A mutation in the gene for the neurotransmitter receptor-clustering protein gephyrin causes a novel form of molybdenum cofactor deficiency.
ABSTRACT: Gephyrin was originally identified as a membrane-associated protein that is essential for the postsynaptic localization of receptors for the neurotransmitters glycine and GABA(A). A sequence comparison revealed homologies between gephyrin and proteins necessary for the biosynthesis of the universal molybdenum cofactor (MoCo). Because gephyrin expression can rescue a MoCo-deficient mutation in bacteria, plants, and a murine cell line, it became clear that gephyrin also plays a role in MoCo biosynthesis. Human MoCo deficiency is a fatal disease resulting in severe neurological damage and death in early childhood. Most patients harbor MOCS1 mutations, which prohibit formation of a precursor, or carry MOCS2 mutations, which abrogate precursor conversion to molybdopterin. The present report describes the identification of a gephyrin gene (GEPH) deletion in a patient with symptoms typical of MoCo deficiency. Biochemical studies of the patient's fibroblasts demonstrate that gephyrin catalyzes the insertion of molybdenum into molybdopterin and suggest that this novel form of MoCo deficiency might be curable by molybdate supplementation.
Project description:Biosynthesis of the molybdenum cofactor (MoCo) can be divided into (1) the formation of a precursor and (2) the latter's subsequent conversion, by molybdopterin synthase, into the organic moiety of MoCo. These two steps are reflected by the complementation groups A and B and the two formally distinguished types of MoCo deficiency that have an identical phenotype. Both types of MoCo deficiency result in a pleiotropic loss of all molybdoenzyme activities and cause severe neurological damage. MOCS1 is defective in patients with group A deficiency and has been shown to encode two enzymes for early synthesis via a bicistronic transcript with two consecutive open reading frames (ORFs). MOCS2 encodes the small and large subunits of molybdopterin synthase via a single transcript with two overlapping reading frames. This gene was mapped to 5q and comprises seven exons. The coding sequence and all splice site-junction sequences were screened for mutations, in MoCo-deficient patients in whom a previous search for MOCS1 mutations had been negative. In seven of the eight patients whom we investigated, we identified MOCS2 mutations that, by their nature, are most likely responsible for the deficiency. Three different frameshift mutations were observed, with one of them found on 7 of 14 identified alleles. Furthermore, a start-codon mutation and a missense mutation of a highly conserved amino acid residue were found. The locations of the mutations confirm the functional role of both ORFs. One of the patients with identified MOCS2 mutations had been classified as type B, in complementation studies. These findings support the hypothetical mechanism, for both forms of MoCo deficiency, that formerly had been established by cell-culture experiments.
Project description:Ethylmalonic encephalopathy protein 1 (ETHE1) and molybdenum cofactor (MoCo) deficiencies are hereditary disorders that affect the catabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids. ETHE1 deficiency is caused by mutations in the ETHE1 gene, while MoCo deficiency is due to mutations in one of three genes involved in MoCo biosynthesis (MOCS1, MOCS2 and GPHN). Patients with both disorders exhibit abnormalities of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, among other biochemical findings. However, the pathophysiology of the defects has not been elucidated. To characterize cellular derangements, mitochondrial bioenergetics, dynamics, endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-mitochondria communication, superoxide production and apoptosis were evaluated in fibroblasts from four patients with ETHE1 deficiency and one with MOCS1 deficiency. The effect of JP4-039, a promising mitochondrial-targeted antioxidant, was also tested on cells. Our data show that mitochondrial respiration was decreased in all patient cell lines. ATP depletion and increased mitochondrial mass was identified in the same cells, while variable alterations in mitochondrial fusion and fission were seen. High superoxide levels were found in all cells and were decreased by treatment with JP4-039, while the respiratory chain activity was increased by this antioxidant in cells in which it was impaired. The content of VDAC1 and IP3R, proteins involved in ER-mitochondria communication, was decreased, while DDIT3, a marker of ER stress, and apoptosis were increased in all cell lines. These data demonstrate that previously unrecognized broad disturbances of cellular function are involved in the pathophysiology of ETHE1 and MOCS1 deficiencies, and that reduction of mitochondrial superoxide by JP4-039 is a promising strategy for adjuvant therapy of these disorders.
