Prion protein regulates iron transport by functioning as a ferrireductase.
ABSTRACT: Prion protein (PrPC) is implicated in the pathogenesis of prion disorders, but its normal function is unclear. We demonstrate that PrPC is a ferrireductase (FR), and its absence causes systemic iron deficiency in PrP knock-out mice (PrP-/-). When exposed to non-transferrin-bound (NTB) radioactive-iron (59FeCl3) by gastric-gavage, PrP-/- mice absorb significantly more 59Fe from the intestinal lumen relative to controls, indicating appropriate systemic response to the iron deficiency. Chronic exposure to excess dietary iron corrects this deficiency, but unlike wild-type (PrP+/+) controls that remain iron over-loaded, PrP-/- mice revert back to the iron deficient phenotype after 5 months of chase on normal diet. Bone marrow (BM) preparations of PrP-/- mice on normal diet show relatively less stainable iron, and this phenotype is only partially corrected by intraperitoneal administration of excess iron-dextran. Cultured PrP-/- BM-macrophages incorporate significantly less NTB-59Fe in the absence or presence of excess extracellular iron, indicating reduced uptake and/or storage of available iron in the absence of PrPC. When expressed in neuroblastoma cells, PrPC exhibits NAD(P)H-dependent cell-surface and intracellular FR activity that requires the copper-binding octa-peptide-repeat region and linkage to the plasma membrane for optimal function. Incorporation of NTB-59Fe by neuroblastoma cells correlates with FR activity of PrPC, implicating PrPC in cellular iron uptake and metabolism. These observations explain the correlation between PrPC expression and cellular iron levels, and the cause of iron imbalance in sporadic-Creutzfeldt-Jakob-disease brains where PrPC accumulates as insoluble aggregates.
Project description:Excess circulating iron is stored in the liver, and requires reduction of non-Tf-bound iron (NTBI) and transferrin (Tf) iron at the plasma membrane and endosomes, respectively, by ferrireductase (FR) proteins for transport across biological membranes through divalent metal transporters. Here, we report that prion protein (PrP(C)), a ubiquitously expressed glycoprotein most abundant on neuronal cells, functions as a FR partner for divalent-metal transporter-1 (DMT1) and ZIP14. Thus, absence of PrP(C) in PrP-knock-out (PrP(-/-)) mice resulted in markedly reduced liver iron stores, a deficiency that was not corrected by chronic or acute administration of iron by the oral or intraperitoneal routes. Likewise, preferential radiolabeling of circulating NTBI with (59)Fe revealed significantly reduced uptake and storage of NTBI by the liver of PrP(-/-) mice relative to matched PrP(+/+) controls. However, uptake, storage, and utilization of ferritin-bound iron that does not require reduction for uptake were increased in PrP(-/-) mice, indicating a compensatory response to the iron deficiency. Expression of exogenous PrP(C) in HepG2 cells increased uptake and storage of ferric iron (Fe(3+)), not ferrous iron (Fe(2+)), from the medium, supporting the function of PrP(C) as a plasma membrane FR. Coexpression of PrP(C) with ZIP14 and DMT1 in HepG2 cells increased uptake of Fe(3+) significantly, and surprisingly, increased the ratio of N-terminally truncated PrP(C) forms lacking the FR domain relative to full-length PrP(C). Together, these observations indicate that PrP(C) promotes, and possibly regulates, the uptake of NTBI through DMT1 and Zip14 via its FR activity. Implications of these observations for neuronal iron homeostasis under physiological and pathological conditions are discussed.
