Wild-type and mutant SOD1 share an aberrant conformation and a common pathogenic pathway in ALS.
ABSTRACT: Many mutations confer one or more toxic function(s) on copper/zinc superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) that impair motor neuron viability and cause familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS). Using a conformation-specific antibody that detects misfolded SOD1 (C4F6), we found that oxidized wild-type SOD1 and mutant SOD1 share a conformational epitope that is not present in normal wild-type SOD1. In a subset of human sporadic ALS (SALS) cases, motor neurons in the lumbosacral spinal cord were markedly C4F6 immunoreactive, indicating that an aberrant wild-type SOD1 species was present. Recombinant, oxidized wild-type SOD1 and wild-type SOD1 immunopurified from SALS tissues inhibited kinesin-based fast axonal transport in a manner similar to that of FALS-linked mutant SOD1. Our findings suggest that wild-type SOD1 can be pathogenic in SALS and identify an SOD1-dependent pathogenic mechanism common to FALS and SALS.
Project description:Misfolding and aggregation of copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (Sod1) are observed in neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Mutations in Sod1 lead to familial ALS (FALS), which is a late-onset disease. Since oxidative damage to proteins increases with age, it had been proposed that oxidation of Sod1 mutants may trigger their misfolding and aggregation in FALS. However, over 90% of ALS cases are sporadic (SALS) with no obvious genetic component. We hypothesized that oxidation could also trigger the misfolding and aggregation of wild-type Sod1 and sought to confirm this in a cellular environment. Using quiescent, stationary-phase yeast cells as a model for non-dividing motor neurons, we probed for post-translational modification (PTM) and aggregation of wild-type Sod1 extracted from these cells. By size-exclusion chromatography (SEC), we isolated two populations of Sod1 from yeast: a low-molecular weight (LMW) fraction that is catalytically active and a catalytically inactive, high-molecular weight (HMW) fraction. High-resolution mass spectrometric analysis revealed that LMW Sod1 displays no PTMs but HMW Sod1 is oxidized at Cys146 and His71, two critical residues for the stability and folding of the enzyme. HMW Sod1 is also oxidized at His120, a copper ligand, which will promote loss of this catalytic metal cofactor essential for SOD activity. Monitoring the fluorescence of a Sod1-green-fluorescent-protein fusion (Sod1-GFP) extracted from yeast chromosomally expressing this fusion, we find that HMW Sod1-GFP levels increase up to 40-fold in old cells. Thus, we speculate that increased misfolding and inclusion into soluble aggregates is a consequence of elevated oxidative modifications of wild-type Sod1 as cells age. Our observations argue that oxidative damage to wild-type Sod1 initiates the protein misfolding mechanisms that give rise to SALS.
Project description:Mutations in the gene encoding superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) account for about 20% of the cases of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (fALS). It is not known how the mutant protein causes disease, or why only a subset of cell types (motor neurons) are targeted. The aggregation and misfolding of mutant SOD1 are implicated in disease pathogenesis in both animal models and humans. We used a monoclonal antibody, C4F6, which specifically reacts with mutant and/or "misfolded" SOD1, to investigate the regional distribution of mutant SOD1 protein in rodent and human tissues. C4F6 reacted only with mutant SOD1 and showed remarkable selectivity for disease-affected tissues and cells. Tissue not affected by disease but containing high levels of mutant protein (sensory neurons) did not stain with C4F6. Additionally, C4F6 intensely stained some motor neurons while leaving adjacent motor neurons unstained. Although C4F6 was generated against the G93A SOD1 mutant, it also recognized other SOD1 mutants. In human autopsy tissues from patients carrying SOD1 mutations, C4F6 identified skein-like intracellular inclusions in motor neurons, similar to those seen in rodents, and again stained only a subset of motor neurons. In spinal cords from patients with sporadic ALS, other neurodegenerative diseases, and normal controls, C4F6-immunoreactive inclusions were not detected, but the antibody did reveal diffuse immunostaining of some spinal motor neurons. The ability of C4F6 to differentiate pathologically affected tissue in mutant SOD1 ALS rodent models and humans, specifically motor neuron populations, suggests that this antibody may recognize a "toxic" form of the mutant SOD1 protein.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating motor neuron degenerative disease whose etiology and pathogenesis remain poorly understood. Most cases of ALS ( approximately 90%) are sporadic (SALS), occurring in the absence of genetic associations. Approximately 20% of familial ALS (FALS) cases are due to known mutations in the copper, zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene. Molecular evidence for a common pathogenesis of SALS and FALS has remained elusive. Here we use covalent chemical modification to reveal an attribute of spinal cord SOD1 common to both SOD1-linked FALS and SALS, but not present in normal or disease-affected tissues from other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases and spinal muscular atrophy, a non-ALS motor neuron disease. Biotinylation reveals a 32-kDa, covalently cross-linked SOD1-containing protein species produced not only in FALS caused by SOD1 mutation, but also in SALS. These studies use chemical modification as a novel tool for the detection of a disease-associated biomarker. Our results identify a shared molecular event involving a known target gene and suggest a common step in the pathogenesis between SALS and FALS.
