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Effects of Cellular Pathway Disturbances on Misfolded Superoxide Dismutase-1 in Fibroblasts Derived from ALS Patients
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Neuroscience, Clinical Neuroscience.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Neuroscience, Clinical Neuroscience.
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2016 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 11, no 2, e0150133Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

Mutations in superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) are a common known cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The neurotoxicity of mutant SOD1s is most likely caused by misfolded molecular species, but disease pathogenesis is still not understood. Proposed mechanisms include impaired mitochondrial function, induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress, reduction in the activities of the proteasome and autophagy, and the formation of neurotoxic aggregates. Here we examined whether perturbations in these cellular pathways in turn influence levels of misfolded SOD1 species, potentially amplifying neurotoxicity. For the study we used fibroblasts, which express SOD1 at physiological levels under regulation of the native promoter. The cells were derived from ALS patients expressing 9 different SOD1 mutants of widely variable molecular characteristics, as well as from patients carrying the GGGGCC-repeat-expansion in C9orf72 and from non-disease controls. A specific ELISA was used to quantify soluble, misfolded SOD1, and aggregated SOD1 was analysed by western blotting. Misfolded SOD1 was detected in all lines. Levels were found to be much lower in non-disease control and the non-SOD1 C9orf72 ALS lines. This enabled us to validate patient fibroblasts for use in subsequent perturbation studies. Mitochondrial inhibition, endoplasmic reticulum stress or autophagy inhibition did not affect soluble misfolded SOD1 and in most cases, detergent-resistant SOD1 aggregates were not detected. However, proteasome inhibition led to uniformly large increases in misfolded SOD1 levels in all cell lines and an increase in SOD1 aggregation in some. Thus the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway is a principal determinant of misfolded SOD1 levels in cells derived both from patients and controls and a decline in activity with aging could be one of the factors behind the mid-to late-life onset of inherited ALS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 11, no 2, e0150133
Keyword [en]
Superoxides, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
National Category
Neurosciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-118791DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0150133ISI: 000371274400090PubMedID: 26919046OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-118791DiVA: diva2:917947
Available from: 2016-04-08 Created: 2016-04-04 Last updated: 2017-11-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. SOD, ORF and ALS: On the role of SOD1 and C9ORF72 in the pathogenesis of ALS
Open this publication in new window or tab >>SOD, ORF and ALS: On the role of SOD1 and C9ORF72 in the pathogenesis of ALS
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by adult-onset degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons. Symptoms begin focally in one muscle and then spread contiguously, resulting in progressive paralysis and death from respiratory failure. Hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72 is the most common genetic cause, however, mutations in SOD1 were the first identified and are found in 1-9% of patients. Misfolded SOD1 aggregates in the CNS are hallmarks of ALS associated with SOD1 mutations. However, accumulation of misfolded or aggregated SOD1 protein has also been reported in sporadic and familial ALS without SOD1 mutations, suggesting that wild-type SOD1 could play a role in ALS pathology in general.

The aims of this thesis are: 1) To describe the resulting disease phenotype and specific characteristics of the SOD1 protein carrying the stable disease- associated mutation L117V. 2) To set up cell-based in vitro models to study the mechanisms of SOD1 misfolding and aggregation under physiologically relevant expression levels. 3) To compare SOD1 activity in patient-derived samples and screen for underlying causes of deviant SOD1 activities in individuals lacking SOD1 mutations.

1) We identified a novel L117V SOD1 mutant in two families of Syrian origin that co-segregated with the disease. This mutation was associated with slow disease progression, reduced penetrance and a uniform phenotype. The L117V mutant protein was indistinguishable from wild-type SOD1 in terms of stability, dismutation activity and misfolding in patient-derived cell lines.

2) We established patient-derived fibroblast and iPSC-MN lines expressing mutant SOD1 at physiological levels as in vitro models to study misfolding and aggregation of SOD1. We investigated the effects of several cellular pathway disturbances on SOD1 misfolding. Misfolded SOD1 was increased by inhibition of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in fibroblasts derived from both patients and controls. An age-related decline in proteasome activity could contribute to the late onset of ALS.