Project description:The prion protein (PrPC), a mainly neuronal protein, is known to modulate glucose homeostasis in mouse models. We explored the underlying mechanism in mouse models and the human pancreatic ?-cell line 1.1B4. We report expression of PrPC on mouse pancreatic ?-cells, where it promoted uptake of iron through divalent-metal-transporters. Accordingly, pancreatic iron stores in PrP knockout mice (PrP-/-) were significantly lower than wild type (PrP+/+) controls. Silencing of PrPC in 1.1B4 cells resulted in significant depletion of intracellular (IC) iron, and remarkably, upregulation of glucose transporter GLUT2 and insulin. Iron overloading, on the other hand, resulted in downregulation of GLUT2 and insulin in a PrPC-dependent manner. Similar observations were noted in the brain, liver, and neuroretina of iron overloaded PrP+/+ but not PrP-/- mice, indicating PrPC-mediated modulation of insulin and glucose homeostasis through iron. Peripheral challenge with glucose and insulin revealed blunting of the response in iron-overloaded PrP+/+ relative to PrP-/- mice, suggesting that PrPC-mediated modulation of IC iron influences both secretion and sensitivity of peripheral organs to insulin. These observations have implications for Alzheimer's disease and diabetic retinopathy, known complications of type-2-diabetes associated with brain and ocular iron-dyshomeostasis.
Project description:Prion disease-associated retinal degeneration is attributed to PrP-scrapie (PrPSc), a misfolded isoform of prion protein (PrPC) that accumulates in the neuroretina. However, a lack of temporal and spatial correlation between PrPSc and cytotoxicity suggests the contribution of host factors. We report retinal iron dyshomeostasis as one such factor. PrPC is expressed on the basolateral membrane of retinal-pigment-epithelial (RPE) cells, where it mediates uptake of iron by the neuroretina. Accordingly, the neuroretina of PrP-knock-out mice is iron-deficient. In RPE19 cells, silencing of PrPC decreases ferritin while over-expression upregulates ferritin and divalent-metal-transporter-1 (DMT-1), indicating PrPC-mediated iron uptake through DMT-1. Polarization of RPE19 cells results in upregulation of ferritin by ~10-fold and ?-cleavage of PrPC, the latter likely to block further uptake of iron due to cleavage of the ferrireductase domain. A similar ?-cleavage of PrPC is observed in mouse retinal lysates. Scrapie infection causes PrPSc accumulation and microglial activation, and surprisingly, upregulation of transferrin despite increased levels of ferritin. Notably, detergent-insoluble ferritin accumulates in RPE cells and correlates temporally with microglial activation, not PrPSc accumulation, suggesting that impaired uptake of iron by PrPSc combined with inflammation results in retinal iron-dyshomeostasis, a potentially toxic host response contributing to prion disease-associated pathology.
Project description:Iron is an essential biometal in the aqueous humor, the principal source of nutrients for the avascular cornea and the lens. Here, we explored whether the ciliary body (CB), the source of aqueous humor, transports iron, and if the prion protein (PrPC) facilitates this process as in the outer retina. Using a combination of human, bovine, and mouse eyes as models, we report the expression of iron export proteins ferroportin and ceruloplasmin, and major iron uptake and storage proteins transferrin, transferrin receptor, and ferritin in the ciliary epithelium, indicating active exchange of iron at this site. Ferroportin and transferrin receptor are also expressed in the corneal endothelium. However, the relative expression of iron export and uptake proteins suggests export from the ciliary epithelium and import by corneal endothelium. In addition, abundant expression of PrPC, a ferrireductase that facilitates iron transport, is noted in pigmented and non-pigmented epithelium of the CB, posterior pigmented epithelium of the iris, corneal endothelium and epithelium, and lens epithelium. Notably, majority of PrPC in the ciliary epithelium is cleaved at the ?-site as in retinal pigment epithelial cells, suggesting a role in iron transport. Most of the PrPC in the cornea, however, is full-length, and susceptible to aggregation by intracerebrally inoculated PrP-scrapie, an infectious conformation of PrPC responsible for human and animal prion disorders. Soluble PrPC is present in the aqueous and vitreous humor, a provocative observation with significant implications. Together, these observations suggest independent cycling of iron in the anterior segment, and a prominent role of PrPC in this process. Aggregation of PrPC in the cornea of PrP-scrapie-infected animals raises the alarming possibility of transmission of animal prions through corneal abrasions.
