Death receptor 6 (DR6) antagonist antibody is neuroprotective in the mouse SOD1G93A model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the death of motor neurons, axon degeneration, and denervation of neuromuscular junctions (NMJ). Here we show that death receptor 6 (DR6) levels are elevated in spinal cords from post-mortem samples of human ALS and from SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice, and DR6 promotes motor neuron death through activation of the caspase 3 signaling pathway. Blocking DR6 with antagonist antibody 5D10 promotes motor neuron survival in vitro via activation of Akt phosphorylation and inhibition of the caspase 3 signaling pathway, after growth factor withdrawal, sodium arsenite treatment or co-culture with SOD1(G93A) astrocytes. Treatment of SOD1(G93A) mice at an asymptomatic stage starting on the age of 42 days with 5D10 protects NMJ from denervation, decreases gliosis, increases survival of motor neurons and CC1(+) oligodendrocytes in spinal cord, decreases phosphorylated neurofilament heavy chain (pNfH) levels in serum, and promotes motor functional improvement assessed by increased grip strength. The combined data provide clear evidence for neuroprotective effects of 5D10. Blocking DR6 function represents a new approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders involving motor neuron death and axon degeneration, such as ALS.
Project description:ALS is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive loss of motor neurons and atrophy of distal axon terminals in muscle, resulting in loss of motor function. Motor end plates denervated by axonal retraction of dying motor neurons are partially reinnervated by remaining viable motor neurons; however, this axonal sprouting is insufficient to compensate for motor neuron loss. Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) promotes neuronal survival and axonal growth. Here, we reveal that forced expression of ATF3 in motor neurons of transgenic SOD1(G93A) ALS mice delays neuromuscular junction denervation by inducing axonal sprouting and enhancing motor neuron viability. Maintenance of neuromuscular junction innervation during the course of the disease in ATF3/SOD1(G93A) mice is associated with a substantial delay in muscle atrophy and improved motor performance. Although disease onset and mortality are delayed, disease duration is not affected. This study shows that adaptive axonal growth-promoting mechanisms can substantially improve motor function in ALS and importantly, that augmenting viability of the motor neuron soma and maintaining functional neuromuscular junction connections are both essential elements in therapy for motor neuron disease in the SOD1(G93A) mice. Accordingly, effective protection of optimal motor neuron function requires restitution of multiple dysregulated cellular pathways.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a devastating neurodegenerative disorder caused by selective motor neuron degeneration. Abnormal protein aggregation and impaired protein degradation pathways may contribute to the disease pathogenesis. Although it has been reported that autophagy is altered in patients and animal model of ALS, little is known about the role of autophagy in motor neuron degeneration in this disease. Our previous study shows that rapamycin, an MTOR-dependent autophagic activator, accelerates disease progression in the SOD1(G93A) mouse model of ALS. In the present report, we have assessed the role of the MTOR-independent autophagic pathway in ALS by determining the effect of the MTOR-independent autophagic inducer trehalose on disease onset and progression, and on motor neuron degeneration in SOD1(G93A) mice. We have found that trehalose significantly delays disease onset prolongs life span, and reduces motor neuron loss in the spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) mice. Most importantly, we have documented that trehalose decreases SOD1 and SQSTM1/p62 aggregation, reduces ubiquitinated protein accumulation, and improves autophagic flux in the motor neurons of SOD1(G93A) mice. Moreover, we have demonstrated that trehalose can reduce skeletal muscle denervation, protect mitochondria, and inhibit the proapoptotic pathway in SOD1(G93A) mice. Collectively, our study indicated that the MTOR-independent autophagic inducer trehalose is neuroprotective in the ALS model and autophagosome-lysosome fusion is a possible therapeutic target for the treatment of ALS.
Project description:In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and animal models of ALS, including SOD1-G93A mice, disassembly of the neuromuscular synapse precedes motor neuron loss and is sufficient to cause a decline in motor function that culminates in lethal respiratory paralysis. We treated SOD1-G93A mice with an agonist antibody to MuSK, a receptor tyrosine kinase essential for maintaining neuromuscular synapses, to determine whether increasing muscle retrograde signaling would slow nerve terminal detachment from muscle. The agonist antibody, delivered after disease onset, slowed muscle denervation, promoting motor neuron survival, improving motor system output, and extending the lifespan of SOD1-G93A mice. These findings suggest a novel therapeutic strategy for ALS, using an antibody format with clinical precedence, which targets a pathway essential for maintaining attachment of nerve terminals to muscle.