Project description:Greater than 160 missense mutations in copper-zinc superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) can cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). These mutations produce conformational changes that reveal novel antibody binding epitopes. A monoclonal antibody, clone C4F6 - raised against the ALS variant G93A of SOD1, has been identified as specifically recognizing a conformation shared by many ALS mutants of SOD1. Attempts to determine whether non-mutant SOD1 adopts a C4F6-reactive conformation in spinal tissues of sporadic ALS (sALS) patients has produced inconsistent results. To define the epitope recognized by C4F6, we tested its binding to a panel of recombinant ALS-SOD1 proteins expressed in cultured cells, producing data to suggest that the C4F6 epitope minimally contains amino acids 90-93, which are normally folded into a tight hairpin loop. Multiple van der Waals interactions between the 90-93 loop and a loop formed by amino acids 37-42, particularly a leucine at position 38, form a stable structure termed the ?-plug. Based on published modeling predictions, we suggest that the binding of C4F6 to multiple ALS mutants of SOD1 occurs when the local structure within the ?-plug, including the loop at 90-93, is destabilized. In using the antibody to stain tissues from transgenic mice or humans, the specificity of the antibody for ALS mutant SOD1 was influenced by antigen retrieval protocols. Using conditions that showed the best discrimination between normal and misfolded mutant SOD1 in cell and mouse models, we could find no obvious difference in C4F6 reactivity to spinal motor neurons between sALS and controls tissues.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal motor neuron disease, with astrocytes implicated as contributing substantially to motor neuron death in familial (F)ALS. However, the proposed role of astrocytes in the pathology of ALS derives in part from rodent models of FALS based upon dominant mutations within the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene, which account for <2% of all ALS cases. Their role in sporadic (S)ALS, which affects >90% of ALS patients, remains to be established. Using astrocytes generated from postmortem tissue from both FALS and SALS patients, we show that astrocytes derived from both patient groups are similarly toxic to motor neurons. We also demonstrate that SOD1 is a viable target for SALS, as its knockdown significantly attenuates astrocyte-mediated toxicity toward motor neurons. Our data highlight astrocytes as a non-cell autonomous component in SALS and provide an in vitro model system to investigate common disease mechanisms and evaluate potential therapies for SALS and FALS.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal disorder of motor neuron degeneration. Most cases of ALS are sporadic (SALS), but about 5 to 10% of ALS cases are familial (FALS). Recent studies have shown that mutations in FUS are causal in approximately 4 to 5% of FALS and some apparent SALS cases. The pathogenic mechanism of the mutant FUS-mediated ALS and potential roles of FUS in non-FUS ALS remain to be investigated.Immunostaining was performed on postmortem spinal cords from 78 ALS cases, including SALS (n = 52), ALS with dementia (ALS/dementia, n = 10), and FALS (n = 16). In addition, postmortem brains or spinal cords from 22 cases with or without frontotemporal lobar degeneration were also studied. In total, 100 cases were studied.FUS-immunoreactive inclusions were observed in spinal anterior horn neurons in all SALS and FALS cases, except for those with SOD1 mutations. The FUS-containing inclusions were also immunoreactive with antibodies to TDP43, p62, and ubiquitin. A fraction of tested FUS antibodies recognized FUS inclusions, and specific antigen retrieval protocol appeared to be important for detection of the skein-like FUS inclusions.Although mutations in FUS account for only a small fraction of FALS and SALS, our data suggest that FUS protein may be a common component of the cellular inclusions in non-SOD1 ALS and some other neurodegenerative conditions, implying a shared pathogenic pathway underlying SALS, non-SOD1 FALS, ALS/dementia, and related disorders. Our data also indicate that SOD1-linked ALS may have a pathogenic pathway distinct from SALS and other types of FALS.
