Prions amplify through degradation of the VPS10P sorting receptor sortilin.
ABSTRACT: Prion diseases are a group of fatal neurodegenerative disorders caused by prions, which consist mainly of the abnormally folded isoform of prion protein, PrPSc. A pivotal pathogenic event in prion disease is progressive accumulation of prions, or PrPSc, in brains through constitutive conformational conversion of the cellular prion protein, PrPC, into PrPSc. However, the cellular mechanism by which PrPSc is progressively accumulated in prion-infected neurons remains unknown. Here, we show that PrPSc is progressively accumulated in prion-infected cells through degradation of the VPS10P sorting receptor sortilin. We first show that sortilin interacts with PrPC and PrPSc and sorts them to lysosomes for degradation. Consistently, sortilin-knockdown increased PrPSc accumulation in prion-infected cells. In contrast, overexpression of sortilin reduced PrPSc accumulation in prion-infected cells. These results indicate that sortilin negatively regulates PrPSc accumulation in prion-infected cells. The negative role of sortilin in PrPSc accumulation was further confirmed in sortilin-knockout mice infected with prions. The infected mice had accelerated prion disease with early accumulation of PrPSc in their brains. Interestingly, sortilin was reduced in prion-infected cells and mouse brains. Treatment of prion-infected cells with lysosomal inhibitors, but not proteasomal inhibitors, increased the levels of sortilin. Moreover, sortilin was reduced following PrPSc becoming detectable in cells after infection with prions. These results indicate that PrPSc accumulation stimulates sortilin degradation in lysosomes. Taken together, these results show that PrPSc accumulation of itself could impair the sortilin-mediated sorting of PrPC and PrPSc to lysosomes for degradation by stimulating lysosomal degradation of sortilin, eventually leading to progressive accumulation of PrPSc in prion-infected cells.
Project description:PrPSc is an infectious and disease-specific conformer of the prion protein, which accumulation in the CNS underlies the pathology of prion diseases. PrPSc replicates by binding to the cellular conformer of the prion protein (PrPC) expressed by host cells and rendering its secondary structure a likeness of itself. PrPC is a plasma membrane anchored protein, which constitutively recirculates between the cell surface and the endocytic compartment. Since PrPSc engages PrPC along this trafficking pathway, its replication process is often referred to as "recycling propagation." Certain monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against prion protein can abrogate the presence of PrPSc from prion-infected cells. However, the precise mechanism(s) underlying their therapeutic propensities remains obscure. Using N2A murine neuroblastoma cell line stably infected with 22L mouse-adapted scrapie strain (N2A/22L), we investigated here the modus operandi of the 6D11 clone, which was raised against the PrPSc conformer and has been shown to permanently clear prion-infected cells from PrPSc presence. We determined that 6D11 mAb engages and sequesters PrPC and PrPSc at the cell surface. PrPC/6D11 and PrPSc/6D11 complexes are then endocytosed from the plasma membrane and are directed to lysosomes, therefore precluding recirculation of nascent PrPSc back to the cell surface. Targeting PrPSc by 6D11 mAb to the lysosomal compartment facilitates its proteolysis and eventually shifts the balance between PrPSc formation and degradation. Ongoing translation of PrPC allows maintaining the steady-state level of prion protein within the cells, which was not depleted under 6D11 mAb treatment. Our findings demonstrate that through disrupting recycling propagation of PrPSc and promoting its degradation, 6D11 mAb restores cellular proteostasis of prion protein.
Project description:Resistance to proteolytic digestion has long been considered a defining trait of prions in tissues of organisms suffering from transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Detection of proteinase K-resistant prion protein (PrPSc) still represents the diagnostic gold standard for prion diseases in humans, sheep and cattle. However, it has become increasingly apparent that the accumulation of PrPSc does not always accompany prion infections: high titers of prion infectivity can be reached also in the absence of protease resistant PrPSc. Here, we describe a structural basis for the phenomenon of protease-sensitive prion infectivity. We studied the effect on proteinase K (PK) resistance of the amino acid substitution Y169F, which removes a single oxygen atom from the ?2-?2 loop of the cellular prion protein (PrPC). When infected with RML or the 263K strain of prions, transgenic mice lacking wild-type (wt) PrPC but expressing MoPrP169F generated prion infectivity at levels comparable to wt mice. The newly generated MoPrP169F prions were biologically indistinguishable from those recovered from prion-infected wt mice, and elicited similar pathologies in vivo. Surprisingly, MoPrP169F prions showed greatly reduced PK resistance and density gradient analyses showed a significant reduction in high-density aggregates. Passage of MoPrP169F prions into mice expressing wt MoPrP led to full recovery of protease resistance, indicating that no strain shift had taken place. We conclude that a subtle structural variation in the ?2-?2 loop of PrPC affects the sensitivity of PrPSc to protease but does not impact prion replication and infectivity. With these findings a specific structural feature of PrPC can be linked to a physicochemical property of the corresponding PrPSc.
