endocytosis and mRNA regulation, act as critical genetic modifiers of SMN loss of function defects across species

    Self-oligomerization regulates stability of survival motor neuron protein isoforms by sequestering an SCF<sup>Slmb</sup> degron

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    Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by homozygous mutations in human SMN1. Expression of a duplicate gene (SMN2) primarily results in skipping of exon 7 and production of an unstable protein isoform, SMNΔ7. Although SMN2 exon skipping is the principal contributor to SMA severity, mechanisms governing stability of survival motor neuron (SMN) isoforms are poorly understood. We used a Drosophila model system and label-free proteomics to identify the SCFSlmb ubiquitin E3 ligase complex as a novel SMN binding partner. SCFSlmb interacts with a phosphor degron embedded within the human and fruitfly SMN YG-box oligomerization domains. Substitution of a conserved serine (S270A) interferes with SCFSlmb binding and stabilizes SMNΔ7. SMA-causing missense mutations that block multimerization of full-length SMN are also stabilized in the degron mutant background. Overexpression of SMNΔ7S270A, but not wild-type (WT) SMNΔ7, provides a protective effect in SMA model mice and human motor neuron cell culture systems. Our findings support a model wherein the degron is exposed when SMN is monomeric and sequestered when SMN forms higher-order multimers

    Search for resonant WZ production in the fully leptonic final state in proton–proton collisions at √s=13 TeV with the ATLAS detector

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