Immunochemical characterization on pathological oligomers of mutant Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
ABSTRACT: Dominant mutations in Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene cause a familial form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (SOD1-ALS) with accumulation of misfolded SOD1 proteins as intracellular inclusions in spinal motor neurons. Oligomerization of SOD1 via abnormal disulfide crosslinks has been proposed as one of the misfolding pathways occurring in mutant SOD1; however, the pathological relevance of such oligomerization in the SOD1-ALS cases still remains obscure.We prepared antibodies exclusively recognizing the SOD1 oligomers cross-linked via disulfide bonds in vitro. By using those antibodies, immunohistochemical examination and ELISA were mainly performed on the tissue samples of transgenic mice expressing mutant SOD1 proteins and also of human SOD1-ALS cases.We showed the recognition specificity of our antibodies exclusively toward the disulfide-crosslinked SOD1 oligomers by ELISA using various forms of purified SOD1 proteins in conformationally distinct states in vitro. Furthermore, the epitope of those antibodies was buried and inaccessible in the natively folded structure of SOD1. The antibodies were then found to specifically detect the pathological SOD1 species in the spinal motor neurons of the SOD1-ALS patients as well as the transgenic model mice.Our findings here suggest that the SOD1 oligomerization through the disulfide-crosslinking associates with exposure of the SOD1 structural interior and is a pathological process occurring in the SOD1-ALS cases.
Project description:Misfolding of mutant Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is a pathological hallmark in a familial form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Pathogenic mutations have been proposed to monomerize SOD1 normally adopting a homodimeric configuration and then trigger abnormal oligomerization of SOD1 proteins. Despite this, a misfolded conformation of SOD1 leading to the oligomerization at physiological conditions still remains ambiguous. Here, we show that, around the body temperature (?37°C), mutant SOD1 maintains a dimeric configuration but lacks most of its secondary structures. Also, such an abnormal SOD1 dimer with significant structural disorder was prone to irreversibly forming the oligomers crosslinked via disulfide bonds. The disulfide-crosslinked oligomers of SOD1 were detected in the spinal cords of the diseased mice expressing mutant SOD1. We hence propose an alternative pathway of mutant SOD1 misfolding that is responsible for oligomerization in the pathologies of the disease.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder selectively affecting motor neurons; 90% of the total cases are sporadic, but 2% are associated with mutations in the gene coding for the antioxidant enzyme copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1). The causes of motor neuron death in ALS are poorly understood in general, but for SOD1-linked familial ALS, aberrant oligomerization of SOD1 mutant proteins has been strongly implicated. In this work, we show that wild-type human SOD1, when lacking both its metal ions, forms large, stable, soluble protein oligomers with an average molecular mass of approximately 650 kDa under physiological conditions, i.e., 37 degrees C, pH 7.0, and 100 microM protein concentration. It further is shown here that intermolecular disulfide bonds are formed during oligomerization and that Cys-6 and Cys-111 are implicated in this bonding. The formation of the soluble oligomers was monitored by their ability to enhance the fluorescence of thioflavin T, a benzothiazole dye that increases in fluorescence intensity upon binding to amyloid fibers, and by disruption of this binding upon addition of the chaotropic agent guanidine hydrochloride. Our results suggest a general, unifying picture of SOD1 aggregation that could operate when wild-type or mutant SOD1 proteins lack their metal ions. Although we cannot exclude other mechanisms in SOD1-linked familial ALS, the one proposed here has the strength of explaining how a large and diverse set of SOD1 mutant proteins all could lead to disease through the same mechanism.
