Central residues in prion protein PrPC are crucial for its conversion into the pathogenic isoformConformational conversion of the cellular prion protein, PrPC, into the amyloidogenic isoform, PrPSc, is a key pathogenic event in prion diseases. However, the conversion mechanism remains to be elucidated. Here, we generated Tg(PrPΔ91-106)-8545/Prnp0/0 mice, which overexpress mouse PrP lacking residues 91-106. We showed that none of the mice became sick after intracerebral inoculation with RML, 22L, and FK-1 prion strains nor accumulated PrPScΔ91-106 in their brains except for a small amount of PrPScΔ91-106 detected in one 22L-inoculated mouse.
Alzheimer's disease BIN1 coding variants increase intracellular Aβ levels by interfering with BACE1 recyclingGenetic studies have identified BIN1 as the second most important risk locus associated with late-onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD). However, it is unclear how mutation of this locus mechanistically promotes Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. Here we show the consequences of two coding variants in BIN1 (rs754834233 and rs138047593), both in terms of intracellular beta-amyloid (iAbeta) accumulation and early endosome enlargement, two interrelated early cytopathological AD phenotypes, supporting their association with LOAD risk.
Mitochondrial fission is a critical modulator of mutant APP-induced neural toxicityAlterations in mitochondrial fission may contribute to the pathophysiology of several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, we understand very little about the normal functions of fission or how fission disruption may interact with AD-associated proteins to modulate pathogenesis. Here we show that loss of the central mitochondrial fission protein dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) in CA1 and other forebrain neurons markedly worsens the learning and memory of mice expressing mutant human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) in neurons.
Danish and British dementia ITM2b/BRI2 mutations reduce BRI2 protein stability and impair glutamatergic synaptic transmissionMutations in integral membrane protein 2B (ITM2b/BRI2) gene cause familial British and Danish dementia (FBD and FDD), autosomal dominant disorders characterized by progressive cognitive deterioration. Two pathogenic mechanisms, which may not be mutually exclusive, have been proposed for FDD and FBD: 1) loss of BRI2 function; 2) accumulation of amyloidogenic mutant BRI2-derived peptides, but the mechanistic details remain unclear. We have previously reported a physiological role of BRI2 in excitatory synaptic transmission at both presynaptic termini and postsynaptic termini.
Quantitative propagation of assembled human Tau from Alzheimer's disease brain in microfluidic neuronal culturesTau aggregation and hyperphosphorylation is a key neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD), and the temporospatial spread of Tau observed during clinical manifestation suggests that Tau pathology may spread along the axonal network and propagate between synaptically connected neurons. Here, we have developed a cellular model that allows the study of human AD-derived Tau propagation from neuron to neuron using microfluidic devices. We show by using high-content imaging techniques and an in-house developed interactive computer program that human AD-derived Tau seeds rodent Tau that propagates trans-neuronally in a quantifiable manner in a microfluidic culture model.
Modulation of Kv4.2/KChIP3 interaction by the ceroid lipofuscinosis neuronal 3 protein CLN3Voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels of the Kv4 subfamily associate with Kv channel–interacting proteins (KChIPs), which leads to enhanced surface expression and shapes the inactivation gating of these channels. KChIP3 has been reported to also interact with the late endosomal/lysosomal membrane glycoprotein CLN3 (ceroid lipofuscinosis neuronal 3), which is modified because of gene mutation in juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (JNCL). The present study was undertaken to find out whether and how CLN3, by its interaction with KChIP3, may indirectly modulate Kv4.2 channel expression and function.
Garcinoic acid prevents β-amyloid (Aβ) deposition in the mouse brainGarcinoic acid (GA or δ-T3-13'COOH), is a natural vitamin E metabolite that has preliminarily been identified as a modulator of nuclear receptors involved in β-amyloid (Aβ) metabolism and progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). In this study, we investigated GA's effects on Aβ oligomer formation and deposition. Specifically, we compared them with those of other vitamin E analogs and the soy isoflavone genistein, a natural agonist of peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ (PPARγ) that has therapeutic potential for managing AD.
CofActor: A light- and stress-gated optogenetic clustering tool to study disease-associated cytoskeletal dynamics in living cellsThe hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases, including neural fibrils, reactive oxygen species, and cofilin–actin rods, present numerous challenges in the development of in vivo diagnostic tools. Biomarkers such as β-amyloid (Aβ) fibrils and Tau tangles in Alzheimer's disease are accessible only via invasive cerebrospinal fluid assays, and reactive oxygen species can be fleeting and challenging to monitor in vivo. Although remaining a challenge for in vivo detection, the protein–protein interactions underlying these disease-specific biomarkers present opportunities for the engineering of in vitro pathology-sensitive biosensors.
Asparagine residue 368 is involved in Alzheimer's disease tau strain–specific aggregationIn tauopathies, tau forms pathogenic fibrils with distinct conformations (termed “tau strains”) and acts as an aggregation “seed” templating the conversion of normal tau into isomorphic fibrils. Previous research showed that the aggregation core of tau fibril covers the C-terminal region (243–406 amino acids (aa)) and differs among the diseases. However, the mechanisms by which distinct fibrous structures are formed and inherited via templated aggregation are still unknown. Here, we sought to identify the key sequences of seed-dependent aggregation.
