Desmosterolosis and desmosterol homeostasis in the developing mouse brain.
ABSTRACT: Cholesterol serves as a building material for cellular membranes and plays an important role in cellular metabolism. The brain relies on its own cholesterol biosynthesis, which starts during embryonic development. Cholesterol is synthesized from two immediate precursors, desmosterol and 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC). Mutations in the DHCR24 enzyme, which converts desmosterol into cholesterol, lead to desmosterolosis, an autosomal recessive developmental disorder. In this study, we assessed the brain content of desmosterol, 7-DHC, and cholesterol from development to adulthood, and analyzed the biochemical, molecular, and anatomical consequences of Dhcr24 mutations on the sterol profile in a mouse model of desmosterolosis and heterozygous Dhcr24+/- carriers. Our HPLC-MS/MS studies revealed that by P0 desmosterol almost entirely replaced cholesterol in the Dhcr24-KO brain. The greatly elevated desmosterol levels were also present in the Dhcr24-Het brains irrespective of maternal genotype, persisting into adulthood. Furthermore, Dhcr24-KO mice brains showed complex changes in expression of lipid and sterol transcripts, nuclear receptors, and synaptic plasticity transcripts. Cultured Dhcr24-KO neurons showed increased arborization, which was also present in the Dhcr24-KO mouse brains. Finally, we observed a shared pathophysiological mechanism between the mouse models of desmosterolosis and Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (a genetic disorder of conversion of 7-DHC to cholesterol).
Project description:Desmosterolosis is a rare multiple congenital anomaly syndrome caused by a defect in the enzyme 3-beta-hydroxysterol delta-24-reductase (DHCR24) in the cholesterol biosynthesis pathway. Defects in this enzyme cause increased level of the cholesterol precursor desmosterol while disrupting development of cholesterol, impacting embryogenesis. A total of 9 cases of desmosterolosis have been reported to date. We report a 20-month-old male from consanguineous parents with multiple congenital anomalies including corpus callosum hypoplasia, facial dysmorphism, cleft palate, pectus deformity, short and wide neck and distal contractures. On analysis of the regions of homozygosity found by microarray, we identified DHCR24 as a candidate gene. Sterol quantitation showed a desmosterol level of 162 ?g/mL (nl: 0.82 ± 0.48). Genetic testing confirmed the diagnosis with a homozygous likely pathogenic mutation (p.Glu191Lys) in the DHCR24 gene. Our case expands the known diagnostic spectrum for Desmosterolosis. We suggest considering Desmosterolosis in the differential diagnosis of patients who present with concurrent agenesis of the corpus callosum with white matter atrophy and ventriculomegaly, retromicrognathia with or without cleft palate, hand contractures, and delay of growth and development. Children of consanguineous mattings may be at higher risk for rare recessive disorders and testing for cholesterol synthesis defect should be a consideration for affected children. Initial evaluation can be performed using sterol quantitation, followed by genetic testing.
Project description:Desmosterolosis is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by multiple congenital anomalies. Patients with desmosterolosis have elevated levels of the cholesterol precursor desmosterol, in plasma, tissue, and cultured cells; this abnormality suggests a deficiency of the enzyme 3beta-hydroxysterol Delta24-reductase (DHCR24), which, in cholesterol biosynthesis, catalyzes the reduction of the Delta24 double bond of sterol intermediates. We identified the human DHCR24 cDNA, by the similarity between the encoded protein and a recently characterized plant enzyme--DWF1/DIM, from Arabidopsis thaliana--catalyzing a different but partially similar reaction in steroid/sterol biosynthesis in plants. Heterologous expression, in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, of the DHCR24 cDNA, followed by enzyme-activity measurements, confirmed that it encodes DHCR24. The encoded DHCR24 protein has a calculated molecular weight of 60.1 kD, contains a potential N-terminal secretory-signal sequence as well as at least one putative transmembrane helix, and is a member of a recently defined family of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)-dependent oxidoreductases. Conversion of desmosterol to cholesterol by DHCR24 in vitro is strictly dependent on reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate and is increased twofold by the addition of FAD to the assay. The corresponding gene, DHCR24, was identified by database searching, spans approximately 46.4 kb, is localized to chromosome 1p31.1-p33, and comprises nine exons and eight introns. Sequence analysis of DHCR24 in two patients with desmosterolosis revealed four different missense mutations, which were shown, by functional expression, in yeast, of the patient alleles, to be disease causing. Our data demonstrate that desmosterolosis is a cholesterol-biosynthesis disorder caused by mutations in DHCR24.
