Progressive aggregation of alpha-synuclein and selective degeneration of lewy inclusion-bearing neurons in a mouse model of parkinsonism.
ABSTRACT: Aggregated alpha-synuclein inclusions are found where cell death occurs in several diseases, including Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, and multiple-system atrophy. However, the relationship between inclusion formation and an individual cell's fate has been difficult to study with conventional techniques. We developed a system that allows for in vivo imaging of the same neurons over months. We show that intracerebral injection of preformed fibrils of recombinant alpha-synuclein can seed aggregation of transgenically expressed and endogenous alpha-synuclein in neurons. Somatic inclusions undergo a stage-like maturation, with progressive compaction coinciding with decreased soluble somatic and nuclear alpha-synuclein. Mature inclusions bear the post-translational hallmarks of human Lewy pathology. Long-term imaging of inclusion-bearing neurons and neighboring neurons without inclusions demonstrates selective degeneration of inclusion-bearing cells. Our results indicate that inclusion formation is tightly correlated with cellular toxicity and that seeding may be a pathologically relevant mechanism of progressive neurodegeneration in many synucleinopathies.
Project description:It is necessary to develop an understanding of the specific mechanisms involved in alpha-synuclein aggregation and propagation to develop disease modifying therapies for age-related synucleinopathies, including Parkinson's disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies. To adequately address this question, we developed a new transgenic mouse model of synucleinopathy that expresses human A53T SynGFP under control of the mouse prion protein promoter. Our characterization of this mouse line demonstrates that it exhibits several distinct advantages over other, currently available, mouse models. This new model allows rigorous study of the initial location of Lewy pathology formation and propagation in the living brain, and strongly suggests that aggregation begins in axonal structures with retrograde propagation to the cell body. This model also shows expeditious development of alpha-synuclein pathology following induction with small, in vitro-generated alpha-synuclein pre-formed fibrils (PFFs), as well as accelerated cell death of inclusion-bearing cells. Using this model, we found that aggregated alpha-synuclein somatic inclusions developed first in neurons, but later showed a second wave of inclusion formation in astrocytes. Interestingly, astrocytes appear to survive much longer after inclusion formation than their neuronal counterparts. This model also allowed careful study of peripheral-to-central spread of Lewy pathology after PFF injection into the hind limb musculature. Our results clearly show evidence of progressive, retrograde trans-synaptic spread of Lewy pathology through known neuroanatomically connected pathways in the motor system. As such, we have developed a promising tool to understand the biology of neurodegeneration associated with alpha-synuclein aggregation and to discover new treatments capable of altering the neurodegenerative disease course of synucleinopathies.
Project description:Neuronal accumulation of alpha-synuclein and Lewy body formation are characteristic to many neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease (PD). This Lewy pathology appears to spread throughout the brain as the disease progresses. Furthermore, recent studies showed the occurrence of Lewy pathology in neurons grafted into the brains of PD patients, suggesting the spread of pathology from the host tissues to the grafts. The mechanism underlying this propagation is unknown. Here, we show that alpha-synuclein is transmitted via endocytosis to neighboring neurons and neuronal precursor cells, forming Lewy-like inclusions. Moreover, alpha-synuclein was transmitted from the affected neurons to engrafted neuronal precursor cells in a transgenic model of PD-like pathology. Failure of the protein quality control systems, especially lysosomes, promoted the accumulation of transmitted alpha-synuclein and inclusion formation. Cells exposed to neuron-derived alpha-synuclein showed signs of apoptosis, such as nuclear fragmentation and caspase 3 activation, both in vitro and in vivo. These findings demonstrate the cell-to-cell transmission of alpha-synuclein aggregates and provide critical insights into the mechanism of pathological progression in PD and other proteinopathies.
Project description:Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by Lewy body formation and death of dopaminergic neurons. Mutations in alpha-synuclein and parkin cause familial forms of PD. Synphilin-1 was shown to interact with alpha-synuclein and to promote the formation of cytosolic inclusions. We now report that synphilin-1 interacts with the E3 ubiquitin-ligases SIAH-1 and SIAH-2. SIAH proteins ubiquitylate synphilin-1 both in vitro and in vivo, promoting its degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Inability of the proteasome to degrade synphilin-1/SIAH complex leads to a robust formation of ubiquitylated cytosolic inclusions. Ubiquitylation is required for inclusion formation, because a catalytically inactive mutant of SIAH-1, which still binds to synphilin-1, fails to promote inclusions. Like synphilin-1, alpha-synuclein associates with SIAH in intact cells, but the interaction with SIAH-2 was much stronger that with SIAH-1. In vitro experiments show that SIAH-2 monoubiquitylates alpha-synuclein. Further evidence that SIAH proteins may play a role in inclusion formation comes from the demonstration of SIAH immunoreactivity in Lewy bodies of PD patients.