Project description:Evidence of misfolded wild-type superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) has been detected in spinal cords of sporadic ALS (sALS) patients, suggesting an etiological relationship to SOD1-associated familial ALS (fALS). Given that there are currently a number of promising therapies under development that target SOD1, it is of critical importance to better understand the role of misfolded SOD1 in sALS. We previously demonstrated the permissiveness of the G85R-SOD1:YFP mouse model for MND induction following injection with tissue homogenates from paralyzed transgenic mice expressing SOD1 mutations. This prompted us to examine whether WT SOD1 can self-propagate misfolding of the G85R-SOD1:YFP protein akin to what has been observed with mutant SOD1. Using the G85R-SOD1:YFP mice, we demonstrate that misfolded conformers of recombinant WT SOD1, produced in vitro, induce MND with a distinct inclusion pathology. Furthermore, the distinct pathology remains upon successive passages in the G85R-SOD1:YFP mice, strongly supporting the notion for conformation-dependent templated propagation and SOD1 strains. To determine the presence of a similar misfolded WT SOD1 conformer in sALS tissue, we screened homogenates from patients diagnosed with sALS, fALS, and non-ALS disease in an organotypic spinal cord slice culture assay. Slice cultures from G85R-SOD1:YFP mice exposed to spinal homogenates from patients diagnosed with ALS caused by the A4V mutation in SOD1 developed robust inclusion pathology, whereas spinal homogenates from more than 30 sALS cases and various controls failed. These findings suggest that mutant SOD1 has prion-like attributes that do not extend to SOD1 in sALS tissues.
Project description:Although the copper/zinc superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) gene has been identified in both familial ALS (FALS) and sporadic ALS (SALS), it has rarely been studied in Chinese patients with ALS, and there are few studies with large samples. This study sought to assess the prevalence of SOD1 mutations in Chinese ALS patients. We screened a cohort of 499 ALS patients (487 SALS and 12 FALS) from the Department of Neurology at the West China Hospital of Sichuan University and analyzed all coding exons of SOD1 by Sanger sequencing. In addition, we reviewed the mutation frequencies of common ALS causative genes in Chinese populations. Eight missense mutations in SOD1 were found in 8 ALS individuals: two novel mutations (p.G73D and p.V120F) and six previously reported mutations. The frequencies of SOD1 mutations were 1.03% (5/487) in SALS and 25% (3/12) in FALS from Southwest China. A literature review indicated that the mutation rates of major ALS causative genes were 53.55% in FALS and 6.29% in SALS. In Chinese SALS and FALS, the highest mutation frequency was in the SOD1 gene. Our results suggest that SOD1 mutation is the most common cause of ALS in Chinese populations and that the mutation spectrum of ALS varies among different ethnic populations.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is incurable and characterized by progressive paralysis of the muscles of the limbs, speech and swallowing, and respiration due to the progressive degeneration of voluntary motor neurons. Clinically indistinguishable ALS can be caused by genetic mutations of Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1), TAR-DNA binding protein 43 (TDP43), or fused in sarcoma/translocated in liposarcoma (FUS/TLS), or can occur in the absence of known mutation as sporadic disease. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that FUS/TLS and TDP43 gain new pathogenic functions upon aberrant accumulation in the cytosol that directly or indirectly include misfolding of SOD1.Patient spinal cord necropsy immunohistochemistry with SOD1 misfolding-specific antibodies revealed misfolded SOD1 in perikarya and motor axons of SOD1-familial ALS (SOD1-FALS), and in motor axons of R521C-FUS FALS and sporadic ALS (SALS) with cytoplasmic TDP43 inclusions. SOD1 misfolding and oxidation was also detected using immunocytochemistry and quantitative immunoprecipitation of human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells as well as cultured murine spinal neural cells transgenic for human wtSOD1, which were transiently transfected with human cytosolic mutant FUS or TDP43, or wtTDP43.We conclude that cytosolic mislocalization of FUS or TDP43 in vitro and ALS in vivo may kindle wtSOD1 misfolding in non-SOD1 FALS and SALS. The lack of immunohistochemical compartmental co-localization of misfolded SOD1 with cytosolic TDP43 or FUS suggests an indirect induction of SOD1 misfolding followed by propagation through template directed misfolding beyond its site of inception. The identification of a final common pathway in the molecular pathogenesis of ALS provides a treatment target for this devastating disease.
Project description:Most cases of neurodegenerative diseases are sporadic, hindering the use of genetic mouse models to analyze disease mechanisms. Focusing on the motor neuron (MN) disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), we therefore devised a fully humanized coculture model composed of human adult primary sporadic ALS (sALS) astrocytes and human embryonic stem-cell-derived MNs. The model reproduces the cardinal features of human ALS: sALS astrocytes, but not those from control patients, trigger selective death of MNs. The mechanisms underlying this non-cell-autonomous toxicity were investigated in both astrocytes and MNs. Although causal in familial ALS (fALS), SOD1 does not contribute to the toxicity of sALS astrocytes. Death of MNs triggered by either sALS or fALS astrocytes occurs through necroptosis, a form of programmed necrosis involving receptor-interacting protein 1 and the mixed lineage kinase domain-like protein. The necroptotic pathway therefore constitutes a potential therapeutic target for this incurable disease.