Project description:Desmosterolosis, a rare disorder of cholesterol biosynthesis, is caused by mutations in DHCR24, the gene encoding the enzyme 24-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR24). To date, desmosterolosis has been described in only two patients. Here we report on a third patient with desmosterolosis who presented after delivery with relative macrocephaly, mild arthrogryposis, and dysmorphic facial features. Brain MRI revealed hydrocephalus, thickening of the tectum and massa intermedia, mildly effaced gyral pattern, underopercularization, and a thin corpus callosum. The diagnosis of desmosterolosis was established by detection of significant elevation of plasma desmosterol levels and reduced enzyme activity of DHCR24 upon expression of the patient's DHCR24 cDNA in yeast. The patient was found to be a compound heterozygote for c.281G>A (p.R94H) and c.1438G>A (p.E480K) mutations. Structural and evolutionary analyses showed that residue R94 resides at the flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) binding site and is strictly conserved throughout evolution, while residue E480 is less conserved, but the charge shift substitution is accompanied by drastic changes in the local protein environment of that residue. We compare the phenotype of our patient with previously reported cases.
Project description:Desmosterolosis is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of elevated levels of the cholesterol precursor desmosterol in plasma, tissue and cultured cells. With only two sporadic cases described to date with two very different phenotypes, the clinical entity arising from mutations in 24-dehydrocholesterol reductase (DHCR24) has yet to be defined. We now describe consanguineous Bedouin kindred with four surviving affected individuals, all presenting with severe failure to thrive, psychomotor retardation, microcephaly, micrognathia and spasticity with variable degree of hand contractures. Convulsions near birth, nystagmus and strabismus were found in most. Brain MRI demonstrated significant reduction in white matter and near agenesis of corpus callosum in all. Genome-wide linkage analysis and fine mapping defined a 6.75?cM disease-associated locus in chromosome 1 (maximum multipoint LOD score of six), and sequencing of candidate genes within this locus identified in the affected individuals a homozygous missense mutation in DHCR24 leading to dramatically augmented plasma desmosterol levels. We thus establish a clear consistent phenotype of desmosterolosis (MIM 602398).
Project description:Cholesterol is a prominent modulator of the integrity and functional activity of physiological membranes and the most abundant sterol in the mammalian brain. DHCR24-knock-out mice lack cholesterol and accumulate desmosterol with age. Here we demonstrate that brain cholesterol deficiency in 3-week-old DHCR24(-/-) mice was associated with altered membrane composition including disrupted detergent-resistant membrane domain (DRM) structure. Furthermore, membrane-related functions differed extensively in the brains of these mice, resulting in lower plasmin activity, decreased beta-secretase activity and diminished Abeta generation. Age-dependent accumulation and integration of desmosterol in brain membranes of 16-week-old DHCR24(-/-) mice led to the formation of desmosterol-containing DRMs and rescued the observed membrane-related functional deficits. Our data provide evidence that an alternate sterol, desmosterol, can facilitate processes that are normally cholesterol-dependent including formation of DRMs from mouse brain extracts, membrane receptor ligand binding and activation, and regulation of membrane protein proteolytic activity. These data indicate that desmosterol can replace cholesterol in membrane-related functions in the DHCR24(-/-) mouse.
Project description:Desmosterolosis is an autosomal recessive disorder of cholesterol biosynthesis caused by biallelic mutations of DHCR24 (homozygous or compound heterozygous), which encodes 3-?-hydroxysterol ?-24-reductase. We report two sisters homozygous for the 571G>A (E191K) DHCR24 mutation. Comparison of the propositae to other reported individuals shows that psychomotor developmental delay, failure to thrive, dysgenesis of the corpus callosum, cerebral white matter atrophy and spasticity likely constitute the minimal desmosterolosis phenotype. The nonspecific features of desmosterolosis make it difficult to suspect clinically and therefore screening for it should be entertained early in the diagnostic evaluation.
Project description:The free radical chain autoxidation of cholesterol and the oxidation products formed, i.e. oxysterols, have been the focus of intensive study for decades. The peroxidation of sterol precursors to cholesterol such as 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) and desmosterol as well as their oxysterols has received less attention. The peroxidation of these sterol precursors can become important under circumstances in which genetic conditions or exposures to small molecules leads to an increase of these biosynthetic intermediates in tissues and fluids. 7-DHC, for example, has a propagation rate constant for peroxidation some 200 times that of cholesterol and this sterol is found at elevated levels in a devastating human genetic condition, Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS). The propagation rate constants for peroxidation of sterol intermediates on the biosynthetic pathway to cholesterol were determined by a competition kinetic method, i.e. a peroxyl radical clock. In this work, propagation rate constants for lathosterol, zymostenol, desmosterol, 7-dehydrodesmosterol and other sterols in the Bloch and Kandutsch-Russell pathways are assigned and these rate constants are related to sterol structural features. Furthermore, potential oxysterols products are proposed for sterols whose oxysterol products have not been determined.