Next, we studied the effects of low oxygen tension on misfolding and aggregation of SOD1 in patient-derived cells. Low O2 tensions were found to markedly increase C57-C146 disulphide reduction, misfolding and aggregation of SOD1. Importantly, the largest effects were detected in iPSC-MNs. This suggests that motor neurons are specifically vulnerable to misfolding and aggregation of SOD1 under low O2 tension.

3) We compared the enzymatic activity of SOD1 in blood samples from a large number of ALS patients and controls. We screened for potential underlying causes of deviant SOD1 activities in individuals lacking SOD1 mutations. No aberrations in copy number, other large structural changes in introns and exons or intronic mutations in the 30-50 bp flanking the exons were found in the 142 outliers, with either very low or very high SOD1 dismutation activities. However, hemoglobinopathies, including thalassemias and iron deficiency anemia, were associated with high SOD1/mg Hb ratios. Erythrocytes from patients with destabilizing SOD1 mutations showed half the normal activity. There were no significant differences in SOD1 activity between control individuals and ALS patients without a coding SOD1 mutation, or carriers of TBK1 mutations or the hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72. Our result suggests that SOD1 enzymatic activity is not associated with the disease in non-SOD1 mutation ALS.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2016. 89 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1829
Keyword
ALS, SOD1, Misfolded species
National Category
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Neurology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-124917 (URN)978-91-7601-531-5 (ISBN)
External cooperation:
Public defence
2016-09-23, Föreläsningssal A, Unod T 9, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-09-02 Created: 2016-08-30 Last updated: 2016-09-01Bibliographically approved
2. Using patient-derived cell models to investigate the role of misfolded SOD1 in ALS
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using patient-derived cell models to investigate the role of misfolded SOD1 in ALS
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Patient-deriverade stamceller som modellsystem för att studera felveckat SOD1 i ALS
Abstract [en]

Protein misfolding and aggregation underlie several neurodegenerative proteinopathies including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) was the first gene found to be associated with familial ALS. Overexpression of human mutant or wild type SOD1 in transgenic mouse models induces motor neuron (MN) degeneration and an ALS-like phenotype. SOD1 mutations, leading to the destabilization of the SOD1 protein is associated with ALS pathogenesis. However, how misfolded SOD1 toxicity specifically affects human MNs is not clear. The aim of this thesis was to develop patient-derived, cellular models of ALS to help understand the pathogenic mechanisms underlying SOD1.

To understand which cellular pathways impact on the level of misfolded SOD1 in human cells, we established a model using patient-derived fibroblasts and quantified misfolded SOD1 in relation to disturbances in several ALS-related cellular pathways. Misfolded SOD1 levels did not change following reduction in autophagy, inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, or induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress. However, inhibition of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) lead to a dramatic increase in misfolded SOD1 levels. Hence, an age-related decline in proteasome activity might underlie the late-life onset that is typically seen in SOD1 ALS.

To address whether or not SOD1 misfolding is enhanced in human MNs, we used mixed MN/astrocyte cultures (MNCs) generated in vitro from patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Levels of soluble misfolded SOD1 were increased in MNCs as well as in pure iPSC-derived astrocytes compared to other cell types, including sensory neuron cultures. Interestingly, this was the case for both mutant and wild type human SOD1, although the increase was enhanced in SOD1 FALS MNCs. Misfolded SOD1 was also found to exist in the same form as in mouse SOD1 overexpression models and was identified as a substrate for 20S proteasome degradation. Hence, the vulnerability of motor areas to ALS could be explained by increased SOD1 misfolding, specifically in MNs and astrocytes.

To investigate factors that might promote SOD1 misfolding, we focussed on the stability of SOD1 mediated by a crucial, stabilizing C57-C146 disulphide bond and its redox status. Formation of disulphide bond is dependent on oxidation by O2 and catalysed by CCS. To investigate whether low O2 tension affects the stability of SOD1 in vitro we cultured fibroblasts and iPSC-derived MNCs under different oxygen tensions. Low oxygen tension promoted disulphide-reduction, SOD1 misfolding and aggregation. This response was much greater in MNCs compared to fibroblasts, suggesting that MNs may be especially sensitive to low oxygen tension and areas with low oxygen supply could serve as foci for ALS initiation.