Project description:Protein phase separation by low-complexity, intrinsically disordered domains generates membraneless organelles and links to neurodegeneration. Cellular prion protein (PrPC) contains such domains, causes spongiform degeneration, and is a receptor for Alzheimer's amyloid-? oligomers (A?o). Here, we show that PrPC separates as a liquid phase, in which ?-helical Thr become unfolded. At the cell surface, PrPC Lys residues interact with A?o to create a hydrogel containing immobile A?o and relatively mobile PrPC. The A?o/PrP hydrogel has a well-defined stoichiometry and dissociates with excess A?o. NMR studies of hydrogel PrPC reveal a distinct ?-helical conformation for natively unfolded amino-terminal Gly and Ala residues. A?o/PrP hydrogel traps signal-transducing mGluR5 on the plasma membrane. Recombinant PrPC extracts endogenous A?o from human Alzheimer's soluble brain lysates into hydrogel, and a PrPC antagonist releases A?o from endogenous brain hydrogel. Thus, coupled phase and conformational transitions of PrPC are driven by A? species from Alzheimer's disease.
Project description:Prion diseases are infectious and fatal neurodegenerative diseases which require the cellular prion protein, PrPC, for development of diseases. The current study shows that the PrPC augments infectivity and plaque formation of a mouse endogenous retrovirus, MuLV. We have established four neuronal cell lines expressing mouse PrPC, PrP+/+; two express wild type PrPC (MoPrPwild) and the other two express mutant PrPC (MoPrPmut). Infection of neuronal cells from various PrP+/+ and PrP-/- (MoPrPKO) lines with MuLV yielded at least three times as many plaques in PrP+/+ than in PrP-/-. Furthermore, among the four PrP+/+ lines, one mutant line, P101L, had at least 2.5 times as many plaques as the other three PrP+/+ lines. Plaques in P101L were four times larger than those in other PrP+/+ lines. Colocalization of PrP and CAgag was seen in MuLV-infected PrP+/+ cells. In the PrP-MuLV interaction, the involvement of galectin-3 and -6 was observed by immunoprecipitation with antibody to PrPC. These results suggest that PrPC combined with galectin-3 and -6 can act as a receptor for MuLV. P101L, the disease form of mutant PrPC results suggest the genetic mutant form of PrPC may be more susceptible to viral infection.
Project description:Prion disease is caused by a single pathogenic protein (PrPSc), an abnormal conformer of the normal cellular prion protein PrPC. Depletion of PrPC in prion knockout mice makes them resistant to prion disease. Thus, gene silencing of the Prnp gene is a promising effective therapeutic approach. Here, we examined adeno-associated virus vector type 2 encoding a short hairpin RNA targeting Prnp mRNA (AAV2-PrP-shRNA) to suppress PrPC expression both in vitro and in vivo. AAV2-PrP-shRNA treatment suppressed PrP levels and prevented dendritic degeneration in RML-infected brain aggregate cultures. Infusion of AAV2-PrP-shRNA-eGFP into the thalamus of CD-1 mice showed that eGFP was transported to the cerebral cortex via anterograde transport and the overall PrPC levels were reduced by ? 70% within 4 weeks. For therapeutic purposes, we treated RML-infected CD-1 mice with AAV2-PrP-shRNA beginning at 50 days post inoculation. Although AAV2-PrP-shRNA focally suppressed PrPSc formation in the thalamic infusion site by ? 75%, it did not suppress PrPSc formation efficiently in other regions of the brain. Survival of mice was not extended compared to the untreated controls. Global suppression of PrPC in the brain is required for successful therapy of prion diseases.