Project description:Prion diseases are rare, neurological disorders caused by the misfolding of the cellular prion protein (PrPC) into cytotoxic fibrils (PrPSc). Intracellular PrPSc aggregates primarily accumulate within late endosomes and lysosomes, organelles that participate in the degradation and turnover of a large subset of the proteome. Thus, intracellular accumulation of PrPSc aggregates has the potential to globally influence protein degradation kinetics within an infected cell. We analyzed the proteome-wide effect of prion infection on protein degradation rates in N2a neuroblastoma cells by dynamic stable isotopic labeling with amino acids in cell culture (dSILAC) and bottom-up proteomics. The analysis quantified the degradation rates of more than 4,700 proteins in prion infected and uninfected cells. As expected, the degradation rate of the prion protein is significantly decreased upon aggregation in infected cells. In contrast, the degradation kinetics of the remainder of the N2a proteome generally increases upon prion infection. This effect occurs concurrently with increases in the cellular activities of autophagy and some lysosomal hydrolases. The resulting enhancement in proteome flux may play a role in the survival of N2a cells upon prion infection.
Project description:Biological effect of poly-L-arginine (PLR), the linear homopolymer comprised of L-arginine, was investigated to determine the activity of suppressing prions. PLR decreased the level of scrapie prion protein (PrPSc) in cultured cells permanently infected with prions in a concentration-dependent manner. The PrPSc inhibition efficacy of PLR was greater than that of another prion-suppressant poly-L-lysine (PLK) in a molecular mass-dependent fashion. The effective concentration of PLR to inhibit prions was achieved safely below the cytotoxic concentrations, and overall cytotoxicity of PLR was similar to that of PLK. PLR did not alter the cellular prion protein (PrPC) level and was unable to change the states of preformed recombinant PrP aggregates and PrPSc from prion-infected cells. These data eliminate the possibility that the action mechanism of PLR is through removal of PrPC and pre-existing PrPSc. However, PLR formed complexes with plasminogen that stimulates prion propagation via conversion of PrPC to the misfolded isoform, PrPSc. The plasminogen-PLR complex demonstrated the greater positive surface charge values than the similar complex with PLK, raising the possibility that PLR interferes with the role of cofactor for PrPSc generation better than PLK.
Project description:Prions induce a fatal neurodegenerative disease in infected host brain based on the refolding and aggregation of the host-encoded prion protein PrPC into PrPSc. Structurally distinct PrPSc conformers can give rise to multiple prion strains. Constrained interactions between PrPC and different PrPSc strains can in turn lead to certain PrPSc (sub)populations being selected for cross-species transmission, or even produce mutation-like events. By contrast, prion strains are generally conserved when transmitted within the same species, or to transgenic mice expressing homologous PrPC. Here, we compare the strain properties of a representative sheep scrapie isolate transmitted to a panel of transgenic mouse lines expressing varying levels of homologous PrPC. While breeding true in mice expressing PrPC at near physiological levels, scrapie prions evolve consistently towards different strain components in mice beyond a certain threshold of PrPC overexpression. Our results support the view that PrPC gene dosage can influence prion evolution on homotypic transmission.
Project description:Prion diseases are infectious neurodegenerative disorders linked to the accumulation in the central nervous system of the abnormally folded prion protein (PrP) scrapie (PrPsc), which is thought to be the infectious agent. Once present, PrPsc catalyzes the conversion of naturally occurring cellular PrP (PrPc) to PrPsc. Prion infection is usually initiated in peripheral organs, but the mechanisms involved in infectious spread to the brain are unclear. We found that both PrPc and PrPsc were actively released into the extracellular environment by PrP-expressing cells before and after infection with sheep prions, respectively. Based on Western blot with specific markers, MS, and morphological analysis, our data revealed that PrPc and PrPsc in the medium are associated with exosomes, membranous vesicles that are secreted upon fusion of multivesicular endosomes with the plasma membrane. Furthermore, we found that exosomes bearing PrPsc are infectious. Our data suggest that exosomes may contribute to intercellular membrane exchange and the spread of prions throughout the organism.