Project description: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:Parkinson's disease (PD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are both neurodegenerative diseases leading to impaired execution of movement. ?-Synuclein plays a central role in the pathogenesis of PD whereas Cu, Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is a key player in a subset of familial ALS cases. Under pathological conditions both ?-synuclein and SOD1 form oligomers and fibrils. In this study we investigated the possible molecular interaction of ?-synuclein and SOD1 and its functional and pathological relevance.Using a protein-fragment complementation approach and co-IP, we found that ?-synuclein and SOD1 physically interact in living cells, human erythrocytes and mouse brain tissue. Additionally, our data show that disease related mutations in ?-synuclein (A30P, A53T) and SOD1 (G85R, G93A) modify the binding of ?-synuclein to SOD1. Notably, ?-synuclein accelerates SOD1 oligomerization independent of SOD1 activity.This study provides evidence for a novel interaction of ?-synuclein and SOD1 that might be relevant for neurodegenerative diseases.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) involves the abnormal posttranslational modifications and fibrillization of copper, zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) and TDP-43. However, how SOD1-catalyzed reaction product hydrogen peroxide affects amyloid formation of SOD1 and TDP-43 remains elusory. 90% of ALS cases are sporadic and the remaining cases are familial ALS. In this paper, we demonstrate that H2O2 at pathological concentrations triggers the fibrillization of wild-type SOD1 both in vitro and in SH-SY5Y cells. Using an anti-dimedone antibody that detects sulfenic acid modification of proteins, we found that Cys-111 in wild-type SOD1 is oxidized to C-SOH by pathological concentration of H2O2, followed by the formation of sulfenic acid modified SOD1 oligomers. Furthermore, we show that such SOD1 oligomers propagate in a prion-like manner, and not only drive wild-type SOD1 to form fibrils in the cytoplasm but also induce cytoplasm mislocalization and the subsequent fibrillization of wild-type TDP-43, thereby inducing apoptosis of living cells. Thus, we propose that H2O2 at pathological concentrations triggers the fibrillization of wild-type SOD1 and subsequently induces SOD1 toxicity and TDP-43 toxicity in neuronal cells via sulfenic acid modification of Cys-111 in SOD1. Our Western blot and ELISA data demonstrate that sulfenic acid modified wild-type SOD1 level in cerebrospinal fluid of 15 sporadic ALS patients is significantly increased compared with 6 age-matched control patients. These findings can explain how H2O2 at pathologic concentrations regulates the misfolding and toxicity of SOD1 and TDP-43 associated with ALS, and suggest that sulfenic acid modification of wild-type SOD1 should play pivotal roles in the pathogenesis of sporadic ALS.
Project description:BACKGROUND:A subset of familial forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are caused by mutations in the gene coding Cu/Zn-superoxide dismutase (SOD1). Mutant SOD1 proteins are susceptible to misfolding and abnormally accumulated in spinal cord, which is most severely affected in ALS. It, however, remains quite controversial whether misfolding of wild-type SOD1 is involved in more prevalent sporadic ALS (sALS) cases without SOD1 mutations. METHODS:Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients including sALS as well as several other neurodegenerative diseases and non-neurodegenerative diseases was examined with an immunoprecipitation assay and a sandwich ELISA using antibodies specifically recognizing misfolded SOD1. RESULTS:We found that wild-type SOD1 was misfolded in CSF from all sALS cases examined in this study. The misfolded SOD1 was also detected in CSF from a subset of Parkinson's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy, albeit with smaller amounts than those in sALS. Furthermore, the CSF samples containing the misfolded SOD1 exhibited significant toxicity toward motor neuron-like NSC-34 cells, which was ameliorated by removal of the misfolded wild-type SOD1 with immunoprecipitation. CONCLUSIONS:Taken together, we propose that misfolding of wild-type SOD1 in CSF is a common pathological process of ALS cases regardless of SOD1 mutations.
Project description:Aggregation of mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) is a pathological hallmark of a subset of familial ALS patients. However, the possible role of misfolded wild type SOD1 in human ALS is highly debated. To ascertain whether or not misfolded SOD1 is a common pathological feature in non-SOD1 ALS, we performed a blinded histological and biochemical analysis of post mortem brain and spinal cord tissues from 19 sporadic ALS, compared with a SOD1 A4V patient as well as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and non-neurological controls. Multiple conformation- or misfolded-specific antibodies for human SOD1 were compared. These were generated independently by different research groups and were compared using standardized conditions. Five different misSOD1 staining patterns were found consistently in tissue sections from SALS cases and the SOD1 A4V patient, but were essentially absent in AD and non-neurological controls. We have established clear experimental protocols and provide specific guidelines for working, with conformational/misfolded SOD1-specific antibodies. Adherence to these guidelines will aid in the comparison of the results of future studies and better interpretation of staining patterns. This blinded, standardized and unbiased approach provides further support for a possible pathological role of misSOD1 in SALS.
