Disulfide cross-linked protein represents a significant fraction of ALS-associated Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase aggregates in spinal cords of model mice.
ABSTRACT: Point mutations in Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause a familial form of the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Aggregates of mutant SOD1 proteins are observed in histopathology and are invoked in several proposed mechanisms for motor neuronal death; however, the significant stability and activity of the mature mutant proteins are not readily explained in such models. Recent biochemical studies suggest that it is the immature disulfide-reduced forms of the familial ALS mutant SOD1 proteins that play a critical role; these forms tend to misfold, oligomerize, and readily undergo incorrect disulfide formation upon mild oxidative stress in vitro. Here we provide physiological support for this mechanism of aggregate formation and show that a significant fraction of the insoluble SOD1 aggregates in spinal cord of the ALS-model transgenic mice contain multimers cross-linked via intermolecular disulfide bonds. These insoluble disulfide-linked SOD1 multimers are found only in the spinal cord of symptomatic transgenic animals, are not observed in unafflicted tissue such as brain cortex and liver, and can incorporate WT SOD1 protein. The findings provide a biochemical basis for a pathological hallmark of this disease; namely, incorrect disulfide cross-linking of the immature, misfolded mutant proteins leads to insoluble aggregates.
Project description:Twenty percent of the familial form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is caused by mutations in the Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase gene (SOD1) through the gain of a toxic function. The nature of this toxic function of mutant SOD1 has remained largely unknown. Here we show that WT SOD1 not only hastens onset of the ALS phenotype but can also convert an unaffected phenotype to an ALS phenotype in mutant SOD1 transgenic mouse models. Further analyses of the single- and double-transgenic mice revealed that conversion of mutant SOD1 from a soluble form to an aggregated and detergent-insoluble form was associated with development of the ALS phenotype in transgenic mice. Conversion of WT SOD1 from a soluble form to an aggregated and insoluble form also correlates with exacerbation of the disease or conversion to a disease phenotype in double-transgenic mice. This conversion, observed in the mitochondrial fraction of the spinal cord, involved formation of insoluble SOD1 dimers and multimers that are crosslinked through intermolecular disulfide bonds via oxidation of cysteine residues in SOD1. Our data thus show a molecular mechanism by which SOD1, an important protein in cellular defense against free radicals, is converted to aggregated and apparently ALS-associated toxic dimers and multimers by redox processes. These findings provide evidence of direct links among oxidation, protein aggregation, mitochondrial damage, and SOD1-mediated ALS, with possible applications to the aging process and other late-onset neurodegenerative disorders. Importantly, rational therapy based on these observations can now be developed and tested.
Project description:Transgenic mice that model familial (f)ALS, caused by mutations in superoxide dismutase (SOD)1, develop paralysis with pathology that includes the accumulation of aggregated forms of the mutant protein. Using a highly sensitive detergent extraction assay, we traced the appearance and abundance of detergent-insoluble and disulfide cross-linked aggregates of SOD1 throughout the disease course of SOD1-fALS mice (G93A, G37R, and H46R/H48Q). We demonstrate that the accumulation of disulfide cross-linked, detergent-insoluble, aggregates of mutant SOD1 occurs primarily in the later stages of the disease, concurrent with the appearance of rapidly progressing symptoms. We find no evidence for a model in which aberrant intermolecular disulfide bonding has an important role in promoting the aggregation of mutant SOD1, instead, such cross-linking appears to be a secondary event. Also, using both cell culture and mouse models, we find that mutant protein lacking the normal intramolecular disulfide bond is a major component of the insoluble SOD1 aggregates. Overall, our findings suggest a model in which soluble forms of mutant SOD1 initiate disease with larger aggregates implicated only in rapidly progressing events in the final stages of disease. Within the final stages of disease, abnormalities in the oxidation of a normal intramolecular disulfide bond in mutant SOD1 facilitate the aggregation of mutant protein.
Project description:Mutations in the gene encoding Cu-Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) are one of the causes of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS). Fibrillar inclusions containing SOD1 and SOD1 inclusions that bind the amyloid-specific dye thioflavin S have been found in neurons of transgenic mice expressing mutant SOD1. Therefore, the formation of amyloid fibrils from human SOD1 was investigated. When agitated at acidic pH in the presence of low concentrations of guanidine or acetonitrile, metalated SOD1 formed fibrillar material which bound both thioflavin T and Congo red and had circular dichroism and infrared spectra characteristic of amyloid. While metalated SOD1 did not form amyloid-like aggregates at neutral pH, either removing metals from SOD1 with its intramolecular disulfide bond intact or reducing the intramolecular disulfide bond of metalated SOD1 was sufficient to promote formation of these aggregates. SOD1 formed amyloid-like aggregates both with and without intermolecular disulfide bonds, depending on the incubation conditions, and a mutant SOD1 lacking free sulfhydryl groups (AS-SOD1) formed amyloid-like aggregates at neutral pH under reducing conditions. ALS mutations enhanced the ability of disulfide-reduced SOD1 to form amyloid-like aggregates, and apo-AS-SOD1 formed amyloid-like aggregates at pH 7 only when an ALS mutation was also present. These results indicate that some mutations related to ALS promote formation of amyloid-like aggregates by facilitating the loss of metals and/or by making the intramolecular disulfide bond more susceptible to reduction, thus allowing the conversion of SOD1 to a form that aggregates to form resembling amyloid. Furthermore, the occurrence of amyloid-like aggregates per se does not depend on forming intermolecular disulfide bonds, and multiple forms of such aggregates can be produced from SOD1.