SOD1 truncation mutations often lack C146, and cannot adopt a native fold and are rapidly degraded. We characterized soluble misfolded and aggregated SOD1 in patient-derived cells carrying a novel SOD1 D96Mfs*8 mutation as well as in cells fom an unaffected mutation carrier. The truncated protein has a C-terminal fusion of seven non-native amino acids and was found to be extremely prone to aggregation in vitro. Since not all mutation carriers develop ALS, our results suggested this novel mutation is associated with reduced penetrance.

In summary, patient derived cells are useful models to study factors affecting SOD1 misfolded and aggregation. We show for the first time that misfolding of a disordered and disease associated protein is enhanced in disease-related cell types. Showing that misfolded SOD1 exists in human cells in the same form as in transgenic mouse models strengthens the translatability of results obtained in the two species. Our results demonstrate disulphide-reduction and misfolding/aggregation of SOD1 and suggest that 20S proteasome could be an important therapeutic target for early stages of disease. This model provides a great opportunity to study pathogenic mechanisms of both familial and sporadic ALS in patient-derived models of ALS. 

Abstract [sv]

Varje år insjuknar omkring 5300 personer i världen i motorneuronsjukdomen Amyotrofisk lateralskleros (ALS). Sjukdomen kännetecknas av degeneration av motorneuron i hjärnan och ryggmärgen, de nervceller som styr kroppens muskler, vilket leder till musklerförtvining och gradvis förlamning. ALS-patienter avlider oftast till följd av andningssvikt när sjukdomen når andningsmuskulaturen. I de allra flesta fall uppkommer ALS sporadiskt (SALS), det vill säga utan känd genetisk orsak, medan ärftliga fall (FALS) drabbar omkring 10 % och beror på mutationer i ett antal kända gener. Upp till 6 % av alla ALS fall kan härledas till mutationer i genen superoxid dismutas 1 (SOD1).

SOD1 är ett enzym som ansvarar för att omvandla och oskadliggöra fria syreradikaler som bildas vid normal ämnesomsättning. 206 olika SOD1 mutationer har identifierats, alla orsakar inte ALS men många leder till att den tredimensionella proteinstrukturen förändras, vilket ökar proteinets benägenhet att felveckas. Initialt trodde man att SOD1 mutationer förhindrade proteinets normalfunktion och följaktligen orsakade ALS. Studier har emellertid visat att den enzymatiska funktionen ofta bevaras, även hos muterade proteiner. Däremot kan små mängder felveckat SOD1 störa andra viktiga cellulära funktioner. Felveckat SOD1 har en benägenhet att klumpa ihop sig och bilda aggregat i det centrala nervsystemet (CNS). Dessa aggregat återfinns hos patienter med såväl FALS som SALS vilket tyder på att även vildtyps-SOD1 kan felveckas och vara involverat i sjukdomsutvecklingen. De flesta studier är baserade på transgena musmodeller som uttrycker extremt stora mängder av muterat humant SOD1. Det är dock oklart hur väl studier i möss överensstämmer med sjukdomsutvecklingen hos ALS-patienter, där mängden SOD1 är betydligt lägre. En central fråga som fortfarande står obesvarad är varför just motorneuron degenererar i ALS, trots att SOD1 uttrycks i alla kroppens celler.

Det övergripande syftet med den här avhandlingen har varit att karakterisera felveckat SOD1 i patientceller för att studera dess roll i ALSrelaterade sjukdomsmekanismer med fysiologiskt relevanta nivåer av SOD1. Samtliga studier är gjorda in vitro med celler från friska donatorer med vildtyps-SOD1, celler från patienter med SOD1-FALS, FALS som bär andra ALS-associerade gener, samt SALS. I de allra flesta fallen har vi analyserat både lösligt felveckat SOD1 samt aggregerade former av SOD1 proteinet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2017. 95 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1913
Keyword
ALS, SOD1, patient-derived models, induced pluripotent stem cells, motor neurons, astrocytes, 20S proteasome low oxygen tension, misfolded SOD1
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Neurology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-138948 (URN)978-91-7601-759-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-09-28, Major Groove, building 6L, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-09-07 Created: 2017-09-04 Last updated: 2017-09-26Bibliographically approved

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