Epigenetic Modifications of the ?-Synuclein Gene and Relative Protein Content Are Affected by Ageing and Physical Exercise in Blood from Healthy Subjects.
ABSTRACT: Epigenetic regulation may contribute to the beneficial effects of physical activity against age-related neurodegeneration. For example, epigenetic alterations of the gene encoding for ?-synuclein (SNCA) have been widely explored in both brain and peripheral tissues of Parkinson's disease samples. However, no data are currently available about the effects of physical exercise on SNCA epigenetic regulation in ageing healthy subjects. The present paper explored whether, in healthy individuals, age and physical activity are related to blood intron1-SNCA (SNCAI1 ) methylation, as well as further parameters linked to such epigenetic modification (total, oligomeric ?-synuclein and DNA methyltransferase concentrations in the blood). Here, the SNCAI1 methylation status increased with ageing, and consistent with this result, low ?-synuclein levels were found in the blood. The direct relationship between SNCAI1 methylation and ?-synuclein levels was observed in samples characterized by blood ?-synuclein concentrations of 76.3?ng/mg protein or lower (confidence interval (CI)?=?95%). In this selected population, higher physical activity reduced the total and oligomeric ?-synuclein levels. Taken together, our data shed light on ageing- and physical exercise-induced changes on the SNCA methylation status and protein levels of ?-synuclein.
Project description:DNA methylation is a major epigenetic modification that regulates gene expression. Dnmt1, the maintenance DNA methylation enzyme, is abundantly expressed in the adult brain and is mainly located in the nuclear compartment, where it has access to chromatin. Hypomethylation of CpG islands at intron 1 of the SNCA gene has recently been reported to result in overexpression of ?-synuclein in Parkinson disease (PD) and related disorders. We therefore investigated the mechanisms underlying altered DNA methylation in PD and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We present evidence of reduction of nuclear Dnmt1 levels in human postmortem brain samples from PD and DLB patients as well as in the brains of ?-synuclein transgenic mice models. Furthermore, sequestration of Dnmt1 in the cytoplasm results in global DNA hypomethylation in human and mouse brains, involving CpG islands upstream of SNCA, SEPW1, and PRKAR2A genes. We report that association of Dnmt1 and ?-synuclein might mediate aberrant subcellular localization of Dnmt1. Nuclear Dnmt1 levels were partially rescued by overexpression of Dnmt1 in neuronal cell cultures and in ?-synuclein transgenic mice brains. Our results underscore a novel mechanism for epigenetic dysregulation in Lewy body diseases, which might underlie the decrease in DNA methylation reported for PD and DLB.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Alpha-synuclein (SNCA) gene expression is an important factor in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). Gene multiplication can cause inherited PD, and promoter polymorphisms that increase SNCA expression are associated with sporadic PD. CpG methylation in the promoter region may also influence SNCA expression. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: By using cultured cells, we identified a region of the SNCA CpG island in which the methylation status altered along with increased SNCA expression. Postmortem brain analysis revealed regional non-specific methylation differences in this CpG region in the anterior cingulate and putamen among controls and PD; however, in the substantia nigra of PD, methylation was significantly decreased. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This CpG region may function as an intronic regulatory element for SNCA gene. Our findings suggest that a novel epigenetic regulatory mechanism controlling SNCA expression influences PD pathogenesis.
Project description:The present study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of salivary total and oligomeric ?-synuclein levels in PD. Furthermore, we sought to explore the relationship between salivary total ?-synuclein and ?-synuclein SNP variants levels. 201 PD patients and 67 controls were recruited, of which there also had the genetic information of two positive ?-synuclein (SNCA) loci. Salivary total ?-synuclein was assayed using a highly sensitive Luminex assay and oligomeric ?-synuclein was quantified by the combination of Gel filtration chromatography and Western blot, respectively. From our analysis,No difference in salivary total ?-synuclein levels was found between PD patients and healthy controls, it decreased with age in PD patients, and was closely associated with genotypic distribution of rs11931074 and rs894278 in PD, respectively. After controlled for age and genders, G allele of rs11931074 was correlated with lower salivary total ?-synuclein levels, while G allele of rs894278 was also correlated with the higher levels. Simultaneously, the further study was shown that salivary oligomeric ?-synuclein in PD patients significantly increased comparing to healthy controls. In conclusions,our study firstly demonstrated that salivary total ?-synuclein levels could be manipulated by different ?-synuclein SNPs and salivary oligomeric ?-synuclein could be a potential diagnostic indicator of PD.