Project description:There are about 100 single point mutations of copper, zinc superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) which are reported (http://alsod.iop.kcl.ac.uk/Als/index.aspx) to be related to the familial form (fALS) of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). These mutations are spread all over the protein. It is well documented that fALS produces protein aggregates in the motor neurons of fALS patients, which have been found to be associated to mitochondria. We selected eleven SOD1 mutants, most of them reported as pathological, and characterized them investigating their propensity to aggregation using different techniques, from circular dichroism spectra to ThT-binding fluorescence, size-exclusion chromatography and light scattering spectroscopy. We show here that these eleven SOD1 mutants, only when they are in the metal-free form, undergo the same general mechanism of oligomerization as found for the WT metal-free protein. The rates of oligomerization are different but eventually they give rise to the same type of soluble oligomeric species. These oligomers are formed through oxidation of the two free cysteines of SOD1 (6 and 111) and stabilized by hydrogen bonds, between beta strands, thus forming amyloid-like structures. SOD1 enters the mitochondria as demetallated and mitochondria are loci where oxidative stress may easily occur. The soluble oligomeric species, formed by the apo form of both WT SOD1 and its mutants through an oxidative process, might represent the precursor toxic species, whose existence would also suggest a common mechanism for ALS and fALS. The mechanism here proposed for SOD1 mutant oligomerization is absolutely general and it provides a common unique picture for the behaviors of the many SOD1 mutants, of different nature and distributed all over the protein.
Project description:Soluble misfolded Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) is implicated in motor neuron death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); however, the relative toxicities of the various non-native species formed by SOD1 as it misfolds and aggregates are unknown. Here, we demonstrate that early stages of SOD1 aggregation involve the formation of soluble oligomers that contain an epitope specific to disease-relevant misfolded SOD1; this epitope, recognized by the C4F6 antibody, has been proposed as a marker of toxic species. Formation of potentially toxic oligomers is likely to be exacerbated by an oxidizing cellular environment, as evidenced by increased oligomerization propensity and C4F6 reactivity when oxidative modification by glutathione is present at Cys-111. These findings suggest that soluble non-native SOD1 oligomers, rather than native-like dimers or monomers, share structural similarity to pathogenic misfolded species found in ALS patients and therefore represent potential cytotoxic agents and therapeutic targets in ALS.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease linked to the misfolding of Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1). ALS-related defects in SOD1 result in a gain of toxic function that coincides with aberrant oligomerization. The structural events triggering oligomerization have remained enigmatic, however, as is the case in other protein-misfolding diseases. Here, we target the critical conformational change that defines the earliest step toward aggregation. Using nuclear spin relaxation dispersion experiments, we identified a short-lived (0.4 ms) and weakly populated (0.7%) conformation of metal-depleted SOD1 that triggers aberrant oligomerization. This excited state emanates from the folded ground state and is suppressed by metal binding, but is present in both the disulfide-oxidized and disulfide-reduced forms of the protein. Our results pinpoint a perturbed region of the excited-state structure that forms intermolecular contacts in the earliest nonnative dimer/oligomer. The conformational transition that triggers oligomerization is a common feature of WT SOD1 and ALS-associated mutants that have widely different physicochemical properties. But compared with WT SOD1, the mutants have enhanced structural distortions in their excited states, and in some cases slightly higher excited-state populations and lower kinetic barriers, implying increased susceptibility to oligomerization. Our results provide a unified picture that highlights both (i) a common denominator among different SOD1 variants that may explain why diverse mutations cause the same disease, and (ii) a structural basis that may aid in understanding how different mutations affect disease propensity and progression.