Project description:Gephyrin mediates the postsynaptic clustering of glycine receptors (GlyRs) and GABA(A) receptors at inhibitory synapses and molybdenum-dependent enzyme (molybdoenzyme) activity in non-neuronal tissues. Gephyrin knock-out mice show a phenotype resembling both defective glycinergic transmission and molybdenum cofactor (Moco) deficiency and die within 1 day of birth due to starvation and dyspnea resulting from deficits in motor and respiratory networks, respectively. To address whether gephyrin function is conserved among vertebrates and whether gephyrin deficiency affects molybdoenzyme activity and motor development, we cloned and characterized zebrafish gephyrin genes. We report here that zebrafish have two gephyrin genes, gphna and gphnb. The former is expressed in all tissues and has both C3 and C4 cassette exons, and the latter is expressed predominantly in the brain and spinal cord and harbors only C4 cassette exons. We confirmed that all of the gphna and gphnb splicing isoforms have Moco synthetic activity. Antisense morpholino knockdown of either gphna or gphnb alone did not disturb synaptic clusters of GlyRs in the spinal cord and did not affect touch-evoked escape behaviors. However, on knockdown of both gphna and gphnb, embryos showed impairments in GlyR clustering in the spinal cord and, as a consequence, demonstrated touch-evoked startle response behavior by contracting antagonistic muscles simultaneously, instead of displaying early coiling and late swimming behaviors, which are executed by side-to-side muscle contractions. These data indicate that duplicated gephyrin genes mediate Moco biosynthesis and control postsynaptic clustering of GlyRs, thereby mediating key escape behaviors in zebrafish.
Project description:Gephyrin is essential for both the postsynaptic localization of inhibitory neurotransmitter receptors in the central nervous system and the biosynthesis of the molybdenum cofactor (Moco) in different peripheral organs. Several alternatively spliced gephyrin transcripts have been identified in rat brain that differ in their 5' coding regions. Here, we describe gephyrin splice variants that are differentially expressed in non-neuronal tissues and different regions of the adult mouse brain. Analysis of the murine gephyrin gene indicates a highly mosaic organization, with eight of its 29 exons corresponding to the alternatively spliced regions identified by cDNA sequencing. The N- and C-terminal domains of gephyrin encoded by exons 3-7 and 16-29, respectively, display sequence similarities to bacterial, invertebrate, and plant proteins involved in Moco biosynthesis, whereas the central exons 8, 13, and 14 encode motifs that may mediate oligomerization and tubulin binding. Our data are consistent with gephyrin having evolved from a Moco biosynthetic protein by insertion of protein interaction sequences.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Molybdenum cofactor deficiency (MoCD) is a rare autosomal-recessive disorder that results in the combined deficiency of molybdenum-dependent enzymes. Four different genes are involved in Molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis: MOCS1, MOCS2, MOCS3, and GEPH. The classical form manifests in the neonatal period with severe encephalopathy, including intractable seizures, MRI changes that resemble hypoxic-ischemic injury, microcephaly, and early death. To date, an atypical phenotype with late-onset has been reported in the literature in 13 patients. METHODS:We describe a late-onset and a relatively mild phenotype in a patient with MOCS2 homozygous mutation. RESULTS:Pyramidal and extrapyramidal signs are recognized in those patients, often exacerbated by intercurrent illness. Expressive language is usually compromised. Neurological deterioration is possible even in adulthood, probably due to accumulation of sulfite with time. CONCLUSION:Sulfite inhibition of mitochondrial metabolism could be responsible for the ischemic lesions described in patients with MoCD or alternatively could predispose the brain to suffer an ischemic damage through the action of other insults, for instance intercurrent illness. It is possible that sulfite accumulation together with other external triggers, can lead to neurological deterioration even in adulthood. The role of other factors involved in clinical expression should be investigated to establish the reason for phenotypic variability in patients with the same mutation.
Project description:The molybdenum cofactor (Moco) is the active compound at the catalytic site of molybdenum enzymes. Moco is synthesized by a conserved four-step pathway involving six proteins in Arabidopsis thaliana. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation was used to study the subcellular localization and interaction of those proteins catalysing Moco biosynthesis. In addition, the independent split-luciferase approach permitted quantification of the strength of these protein-protein interactions in vivo. Moco biosynthesis starts in mitochondria where two proteins undergo tight interaction. All subsequent steps were found to proceed in the cytosol. Here, the heterotetrameric enzyme molybdopterin synthase (catalysing step two of Moco biosynthesis) and the enzyme molybdenum insertase, which finalizes Moco formation, were found to undergo tight protein interaction as well. This cytosolic multimeric protein complex is dynamic as the small subunits of molybdopterin synthase are known to go on and off in order to become recharged with sulphur. These small subunits undergo a tighter protein contact within the enzyme molybdopterin synthase as compared with their interaction with the sulphurating enzyme. The forces of each of these protein contacts were quantified and provided interaction factors. To confirm the results, in vitro experiments using a technique combining cross-linking and label transfer were conducted. The data presented allowed the outline of the first draft of an interaction matrix for proteins within the pathway of Moco biosynthesis where product-substrate flow is facilitated through micro-compartmentalization in a cytosolic protein complex. The protected sequestering of fragile intermediates and formation of the final product are achieved through a series of direct protein interactions of variable strength.