Project description:The use of hiPSC-derived cells represents a valuable approach to study human neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we describe an optimized protocol for the differentiation of hiPSCs derived from a patient with the triplication of the alpha-synuclein gene (SNCA) locus into Parkinson's disease (PD)-relevant dopaminergic neuronal populations. Accumulating evidence has shown that high levels of SNCA are causative for the development of PD. Recognizing the unmet need to establish novel therapeutic approaches for PD, especially those targeting the regulation of SNCA expression, we recently developed a CRISPR/dCas9-DNA-methylation-based system to epigenetically modulate SNCA transcription by enriching methylation levels at the SNCA intron 1 regulatory region. To deliver the system, consisting of a dead (deactivated) version of Cas9 (dCas9) fused with the catalytic domain of the DNA methyltransferase enzyme 3A (DNMT3A), a lentiviral vector is used. This system is applied to cells with the triplication of the SNCA locus and reduces the SNCA-mRNA and protein levels by about 30% through the targeted DNA methylation of SNCA intron 1. The fine-tuned downregulation of the SNCA levels rescues disease-related cellular phenotypes. In the current protocol, we aim to describe a step-by-step procedure for differentiating hiPSCs into neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and the establishment and validation of pyrosequencing assays for the evaluation of the methylation profile in the SNCA intron 1. To outline in more detail the lentivirus-CRISPR/dCas9 system used in these experiments, this protocol describes how to produce, purify, and concentrate lentiviral vectors and to highlight their suitability for epigenome- and genome-editing applications using hiPSCs and NPCs. The protocol is easily adaptable and can be used to produce high titer lentiviruses for in vitro and in vivo applications.
Project description:?-Synuclein is highly expressed in neural tissue and during erythropoiesis, where the key erythroid regulator GATA1 has been found to modulate its expression. While specific ?-synuclein (SNCA) mutations are known to cause autosomal dominant familial Parkinson's disease, its wild-type function remains under debate. To investigate the role of ?-synuclein in murine hematopoiesis and erythropoiesis, we utilized Snca knock-out mice and analyzed erythroid compartments for maturation defects, in vivo erythrocyte survival, and erythrocyte-based reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS) levels. Our findings show that while bone marrow and spleen erythropoiesis and peripheral blood erythrocyte survival in Snca(-/-) mice was comparable to controls, the levels of ROS and of NOS-2 were significantly decreased in mature erythrocytes in these animals. These results indicate a role for ?-synuclein in regulating oxidative stress in erythrocytes in vivo and could open new avenues for the investigation of its function in non-neural tissue.
Project description:Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor in childhood. It contains at least four distinct molecular subgroups. The aim of this study is to explore novel diagnostic and potential therapeutic markers within each subgroup of MB, in particular within Group 4, the largest subgroup, to facilitate diagnosis together with gene therapy. One hundred and six MB samples were examined. Tumor subtype was evaluated with the NanoString assay. Several novel tumor related genes were shown to have high subgroup sensitivity and specificity, including PDGFRA, FGFR1, and ALK in the WNT group, CCND1 in the SHH group, and ?-synuclein (SNCA) in Group 4. Knockdown and overexpression assays of SNCA revealed the ability of this gene to inhibit tumor invasion and induce apoptosis. Methylation-specific PCR and pyrosequencing analysis showed that epigenetic mechanisms, rather than DNA hypermethylation, might play the key role in the regulation of SNCA expression in MB tumors. In conclusion, we identify SNCA as a novel diagnostic biomarker for Group 4 MB. Some other subgroup signature genes have also been found as candidate therapeutic targets for this tumor.
Project description:IMPORTANCE:Epigenetic modifications of the genome, such as DNA methylation and histone modifications, have been reported to play a role in neurodegenerative diseases (ND) such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). OBJECTIVE:To systematically review studies investigating epigenetic marks in AD or PD. METHODS:Eleven bibliographic databases (Embase.com, Medline (Ovid), Web-of-Science, Scopus, PubMed, Cinahl (EBSCOhost), Cochrane Central, ProQuest, Lilacs, Scielo and Google Scholar) were searched until July 11th 2016 to identify relevant articles. We included all randomized controlled trials, cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies in humans that examined associations between epigenetic marks and ND. Two independent reviewers, with a third reviewer available for disagreements, performed the abstract and full text selection. Data was extracted using a pre-designed data collection form. RESULTS:Of 6,927 searched references, 73 unique case-control studies met our inclusion criteria. Overall, 11,453 individuals were included in this systematic review (2,640 AD and 2,368 PD outcomes). There was no consistent association between global DNA methylation pattern and any ND. Studies reported epigenetic regulation of 31 genes (including cell communication, apoptosis, and neurogenesis genes in blood and brain tissue) in relation to AD and PD. Methylation at the BDNF, SORBS3 and APP genes in AD were the most consistently reported associations. Methylation of ?-synuclein gene (SNCA) was also found to be associated with PD. Seven studies reported histone protein alterations in AD and PD. CONCLUSION:Many studies have investigated epigenetics and ND. Further research should include larger cohort or longitudinal studies, in order to identify clinically significant epigenetic changes. Identifying relevant epigenetic changes could lead to interventional strategies in ND.