Project description:MyoD and myogenin are myogenic transcription factors preferentially expressed in adult fast and slow muscles, respectively. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder in which motor neuron loss is accompanied by muscle denervation and paralysis. Studies suggest that muscle phenotype may influence ALS disease progression. Here we demonstrate that myogenin gene transfer into muscle supports spinal cord motor neuron survival and muscle endplate innervation in the G93A SOD1 fALS mice. On the other hand, MyoD gene transfer decreases survival and enhances motor neuron degeneration and muscle denervation. Although an increase in motor neuron count is associated with increased succinic dehydrogenase staining in the muscle, muscle overexpression of PGC-1? does not improve survival or motor function. Our study suggests that postnatal muscle modification influences disease progression and demonstrates that the muscle expression of myogenic and metabolic regulators differentially impacts neuropathology associated with disease progression in the G93A SOD1 fALS mouse model.
Project description:Mutant Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) causes mitochondrial alterations that contribute to motor neuron demise in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). When mitochondria are damaged, cells activate mitochondria quality control (MQC) mechanisms leading to mitophagy. Here, we show that in the spinal cord of G93A mutant SOD1 transgenic mice (SOD1-G93A mice), the autophagy receptor p62 is recruited to mitochondria and mitophagy is activated. Furthermore, the mitochondrial ubiquitin ligase Parkin and mitochondrial dynamics proteins, such as Miro1, and Mfn2, which are ubiquitinated by Parkin, and the mitochondrial biogenesis regulator PGC1? are depleted. Unexpectedly, Parkin genetic ablation delays disease progression and prolongs survival in SOD1-G93A mice, as it slows down motor neuron loss and muscle denervation and attenuates the depletion of mitochondrial dynamics proteins and PGC1?. Our results indicate that Parkin is a disease modifier in ALS, because chronic Parkin-mediated MQC activation depletes mitochondrial dynamics-related proteins, inhibits mitochondrial biogenesis, and worsens mitochondrial dysfunction.
Project description:Mutant Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) causes mitochondrial alterations that contribute to motor neuron demise in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). When mitochondria are damaged, cells activate mitochondria quality control (MQC) mechanisms leading to mitophagy. Here, we show that in the spinal cord of G93A mutant SOD1 transgenic mice (SOD1-G93A mice) the autophagy receptor p62 is recruited to mitochondria and mitophagy is activated. Furthermore, the mitochondrial ubiquitin ligase Parkin and mitochondrial dynamics proteins, such as Miro1, and Mfn2, which are ubiquitinated by Parkin, and the mitochondrial biogenesis regulator PGC1 are depleted. Unexpectedly, Parkin genetic ablation delays disease progression and prolongs survival in SOD1-G93A mice, as it slows down motor neuron loss and muscle denervation and attenuates the depletion of mitochondrial dynamics proteins and PGC1. Our results indicate that Parkin is a disease modifier in ALS, because chronic Parkin-mediated MQC activation depletes mitochondrial dynamics-related proteins, inhibits mitochondrial biogenesis, and worsens mitochondrial dysfunction.
Project description:Recent studies have implicated enhanced Nox2-mediated reactive oxygen species (ROS) by microglia in the pathogenesis of motor neuron death observed in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this context, ALS mutant forms of SOD1 enhance Rac1 activation, leading to increased Nox2-dependent microglial ROS production and neuron cell death in mice. It remains unclear if other genetic mutations that cause ALS also function through similar Nox-dependent pathways to enhance ROS-mediate motor neuron death. In the present study, we sought to understand whether alsin, which is mutated in an inherited juvenile form of ALS, functionally converges on Rac1-dependent pathways acted upon by SOD1(G93A) to regulate Nox-dependent ROS production. Our studies demonstrate that glial cell expression of SOD1(G93A) or wild type alsin induces ROS production, Rac1 activation, secretion of TNF?, and activation of NF?B, leading to decreased motor neuron survival in co-culture. Interestingly, coexpression of alsin, or shRNA against Nox2, with SOD1(G93A) in glial cells attenuated these proinflammatory indicators and protected motor neurons in co-culture, although shRNAs against Nox1 and Nox4 had little effect. SOD1(G93A) expression dramatically enhanced TNF?-mediated endosomal ROS in glial cells in a Rac1-dependent manner and alsin overexpression inhibited SOD1(G93A)-induced endosomal ROS and Rac1 activation. SOD1(G93A) expression enhanced recruitment of alsin to the endomembrane compartment in glial cells, suggesting that these two proteins act to modulate Nox2-dependent endosomal ROS and proinflammatory signals that modulate NF?B. These studies suggest that glial proinflammatory signals regulated by endosomal ROS are influenced by two gene products known to cause ALS.