Project description:Extensive loss of dopaminergic neurons and aggregation of the protein α-synuclein into ubiquitin-positive Lewy bodies represents a major neuropathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease (PD). At present, the generation of large nuclear-associated Lewy bodies from endogenous wild-type α-synuclein, translationally regulated under its own promoter in human cell culture models, requires costly and time-consuming protocols. Here, we demonstrate that fully differentiated human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells grown in three-dimensional cell culture develop Lewy-body-like pathology upon exposure to exogenous α-synuclein species. In contrast to most cell- and rodent-based PD models, which exhibit multiple diffuse α-synuclein aggregates throughout the cytoplasm, a single large nuclear inclusion that is immunopositive for α-synuclein and ubiquitin is rapidly obtained in our model. This was achieved without the need for overexpression of α-synuclein or genetic modification of the cell line. However, phosphorylation of α-synuclein within these inclusions was not observed. The system described here provides an ideal tool to screen compounds to therapeutically intervene in Lewy body formation, and to investigate the mechanisms involved in disease progression in synucleinopathies.
Project description:Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with progressive degeneration of dopaminergic (DA) neurons. We report for the first time that the Drosophila histone deacetylase 6 (dHDAC6) plays a critical role in the protection of DA neurons and the formation of alpha-synuclein inclusions by using a Drosophila PD model constructed by ectopic expression of human alpha-synuclein. Depletion of dHDAC6 significantly enhances the effects caused by ectopic expression of alpha-synuclein, namely, loss of DA neurons, retinal degeneration, and locomotor dysfunction. Expression of alpha-synuclein in the DA neurons leads to fewer inclusions in the brains of dHDAC6 mutant flies than in wild-type flies. Conversely, overexpression of dHDAC6 is able to suppress the alpha-synuclein-induced DA neuron loss and retinal degeneration and promote inclusion formation. Furthermore, mutation of dHDAC6 reinforces the accumulation of oligomers that are suggested to be a toxic form of alpha-synuclein. We propose that alpha-synuclein inclusion formation in the presence of dHDAC6 protects DA neurons from being damaged by oligomers, which may uncover a common mechanism for synucleinopathies.
Project description:alpha-Synucleinopathies are a group of neurological disorders characterized by the presence of intracellular inclusion bodies containing alpha-synuclein. We previously demonstrated that synphilin-1 interacts with alpha-synuclein, implying a role in Parkinson's disease. We now report the identification and characterization of synphilin-1A, an isoform of synphilin-1, which has enhanced aggregatory properties and causes neurotoxicity. The two transcripts encoding synphilin-1A and synphilin-1 originate from the SNCAIP gene but differ in both their exon organization and initial reading frames used for translation. Synphilin-1A binds to alpha-synuclein and induces the formation of intracellular aggregates in human embryonic kidney 293 cells, primary neuronal cultures, and human dopaminergic cells. Overexpression of synphilin-1A in neurons results in striking cellular toxicity that is attenuated by the formation of synphilin-1A inclusions, which recruit alpha-synuclein. Synphilin-1A is present in Lewy bodies of patients with Parkinson's disease and Diffuse Lewy Body disease, and is observed in detergent-insoluble fractions of brain protein samples obtained from Diffuse Lewy Body disease patients. These findings suggest that synphilin-1A may contribute to neuronal degeneration in alpha-synucleinopathies and also provide important insights into the role of inclusion bodies in neurodegenerative disorders.
Project description:Parkinson's disease is characterized by abundant ?-synuclein (?-Syn) neuronal inclusions, known as Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites, and the massive loss of midbrain dopamine neurons. However, a cause-and-effect relationship between Lewy inclusion formation and neurodegeneration remains unclear. Here, we found that in wild-type nontransgenic mice, a single intrastriatal inoculation of synthetic ?-Syn fibrils led to the cell-to-cell transmission of pathologic ?-Syn and Parkinson's-like Lewy pathology in anatomically interconnected regions. Lewy pathology accumulation resulted in progressive loss of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta, but not in the adjacent ventral tegmental area, and was accompanied by reduced dopamine levels culminating in motor deficits. This recapitulation of a neurodegenerative cascade thus establishes a mechanistic link between transmission of pathologic ?-Syn and the cardinal features of Parkinson's disease.