Project description:Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and a central role for α-synuclein (αSyn; SNCA) in disease aetiology has been proposed based on genetics and neuropathology. To better understand the pathological mechanisms of αSyn, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from healthy individuals and PD patients carrying the A53T SNCA mutation or a triplication of the SNCA locus and differentiated them into dopaminergic neurons (DAns). iPSC-derived DAn from PD patients carrying either mutation showed increased intracellular αSyn accumulation, and DAns from patients carrying the SNCA triplication displayed oligomeric αSyn pathology and elevated αSyn extracellular release. Transcriptomic analysis of purified DAns revealed perturbations in expression of genes linked to mitochondrial function, consistent with observed reduction in mitochondrial respiration, impairment in mitochondrial membrane potential, aberrant mitochondrial morphology and decreased levels of phosphorylated DRP1Ser616. Parkinson's iPSC-derived DAns showed increased endoplasmic reticulum stress and impairments in cholesterol and lipid homeostasis. Together, these data show a correlation between αSyn cellular pathology and deficits in metabolic and cellular bioenergetics in the pathology of PD.
Project description:The protein ? -synuclein is considered central to the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease (PD) on genetic and histopathological grounds. It is widely expressed in fetal life and continues to be highly expressed in adult neural tissues, red blood cells and platelets, while the remainder of adult tissues are reported to have little or no expression. Despite cellular and molecular evidence for a role in neuronal function including synaptic vesicle trafficking, neurotransmitter release, mitochondrial function, lipid metabolism, neurogenesis, neuroprotection, and neuromelanin biosynthesis, mice ablated for the gene encoding ? -synuclein (Snca) have little or no neurological phenotype. Thus, nearly 20 years of intensive study have yet to reveal conclusively what the normal function of this highly abundant protein is in the nervous system. Interestingly, ? -synuclein has also been shown to have enzymatic activity as a ferrireductase capable of reducing Fe+3 to Fe+2. Given its abundant expression in red blood cells, we set out to explore the role of ? -synuclein in converting chemically-induced Fe+3 methemoglobin to normal Fe+2 hemoglobin. Initial in vivo experiments with the potent methemoglobin inducer, para-aminopropiophenone and its active metabolite, 4-hydroxy para-aminopropiophenone, demonstrated significantly greater and more prolonged methemoglobinemia in Snca-/- mice compared to Snca+/+ mice. In vitro experiments with red blood cells, however, and in vivo experiments in genetically engineered mouse strains that differ in their ? -synuclein expression in various tissues, including the nervous system, red blood cells and liver, revealed that contrary to the initial hypothesis, a lack of expression of ? -synuclein in red blood cells did not correlate with higher levels or more prolonged duration of methemoglobinemia. Instead, the greater sensitivity to chemically induced methemoglobinemia correlated with the absence of hepatic ? -synuclein expression. We have uncovered a new and robust whole-animal phenotype in mice lacking ? -synuclein that reflects its hitherto unrecognized role in xenobiotic detoxification.
Project description:Protein aggregation causes ?-synuclein to switch from its physiological role to a pathological toxic gain of function. Under physiological conditions, monomeric ?-synuclein improves ATP synthase efficiency. Here, we report that aggregation of monomers generates beta sheet-rich oligomers that localise to the mitochondria in close proximity to several mitochondrial proteins including ATP synthase. Oligomeric ?-synuclein impairs complex I-dependent respiration. Oligomers induce selective oxidation of the ATP synthase beta subunit and mitochondrial lipid peroxidation. These oxidation events increase the probability of permeability transition pore (PTP) opening, triggering mitochondrial swelling, and ultimately cell death. Notably, inhibition of oligomer-induced oxidation prevents the pathological induction of PTP. Inducible pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)-derived neurons bearing SNCA triplication, generate ?-synuclein aggregates that interact with the ATP synthase and induce PTP opening, leading to neuronal death. This study shows how the transition of ?-synuclein from its monomeric to oligomeric structure alters its functional consequences in Parkinson's disease.