Project description:BTBD10, an Akt interactor, activates Akt by decreasing the protein phosphatase 2A-mediated dephosphorylation and inactivation of Akt. Overexpression of BTBD10 suppresses motor neuron death that is induced by a familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-linked superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutant, G93A-SOD1 in vitro. In this study, we further investigated the BTBD10-mediated suppression of motor neuron death. We found that the small interfering RNA-mediated inhibition of BTBD10 expression led to the death of cultured motor neurons. In Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), disruption of the btbd-10 gene caused not only loss of neurons, including both motor and touch-receptor neurons, but also a locomotion defect. In addition, we found that the expression of BTBD10 was generally decreased in the motor neurons from patients of sporadic ALS and transgenic mice overexpressing G93A-SOD1 (G93A-SOD1-transgenic mice). Collectively, these results suggest that the reduced expression of BTBD10 leads to motor neuron death both in vitro and in vivo.
Project description:The death of cranial and spinal motoneurons (MNs) is believed to be an essential component of the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We tested this hypothesis by crossing Bax-deficient mice with mice expressing mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), a transgenic model of familial ALS. Although Bax deletion failed to prevent neuromuscular denervation and mitochondrial vacuolization, MNs were completely rescued from mutant SOD1-mediated death. However, Bax deficiency extended lifespan and delayed the onset of motor dysfunction of SOD1 mutants, suggesting that Bax acts via a mechanism distinct from cell death activation. Consistent with this idea, Bax elimination delayed the onset of neuromuscular denervation, which began long before the activation of cell death proteins in SOD1 mutants. Additionally, we show that denervation preceded accumulation of mutant SOD1 within MNs and astrogliosis in the spinal cord, which are also both delayed in Bax-deficient SOD1 mutants. Interestingly, MNs exhibited mitochondrial abnormalities at the innervated neuromuscular junction at the onset of neuromuscular denervation. Additionally, both MN presynaptic terminals and terminal Schwann cells expressed high levels of mutant SOD1 before MNs withdrew their axons. Together, these data support the idea that clinical symptoms in the SOD1 G93A model of ALS result specifically from damage to the distal motor axon and not from activation of the death pathway, and cast doubt on the utility of anti-apoptotic therapies to combat ALS. Furthermore, they suggest a novel, cell death-independent role for Bax in facilitating mutant SOD1-mediated motor denervation.
Project description:Mutations in the Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase (SOD1) gene cause an inherited form of ALS with upper and lower motor neuron loss. The mechanism underlying mutant SOD1-mediated motor neuron degeneration remains unclear. While defects in mitochondrial dynamics contribute to neurodegeneration, including ALS, previous reports remain conflicted. Here, we report an improved technique to isolate, transfect, and culture rat spinal cord motor neurons. Using this improved system, we demonstrate that mutant SOD1(G93A) triggers a significant decrease in mitochondrial length and an accumulation of round fragmented mitochondria. The increase of fragmented mitochondria coincides with an arrest in both anterograde and retrograde axonal transport and increased cell death. In addition, mutant SOD1(G93A) induces a reduction in neurite length and branching that is accompanied with an abnormal accumulation of round mitochondria in growth cones. Furthermore, restoration of the mitochondrial fission and fusion balance by dominant-negative dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) expression rescues the mutant SOD1(G93A)-induced defects in mitochondrial morphology, dynamics, and cell viability. Interestingly, both SIRT3 and PGC-1? protect against mitochondrial fragmentation and neuronal cell death by mutant SOD1(G93A). This data suggests that impairment in mitochondrial dynamics participates in ALS and restoring this defect might provide protection against mutant SOD1(G93A)-induced neuronal injury.