Project description:Activation of the enzyme Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) involves several posttranslational modifications including copper and zinc binding, as well as formation of the intramolecular disulfide bond. The copper chaperone for SOD1, CCS, is responsible for intracellular copper loading in SOD1 under most physiological conditions. Recent in vitro and in vivo assays reveal that CCS not only delivers copper to SOD1 under stringent copper limitation, but it also facilitates the stepwise conversion of the disulfide-reduced immature SOD1 to the active disulfide-containing enzyme. The two new functions attributed to CCS, (i.e., O(2)-dependent sulfhydryl oxidase- and disulfide isomerase-like activities) indicate that this protein has attributes of the larger class of molecular chaperones. The CCS-dependent activation of SOD1 is dependent upon oxygen availability, suggesting that the cell only loads copper and activates this enzyme when O(2)-based oxidative stress is present. Thiol/disulfide status as well as metallation state of SOD1 significantly affects its structure and protein aggregation, which are relevant in pathologies of a neurodegenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The authors review here a mechanism for posttranslational activation of SOD1 and discuss models for ALS in which the most immature forms of the SOD1 polypeptide exhibits propensity to form toxic aggregates.
Project description:Mutations in Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) can cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) through mechanisms proposed to involve SOD1 misfolding, but the intracellular factors that modulate folding and stability of SOD1 are largely unknown. By using yeast and mammalian expression systems, we demonstrate here that SOD1 stability is governed by post-translational modification factors that target the SOD1 disulfide. Oxidation of the human SOD1 disulfide in vivo was found to involve both the copper chaperone for SOD1 (CCS) and the CCS-independent pathway for copper activation. When both copper pathways were blocked, wild type SOD1 stably accumulated in yeast cells with a reduced disulfide, whereas ALS SOD1 mutants A4V, G93A, and G37R were degraded. We describe here an unprecedented role for the thiol oxidoreductase glutaredoxin in reducing the SOD1 disulfide and destabilizing ALS mutants. Specifically, the major cytosolic glutaredoxin of yeast was seen to reduce the intramolecular disulfide of ALS SOD1 mutant A4V SOD1 in vivo and in vitro. By comparison, glutaredoxin was less reactive toward the disulfide of wild type SOD1. The apo-form of A4V SOD1 was highly reactive with glutaredoxin but not SOD1 containing both copper and zinc. Glutaredoxin therefore preferentially targets the immature form of ALS mutant SOD1 lacking metal co-factors. Overall, these studies implicate a critical balance between cellular reductants such as glutaredoxin and copper activation pathways in controlling the disulfide and stability of SOD1 in vivo.
Project description:Mutations in the metalloenzyme copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause one form of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and metals are suspected to play a pivotal role in ALS pathology. To learn more about metals in ALS, we determined the metallation states of human wild-type or mutant (G37R, G93A, and H46R/H48Q) SOD1 proteins from SOD1-ALS transgenic mice spinal cords. SOD1 was gently extracted from spinal cord and separated into insoluble (aggregated) and soluble (supernatant) fractions, and then metallation states were determined by HPLC inductively coupled plasma MS. Insoluble SOD1-rich fractions were not enriched in copper and zinc. However, the soluble mutant and WT SOD1s were highly metallated except for the metal-binding-region mutant H46R/H48Q, which did not bind any copper. Due to the stability conferred by high metallation of G37R and G93A, it is unlikely that these soluble SOD1s are prone to aggregation in vivo, supporting the hypothesis that immature nascent SOD1 is the substrate for aggregation. We also investigated the effect of SOD1 overexpression and disease on metal homeostasis in spinal cord cross-sections of SOD1-ALS mice using synchrotron-based x-ray fluorescence microscopy. In each mouse genotype, except for the H46R/H48Q mouse, we found a redistribution of copper between gray and white matters correlated to areas of high SOD1. Interestingly, a disease-specific increase of zinc was observed in the white matter for all mutant SOD1 mice. Together these data provide a picture of copper and zinc in the cell as well as highlight the importance of these metals in understanding SOD1-ALS pathology.