The emerging role of α-synuclein truncation in aggregation and diseaseα-Synuclein (αsyn) is an abundant brain neuronal protein that can misfold and polymerize to form toxic fibrils coalescing into pathologic inclusions in neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia, and multiple system atrophy. These fibrils may induce further αsyn misfolding and propagation of pathologic fibrils in a prion-like process. It is unclear why αsyn initially misfolds, but a growing body of literature suggests a critical role of partial proteolytic processing resulting in various truncations of the highly charged and flexible carboxyl-terminal region.
Native nanodiscs formed by styrene maleic acid copolymer derivatives help recover infectious prion multimers bound to brain-derived lipidsPrions are lipidated proteins that interact with endogenous lipids and metal ions. They also assemble into multimers and propagate into the infectious scrapie form known as PrPSc. The high-resolution structure of the infectious PrPSc state remains unknown, and its analysis largely relies on detergent-based preparations devoid of endogenous ligands. Here we designed polymers that allow isolation of endogenous membrane:protein assemblies in native nanodiscs without exposure to conventional detergents that destabilize protein structures and induce fibrillization.
Brain manganese and the balance between essential roles and neurotoxicityManganese (Mn) is an essential micronutrient required for the normal development of many organs, including the brain. Although its roles as a cofactor in several enzymes and in maintaining optimal physiology are well-known, the overall biological functions of Mn are rather poorly understood. Alterations in body Mn status are associated with altered neuronal physiology and cognition in humans, and either overexposure or (more rarely) insufficiency can cause neurological dysfunction. The resultant balancing act can be viewed as a hormetic U-shaped relationship for biological Mn status and optimal brain health, with changes in the brain leading to physiological effects throughout the body and vice versa.
The transcription factor REST up-regulates tyrosine hydroxylase and antiapoptotic genes and protects dopaminergic neurons against manganese toxicityDopaminergic functions are important for various biological activities, and their impairment leads to neurodegeneration, a hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). Chronic manganese (Mn) exposure causes the neurological disorder manganism, presenting symptoms similar to those of PD. Emerging evidence has linked the transcription factor RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) to PD and also Alzheimer's disease. But REST's role in dopaminergic neurons is unclear. Here, we investigated whether REST protects dopaminergic neurons against Mn-induced toxicity and enhances expression of the dopamine-synthesizing enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase (TH).
A synthetic heparinoid blocks Tau aggregate cell uptake and amplificationTau aggregation underlies neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and related tauopathies. We and others have proposed that transcellular propagation of pathology is mediated by Tau prions, which are ordered protein assemblies that faithfully replicate in vivo and cause specific biological effects. The prion model predicts the release of aggregates from a first-order cell and subsequent uptake into a second-order cell. The assemblies then serve as templates for their own replication, a process termed “seeding.” We have previously observed that heparan sulfate proteoglycans on the cell surface mediate the cellular uptake of Tau aggregates.
Dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1A ameliorates insulin resistance in neurons by up-regulating IRS-1 expressionInsulin resistance in the brain is a pathological mechanism that is shared between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Although aberrant expression and phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1) contribute to insulin resistance, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. In this study, we used several approaches, including adeno-associated virus-based protein overexpression, immunoblotting, immunoprecipitation, immunohistochemistry, and in situ proximal ligation assays, to investigate the function of dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A) in IRS-1 regulation and the downstream insulin signaling in neurons.
CNS cell type–specific gene profiling of P301S tau transgenic mice identifies genes dysregulated by progressive tau accumulationThe microtubule-associated protein tau undergoes aberrant modification resulting in insoluble brain deposits in various neurodegenerative diseases, including frontotemporal dementia (FTD), progressive supranuclear palsy, and corticobasal degeneration. Tau aggregates can form in different cell types of the central nervous system (CNS) but are most prevalent in neurons. We have previously recapitulated aspects of human FTD in mouse models by overexpressing mutant human tau in CNS neurons, including a P301S tau variant in TAU58/2 mice, characterized by early-onset and progressive behavioral deficits and FTD-like neuropathology.
Tau isoform–specific stabilization of intermediate states during microtubule assembly and disassemblyThe microtubule (MT)-associated protein tau regulates the critical growing and shortening behaviors of MTs, and its normal activity is essential for neuronal development and maintenance. Accordingly, aberrant tau action is tightly associated with Alzheimer’s disease and is genetically linked to several additional neurodegenerative diseases known as tauopathies. Although tau is known to promote net MT growth and stability, the precise mechanistic details governing its regulation of MT dynamics remain unclear.