Project description:The current paradigm in the field of mammalian iron biology states that body iron levels are determined by dietary iron absorption, not by iron excretion. Iron absorption is a highly regulated process influenced by iron levels and other factors. Iron excretion is believed to occur at a basal rate irrespective of iron levels and is associated with processes such as turnover of intestinal epithelium, blood loss, and exfoliation of dead skin. Here we explore iron excretion in a mouse model of iron excess due to inherited transferrin deficiency. Iron excess in this model is attributed to impaired regulation of iron absorption leading to excessive dietary iron uptake. Pharmacological correction of transferrin deficiency not only normalized iron absorption rates and halted progression of iron excess but also reversed body iron excess. Transferrin treatment did not alter the half-life of 59Fe in mutant mice. 59Fe-based studies indicated that most iron was excreted via the gastrointestinal tract and suggested that iron-loaded mutant mice had increased rates of iron excretion. Direct measurement of urinary iron levels agreed with 59Fe-based predictions that urinary iron levels were increased in untreated mutant mice. Fecal ferritin levels were also increased in mutant mice relative to wild-type mice. Overall, these data suggest that mice have a significant capacity for iron excretion. We propose that further investigation into iron excretion is warranted in this and other models of perturbed iron homeostasis, as pharmacological targeting of iron excretion may represent a novel means of treatment for diseases of iron excess.
Project description:Prion diseases are transmissible neurodegenerative disorders of prion protein (PrP) conformation. Prion replication by conversion of benign PrPC isoforms into disease-specific PrPSc isoforms is intimately involved in prion disease pathogenesis and may be initiated in cholesterol-rich caveolae-like domains (CLD). Concentrations of the cholesterol transporter ATP-binding cassette A1 protein (ABCA1) are elevated in pre-clinical scrapie prion-infected mice and in prion-infected cells in vitro. Elevation of ABCA1 in prion-infected brain is not a direct consequence of local PrPSc accumulation, indeed levels of ABCA1 are comparable in brain regions that differ dramatically in the amount of PrPSc. Similarly, ABCA1 concentrations are identical in normal mice, transgenic mice overexpressing PrP and PrP knockout mice. In contrast, PrPC and PrPSc levels, but not Prnp mRNA, were increased by overexpression of ABCA1 in N2a neuroblastoma cells and scrapie prion-infected N2a cells (ScN2a). Conversely, RNAi-mediated knock down of Abca1 expression decreased the concentrations of PrPC in N2a cells and of PrPSc in ScN2a cells. These results suggest that ABCA1's effects on PrPC levels are post-translational and may reflect an increase in of PrPC stability, mediated either indirectly by increasing membrane cholesterol and CLD formation or by other functions of ABCA1. The increased supply of PrPC available for conversion would lead to increased PrPSc formation.
Project description:Neurotoxicity in all prion disorders is believed to result from the accumulation of PrP-scrapie (PrP(Sc)), a beta-sheet rich isoform of a normal cell-surface glycoprotein, the prion protein (PrP(C)). Limited reports suggest imbalance of brain iron homeostasis as a significant associated cause of neurotoxicity in prion-infected cell and mouse models. However, systematic studies on the generality of this phenomenon and the underlying mechanism(s) leading to iron dyshomeostasis in diseased brains are lacking. In this report, we demonstrate that prion disease-affected human, hamster, and mouse brains show increased total and redox-active Fe (II) iron, and a paradoxical increase in major iron uptake proteins transferrin (Tf) and transferrin receptor (TfR) at the end stage of disease. Furthermore, examination of scrapie-inoculated hamster brains at different timepoints following infection shows increased levels of Tf with time, suggesting increasing iron deficiency with disease progression. Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD)-affected human brains show a similar increase in total iron and a direct correlation between PrP and Tf levels, implicating PrP(Sc) as the underlying cause of iron deficiency. Increased binding of Tf to the cerebellar Purkinje cell neurons of sCJD brains further indicates upregulation of TfR and a phenotype of neuronal iron deficiency in diseased brains despite increased iron levels. The likely cause of this phenotype is sequestration of iron in brain ferritin that becomes detergent-insoluble in PrP(Sc)-infected cell lines and sCJD brain homogenates. These results suggest that sequestration of iron in PrP(Sc)-ferritin complexes induces a state of iron bio-insufficiency in prion disease-affected brains, resulting in increased uptake and a state of iron dyshomeostasis. An additional unexpected observation is the resistance of Tf to digestion by proteinase-K, providing a reliable marker for iron levels in postmortem human brains. These data implicate redox-iron in prion disease-associated neurotoxicity, a novel observation with significant implications for prion disease pathogenesis.