Project description:Protein aggregation is a hallmark of many diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), where aggregation of Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is implicated in causing neurodegeneration. Recent studies have suggested that destabilization and aggregation of the most immature form of SOD1, the disulfide-reduced, unmetallated (apo) protein is particularly important in causing ALS. We report herein in depth analyses of the effects of chemically and structurally diverse ALS-associated mutations on the stability and aggregation of reduced apo SOD1. In contrast with previous studies, we find that various reduced apo SOD1 mutants undergo highly reversible thermal denaturation with little aggregation, enabling quantitative thermodynamic stability analyses. In the absence of ALS-associated mutations, reduced apo SOD1 is marginally stable but predominantly folded. Mutations generally result in slight decreases to substantial increases in the fraction of unfolded protein. Calorimetry, ultracentrifugation, and light scattering show that all mutations enhance aggregation propensity, with the effects varying widely, from subtle increases in most cases, to pronounced formation of 40-100 nm soluble aggregates by A4V, a mutation that is associated with particularly short disease duration. Interestingly, although there is a correlation between observed aggregation and stability, there is minimal to no correlation between observed aggregation, predicted aggregation propensity, and disease characteristics. These findings suggest that reduced apo SOD1 does not play a dominant role in modulating disease. Rather, additional and/or multiple forms of SOD1 and additional biophysical and biological factors are needed to account for the toxicity of mutant SOD1 in ALS.
Project description:Mutations in human copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) cause an inherited form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease, motor neuron disease). Insoluble forms of mutant SOD1 accumulate in neural tissues of human ALS patients and in spinal cords of transgenic mice expressing these polypeptides, suggesting that SOD1-linked ALS is a protein misfolding disorder. Understanding the molecular basis for how the pathogenic mutations give rise to SOD1 folding intermediates, which may themselves be toxic, is therefore of keen interest. A critical step on the SOD1 folding pathway occurs when the copper chaperone for SOD1 (CCS) modifies the nascent SOD1 polypeptide by inserting the catalytic copper cofactor and oxidizing its intrasubunit disulfide bond. Recent studies reveal that pathogenic SOD1 proteins coming from cultured cells and from the spinal cords of transgenic mice tend to be metal-deficient and/or lacking the disulfide bond, raising the possibility that the disease-causing mutations may enhance levels of SOD1-folding intermediates by preventing or hindering CCS-mediated SOD1 maturation. This mini-review explores this hypothesis by highlighting the structural and biophysical properties of the pathogenic SOD1 mutants in the context of what is currently known about CCS structure and action. Other hypotheses as to the nature of toxicity inherent in pathogenic SOD1 proteins are not covered.
Project description:Aberrant accumulation of misfolded Cu, Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is a hallmark of SOD1-associated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an invariably fatal neurodegenerative disease. While recent discovery of nonnative trimeric SOD1-associated neurotoxicity has suggested a potential pathway for motor neuron impairment, it is yet unknown whether large, insoluble aggregates are cytotoxic. Here we designed SOD1 mutations that specifically stabilize either the fibrillar form or the trimeric state of SOD1. The designed mutants display elevated populations of fibrils or trimers correspondingly, as demonstrated by gel filtration chromatography and electron microscopy. The trimer-stabilizing mutant, G147P, promoted cell death, even more potently in comparison with the aggressive ALS-associated mutants A4V and G93A. In contrast, the fibril-stabilizing mutants, N53I and D101I, positively impacted the survival of motor neuron-like cells. Hence, we conclude the SOD1 oligomer and not the mature form of aggregated fibril is critical for the neurotoxic effects in the model of ALS. The formation of large aggregates is in competition with trimer formation, suggesting that aggregation may be a protective mechanism against formation of toxic oligomeric intermediates.
Project description:Mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) are associated with familial cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (fALS). Studies in transgenic mice have suggested that wild-type (WT) SOD1 can modulate the toxicity of mutant SOD1. In the present study, we demonstrate that the effects of WT SOD1 on the age at which transgenic mice expressing mutant human SOD1 (hSOD1) develop paralysis are influenced by the nature of the ALS mutation and the expression levels of WT hSOD1. We show that regardless of whether WT SOD1 changes the course of disease, both WT and mutant hSOD1 accumulate as detergent-insoluble aggregates in symptomatic mice expressing both proteins. However, using a panel of fluorescently tagged variants of SOD1 in a cell model of mutant SOD1 aggregation, we demonstrate that the interactions between mutant and WT SOD1 in aggregate formation are not simply a co-assembly of mutant and WT proteins. Overall, these data demonstrate that the product of the normal SOD1 allele in fALS has potential to influence the toxicity of mutant SOD1 and that complex interactions with the mutant protein may influence the formation of aggregates and inclusion bodies generated by mutant SOD1.