Project description:In prion diseases, synapse dysfunction, axon retraction and loss of neuronal polarity precede neuronal death. The mechanisms driving such polarization defects, however, remain unclear. Here, we examined the contribution of RhoA-associated coiled-coil containing kinases (ROCK), key players in neuritogenesis, to prion diseases. We found that overactivation of ROCK signaling occurred in neuronal stem cells infected by pathogenic prions (PrPSc) and impaired the sprouting of neurites. In reconstructed networks of mature neurons, PrPSc-induced ROCK overactivation provoked synapse disconnection and dendrite/axon degeneration. This overactivation of ROCK also disturbed overall neurotransmitter-associated functions. Importantly, we demonstrated that beyond its impact on neuronal polarity ROCK overactivity favored the production of PrPSc through a ROCK-dependent control of 3-phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) activity. In non-infectious conditions, ROCK and PDK1 associated within a complex and ROCK phosphorylated PDK1, conferring basal activity to PDK1. In prion-infected neurons, exacerbated ROCK activity increased the pool of PDK1 molecules physically interacting with and phosphorylated by ROCK. ROCK-induced PDK1 overstimulation then canceled the neuroprotective ?-cleavage of normal cellular prion protein PrPC by TACE ?-secretase, which physiologically precludes PrPSc production. In prion-infected cells, inhibition of ROCK rescued neurite sprouting, preserved neuronal architecture, restored neuronal functions and reduced the amount of PrPSc. In mice challenged with prions, inhibition of ROCK also lowered brain PrPSc accumulation, reduced motor impairment and extended survival. We conclude that ROCK overactivation exerts a double detrimental effect in prion diseases by altering neuronal polarity and triggering PrPSc accumulation. Eventually ROCK emerges as therapeutic target to combat prion diseases.
Project description:Prion diseases are caused by the misfolding of a host-encoded glycoprotein, PrPC, into a pathogenic conformer, PrPSc. Infectious prions can exist as different strains, composed of unique conformations of PrPSc that generate strain-specific biological traits, including distinctive patterns of PrPSc accumulation throughout the brain. Prion strains from different animal species display different cofactor and PrPC glycoform preferences to propagate efficiently in vitro, but it is unknown whether these molecular preferences are specified by the amino acid sequence of PrPC substrate or by the conformation of PrPSc seed. To distinguish between these two possibilities, we used bank vole PrPC to propagate both hamster or mouse prions (which have distinct cofactor and glycosylation preferences) with a single, common substrate. We performed reconstituted sPMCA reactions using either (1) phospholipid or RNA cofactor molecules, or (2) di- or un-glycosylated bank vole PrPC substrate. We found that prion strains from either species are capable of propagating efficiently using bank vole PrPC substrates when reactions contained the same PrPC glycoform or cofactor molecule preferred by the PrPSc seed in its host species. Thus, we conclude that it is the conformation of the input PrPSc seed, not the amino acid sequence of the PrPC substrate, that primarily determines species-specific cofactor and glycosylation preferences. These results support the hypothesis that strain-specific patterns of prion neurotropism are generated by selection of differentially distributed cofactors molecules and/or PrPC glycoforms during prion replication.
Project description:Prion diseases are fatal transmissible diseases, where conversion of the endogenous prion protein (PrPC ) into a misfolded isoform (PrPSc ) leads to neurodegeneration. Microglia, the immune cells of the brain, are activated in neurodegenerative disorders including prion diseases; however, their impact on prion disease pathophysiology is unclear with both beneficial PrPSc -clearing and detrimental potentially neurotoxic effects. Moreover, monocytes entering the brain from the periphery during disease course might add to disease pathophysiology. Here, the degree of microglia activation in the brain of prion infected mice with and without an additional intraperitoneal retrovirus infection was studied. Peripheral murine retrovirus infection leads to activation of parenchymal microglia without recruitment of monocytes. This activation correlated with transient clearance or delay in accumulation of infectious prions specifically from the brain at early time points in the diseases course. Microglia expression profiling showed upregulation of genes involved in protein degradation coinciding with prion clearance. This enforces a concept where microglia act beneficial in prion disease if adequately activated. Once microglia activation has ceased, prion disease reemerges leading to disease kinetics undistinguishable from the situation in prion-only infected mice. This might be caused by the loss of microglial homeostatic function at clinical prion disease.
Project description:Prions are protein-based infectious agents that autocatalytically convert the cellular prion protein PrPC to its pathological isoform PrPSc Subsequent aggregation and accumulation of PrPSc in nervous tissues causes several invariably fatal neurodegenerative diseases in humans and animals. Prions can infect recipient cells when packaged into endosome-derived nanoparticles called exosomes, which are present in biological fluids such as blood, urine, and saliva. Autophagy is a basic cellular degradation and recycling machinery that also affects exosomal processing, but whether autophagy controls release of prions in exosomes is unclear. Our work investigated the effect of autophagy modulation on exosomal release of prions and how this interplay affects cellular prion infection. Exosomes isolated from cultured murine central neuronal cells (CAD5) and peripheral neuronal cells (N2a) contained prions as shown by immunoblotting for PrPSc, prion-conversion activity, and cell culture infection. We observed that autophagy stimulation with the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin strongly inhibited exosomal prion release. In contrast, inhibition of autophagy by wortmannin or CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of the autophagy protein Atg5 (autophagy-related 5) greatly increased the release of exosomes and exosome-associated prions. We also show that a difference in exosomal prion release between CAD5 and N2a cells is related to differences at the level of basal autophagy. Taken together, our results indicate that autophagy modulation can control lateral transfer of prions by interfering with their exosomal release. We describe a novel role of autophagy in the prion life cycle, an understanding that may provide useful targets for containing prion diseases.