Defining α-synuclein species responsible for Parkinson’s disease phenotypes in miceParkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by fibrillar neuronal inclusions composed of aggregated α-synuclein (α-syn). These inclusions are associated with behavioral and pathological PD phenotypes. One strategy for therapeutic interventions is to prevent the formation of these inclusions to halt disease progression. α-Synuclein exists in multiple structural forms, including disordered, nonamyloid oligomers, ordered amyloid oligomers, and fibrils. It is critical to understand which conformers contribute to specific PD phenotypes.
Pathogenic tau does not drive activation of the unfolded protein responseThe unfolded protein response (UPR) is commonly associated with a range of neurodegenerative diseases, and targeting UPR components has been suggested as a therapeutic strategy. The UPR surveys protein folding within the endoplasmic reticulum. However, many of the misfolded proteins that accumulate in neurodegeneration are localized so that they do not directly cause endoplasmic reticulum triggers that activate this pathway. Here, using a transgenic mouse model and primary cell cultures along with quantitative PCR, immunoblotting, and immunohistochemistry, we tested whether the UPR is induced in in vivo and in vitro murine models of tauopathy that are based on expression of mutant tauP301L.
Proteolytic shedding of the prion protein via activation of metallopeptidase ADAM10 reduces cellular binding and toxicity of amyloid-β oligomersThe cellular prion protein (PrPC) is a key neuronal receptor for β-amyloid oligomers (AβO), mediating their neurotoxicity, which contributes to the neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Similarly to the amyloid precursor protein (APP), PrPC is proteolytically cleaved from the cell surface by a disintegrin and metalloprotease, ADAM10. We hypothesized that ADAM10-modulated PrPC shedding would alter the cellular binding and cytotoxicity of AβO. Here, we found that in human neuroblastoma cells, activation of ADAM10 with the muscarinic agonist carbachol promotes PrPC shedding and reduces the binding of AβO to the cell surface, which could be blocked with an ADAM10 inhibitor.
Neurodegenerative Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease as a case study to decipher novel functions of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetasesAminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) are essential enzymes that catalyze the first reaction in protein biosynthesis, namely the charging of transfer RNAs (tRNAs) with their cognate amino acids. aaRSs have been increasingly implicated in dominantly and recessively inherited human diseases. The most common aaRS-associated monogenic disorder is the incurable neurodegenerative disease Charcot–Marie–Tooth neuropathy (CMT), caused by dominant mono-allelic mutations in aaRSs. With six currently known members (GlyRS, TyrRS, AlaRS, HisRS, TrpRS, and MetRS), aaRSs represent the largest protein family implicated in CMT etiology.
24(S),25-Epoxycholesterol and cholesterol 24S-hydroxylase (CYP46A1) overexpression promote midbrain dopaminergic neurogenesis in vivoThe liver X receptors Lxrα/NR1H3 and Lxrβ/NR1H2 are ligand-dependent nuclear receptors critical for midbrain dopaminergic (mDA) neuron development. We found previously that 24(S),25-epoxycholesterol (24,25-EC), the most potent and abundant Lxr ligand in the developing mouse midbrain, promotes mDA neurogenesis in vitro. In this study, we demonstrate that 24,25-EC promotes mDA neurogenesis in an Lxr-dependent manner in the developing mouse midbrain in vivo and also prevents toxicity induced by the Lxr inhibitor geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate.
HIV-1 Tat protein promotes neuronal dysregulation by inhibiting E2F transcription factor 3 (E2F3)Individuals who are infected with HIV-1 accumulate damage to cells and tissues (e.g. neurons) that are not directly infected by the virus. These include changes known as HIV-associated neurodegenerative disorder (HAND), leading to the loss of neuronal functions, including synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP). Several mechanisms have been proposed for HAND, including direct effects of viral proteins such as the Tat protein. Searching for the mechanisms involved, we found here that HIV-1 Tat inhibits E2F transcription factor 3 (E2F3), CAMP-responsive element–binding protein (CREB), and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) by up-regulating the microRNA miR-34a.
Blood–brain and blood–cerebrospinal fluid passage of BRICHOS domains from two molecular chaperones in miceTargeting toxicity associated with β-amyloid (Aβ) misfolding and aggregation is a promising therapeutic strategy for preventing or managing Alzheimer's disease. The BRICHOS domains from human prosurfactant protein C (proSP-C) and integral membrane protein 2B (Bri2) efficiently reduce neurotoxicity associated with Aβ42 fibril formation both in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we evaluated the serum half-lives and permeability into the brain and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of recombinant human (rh) proSP-C and Bri2 BRICHOS domains injected intravenously into WT mice.
Pharmacological induction of heat shock proteins ameliorates toxicity of mutant PKCγ in spinocerebellar ataxia type 14Amyloid and amyloid-like protein aggregations are hallmarks of multiple, varied neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. We previously reported that spinocerebellar ataxia type 14 (SCA14), a dominant-inherited neurodegenerative disease that affects cerebellar Purkinje cells, is characterized by the intracellular formation of neurotoxic amyloid-like aggregates of genetic variants of protein kinase Cγ (PKCγ). A number of protein chaperones, including heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), promote the degradation and/or refolding of misfolded proteins and thereby prevent their aggregation.