Project description:Multiple system atrophy is a sporadic alpha-synucleinopathy that typically affects patients in their sixth decade of life and beyond. The defining clinical features of the disease include progressive autonomic failure, parkinsonism, and cerebellar ataxia leading to significant disability. Pathologically, multiple system atrophy is characterized by glial cytoplasmic inclusions containing filamentous alpha-synuclein. Neuronal inclusions also have been reported but remain less well defined. This study aimed to further define the spectrum of neuronal pathology in 35 patients with multiple system atrophy (20 male, 15 female; mean age at death 64.7 years; median disease duration 6.5 years, range 2.2 to 15.6 years). The morphologic type, topography, and frequencies of neuronal inclusions, including globular cytoplasmic (Lewy body-like) neuronal inclusions, were determined across a wide spectrum of brain regions. A correlation matrix of pathologic severity also was calculated between distinct anatomic regions of involvement (striatum, substantia nigra, olivary and pontine nuclei, hippocampus, forebrain and thalamus, anterior cingulate and neocortex, and white matter of cerebrum, cerebellum, and corpus callosum). The major finding was the identification of widespread neuronal inclusions in the majority of patients, not only in typical disease-associated regions (striatum, substantia nigra), but also within anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala, entorhinal cortex, basal forebrain and hypothalamus. Neuronal inclusion pathology appeared to follow a hierarchy of region-specific susceptibility, independent of the clinical phenotype, and the severity of pathology was duration-dependent. Neuronal inclusions also were identified in regions not previously implicated in the disease, such as within cerebellar roof nuclei. Lewy body-like inclusions in multiple system atrophy followed the stepwise anatomic progression of Lewy body-spectrum disease inclusion pathology in 25.7% of patients with multiple system atrophy, including a patient with visual hallucinations. Further, the presence of Lewy body-like inclusions in neocortex, but not hippocampal alpha-synuclein pathology, was associated with cognitive impairment (P = 0.002). However, several cases had the presence of isolated Lewy body-like inclusions at atypical sites (e.g. thalamus, deep cerebellar nuclei) that are not typical for Lewy body-spectrum disease. Finally, interregional correlations (rho ? 0.6) in pathologic glial and neuronal lesion burden suggest shared mechanisms of disease progression between both discrete anatomic regions (e.g. basal forebrain and hippocampus) and cell types (neuronal and glial inclusions in frontal cortex and white matter, respectively). These findings suggest that in addition to glial inclusions, neuronal pathology plays an important role in the developmental and progression of multiple system atrophy.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The pathology of Parkinson's disease (PD) is characterized by the degeneration of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway, as well as the formation of intraneuronal inclusions known as Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites in the substantia nigra. Accumulations of nitrated alpha-synuclein are demonstrated in the signature inclusions of Parkinson's disease. However, whether the nitration of alpha-synuclein is relevant to the pathogenesis of PD is unknown. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, effect of nitrated alpha-synuclein to dopaminergic (DA) neurons was determined by delivering nitrated recombinant TAT-alpha-synuclein intracellular. We provide evidence to show that the nitrated alpha-synuclein was toxic to cultured dopaminergic SHSY-5Y neurons and primary mesencephalic DA neurons to a much greater degree than unnitrated alpha-synuclein. Moreover, we show that administration of nitrated alpha-synuclein to the substantia nigra pars compacta of rats caused severe reductions in the number of DA neurons therein, and led to the down-regulation of D(2)R in the striatum in vivo. Furthermore, when administered to the substantia nigra of rats, nitrated alpha-synuclein caused PD-like motor dysfunctions, such as reduced locomotion and motor asymmetry, however unmodified alpha-synuclein had significantly less severe behavioral effects. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Our results provide evidence that alpha-synuclein, principally in its nitrated form, induce DA neuron death and may be a major factor in the etiology of PD.
Project description:Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease are associated with the cerebral accumulation of beta-amyloid and alpha-synuclein, respectively. Some patients have clinical and pathological features of both diseases, raising the possibility of overlapping pathogenetic pathways. We generated transgenic (tg) mice with neuronal expression of human beta-amyloid peptides, alpha-synuclein, or both. The functional and morphological alterations in doubly tg mice resembled the Lewy-body variant of Alzheimer's disease. These mice had severe deficits in learning and memory, developed motor deficits before alpha-synuclein singly tg mice, and showed prominent age-dependent degeneration of cholinergic neurons and presynaptic terminals. They also had more alpha-synuclein-immunoreactive neuronal inclusions than alpha-synuclein singly tg mice. Ultrastructurally, some of these inclusions were fibrillar in doubly tg mice, whereas all inclusions were amorphous in alpha-synuclein singly tg mice. beta-Amyloid peptides promoted aggregation of alpha-synuclein in a cell-free system and intraneuronal accumulation of alpha-synuclein in cell culture. beta-Amyloid peptides may contribute to the development of Lewy-body diseases by promoting the aggregation of alpha-synuclein and exacerbating alpha-synuclein-dependent neuronal pathologies. Therefore, treatments that block the production or accumulation of beta-amyloid peptides could benefit a broader spectrum of disorders than previously anticipated.