Project description:Molybdenum cofactor (MoCo) deficiency is a progressive neurological disorder that inevitably leads to early childhood death because of the lack of any effective therapy. In a mouse model of MoCo deficiency type A, the most frequent form of this autosomal recessively inherited disease, the affected animals show the biochemical characteristics of sulphite and xanthine intoxication and do not survive >2 wk after birth. We have constructed a recombinant-expression cassette for the gene MOCS1, which, via alternative splicing, facilitates the expression of the proteins MOCS1A and MOCS1B, both of which are necessary for the formation of a first intermediate, cyclic pyranopterin monophosphate (cPMP), within the biosynthetic pathway leading to active MoCo. A recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector was used to express the artificial MOCS1 minigene, in an attempt to cure the lethal MOCS1-deficient phenotype. The vector was used to transduce Mocs1-deficient mice at both 1 and 4 d after birth or, after a pretreatment with purified cPMP, at 40 d after birth. We report here that all Mocs1-deficient animals injected with a control AAV-enhanced green fluorescent protein vector died approximately 8 d after birth or after withdrawal of cPMP supplementation, whereas AAV-MOCS1-transduced animals show significantly increased longevity. A single intrahepatic injection of AAV-MOCS1 resulted in fertile adult animals without any pathological phenotypes.
Project description:Essentially all organisms depend upon molybdenum oxidoreductases which require a molybdopterin cofactor for catalytic activity. Mutations resulting in a lack of the cofactor show a pleiotropic loss of molybdoenzyme activities and thereby define genes involved in cofactor biosynthesis or utilization. In prokaryotes, two operons are directly associated with biosynthesis of the pterin moiety and its side chain while additional loci play a role in the acquisition of molybdenum and/or activation of the cofactor. Here we report the cloning of cinnamon, a Drosophila molybdenum cofactor gene encoding a protein with sequence similarity to three of the prokaryotic cofactor proteins. In addition, the Drosophila cinnamon protein is homologous to gephyrin, a protein isolated from the rat central nervous system. Our results suggest that some portions of the prokaryotic cofactor biosynthetic pathway composed of monofunctional proteins have evolved into a multifunctional protein in higher eukaryotes.
Project description:Molybdenum cofactor (Moco) is the active site prosthetic group found in all Moco dependent enzymes, except for nitrogenase. Mo-enzymes are crucial for viability throughout all kingdoms of life as they catalyze a diverse set of two electron transfer reactions. The highly conserved Moco biosynthesis pathway consists of four different steps in which guanosine triphosphate is converted into cyclic pyranopterin monophosphate, molybdopterin (MPT), and subsequently adenylated MPT and Moco. Although the enzymes and mechanisms involved in these steps are well characterized, the regulation of eukaryotic Moco biosynthesis is not. Within this work, we described the regulation of Moco biosynthesis in the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa, which revealed the first step of the multi-step pathway to be under transcriptional control. We found, that upon the induction of high cellular Moco demand a single transcript variant of the nit-7 gene is increasingly formed pointing towards, that essentially the encoded enzyme NIT7-A is the key player for Moco biosynthesis activity in Neurospora.
Project description:The molybdenum cofactor (Moco) is a redox-active prosthetic group found in the active site of Moco-dependent enzymes, which are vitally important for life. Moco biosynthesis involves several enzymes that catalyze the subsequent conversion of GTP into cyclic pyranopterin monophosphate (cPMP), molybdopterin (MPT), adenylated MPT (MPT-AMP), and finally Moco. While the underlying principles of cPMP, MPT, and MPT-AMP formation are well understood, the molybdenum insertase (Mo-insertase)-catalyzed final Moco maturation step is not. In the present study, we analyzed high-resolution X-ray datasets of the plant Mo-insertase Cnx1E that revealed two molybdate-binding sites within the active site, hence improving the current view on Cnx1E functionality. The presence of molybdate anions in either of these sites is tied to a distinctive backbone conformation, which we suggest to be essential for Mo-insertase molybdate selectivity and insertion efficiency.