Project description:Cholesterol synthesis in the fetal brain is inhibited because activity of DHCR24 (24-dehydrocholesterol reductase) is insufficient, causing concentrations of the precursor desmosterol to increase temporarily to 15-25% of total sterols at birth. We demonstrate that failure of DHCR24 to be adequately upregulated during periods of elevated cholesterol synthesis in the brain results from the presence in its promoter of the repressor element 1 (RE1) nucleotide sequence that binds the RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) and that REST, generally reduced in neural tissues, uncharacteristically but not without precedent, enhances DHCR24 transcription. DHCR24 and REST mRNA levels are reduced 3- to 4-fold in fetal mouse brain compared to liver (p < 0.001). Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays suggested that REST binds to the human DHCR24 promoter in the vicinity of the predicted human RE1 sequence. Luminescent emission from a human DHCR24 promoter construct with a mutated RE1 sequence was reduced 2-fold compared to output from a reporter with wild-type RE1 (p < 0.005). Silencing REST in HeLa cells resulted in significant reductions of DHCR24 mRNA (2-fold) and DHCR24 protein (4-fold). As expected, relative concentrations of ?(24)-cholesterol precursor sterols increased 3- to 4-fold, reflecting the inhibition of DHCR24 enzyme activity. In contrast, mRNA levels of DHCR7 (sterol 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase), a gene essential for cholesterol synthesis lacking an RE1 sequence, and concentrations of HMGR (3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase) enzyme protein were both unaffected. Surprisingly, a dominant negative fragment of REST consisting of just the DNA binding domain (about 20% of the protein) and full-length REST enhanced DHCR24 expression equally well. Furthermore, RE1 and the sterol response element (SRE), the respective binding sites for REST and the SRE binding protein (SREBP), are contiguous. These observations led us to hypothesize that REST acts because it is bound in close proximity to SREBP, thus amplifying its ability to upregulate DHCR24. It is likely that modulation of DHCR24 expression by REST persisted in the mammalian genome either because it does no harm or because suppressing metabolically active DHCR24 while providing abundant quantities of the multifunctional sterol desmosterol during neural development proved useful.
Project description:Cholesterol synthesis is a complex, coordinated process involving a series of enzymes. As of today, our understanding of subcellular localization of cholesterol biosynthesis enzymes is far from complete. Considering the complexity and intricacies of this pathway and the importance of functions of DHCR7, DHCR24 and EBP enzymes for human health, we undertook a study to determine their subcellular localization and co-localization. Using expression constructs and antibody staining in cell cultures and transgenic mice, we found that all three enzymes are expressed in ER and nuclear envelope. However, their co-localization was considerably different across the cellular compartments. Furthermore, we observed that in the absence of DHCR7 protein, DHCR24 shows a compensatory upregulation in a Dhcr7-/- transgenic mouse model. The overall findings suggest that the sterol biosynthesis enzymes might not always work in a same functional complex, but that they potentially have different, multifunctional roles that go beyond the sterol biosynthesis pathway. Furthermore, the newly uncovered compensatory mechanism between DHCR7 and DHCR24 could be of importance for designing medications that would improve cholesterol production in patients with desmosterolosis and Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome.
Project description:Sterol structure influences liquid ordered domains in membranes, and the dependence of biological functions on sterol structure can help identify processes dependent on ordered domains. In this study we compared the effect of sterol structure on ordered domain formation in symmetric vesicles composed of mixtures of sphingomyelin, 1, 2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DOPC) and cholesterol, and in asymmetric vesicles in which sphingomyelin was introduced into the outer leaflet of vesicles composed of DOPC and cholesterol. In most cases, sterol behavior was similar in symmetric and asymmetric vesicles, with ordered domains most strongly stabilized by 7-dehydrocholesterol (7DHC) and cholesterol, stabilized to a moderate degree by lanosterol, epicholesterol and desmosterol, and very little if at all by 4-cholesten-3-one. However, in asymmetric vesicles desmosterol stabilized ordered domain almost as well as cholesterol, and to a much greater degree than epicholesterol, so that the ability to support ordered domains decreased in the order 7-DHC?>?cholesterol?>?desmosterol?>?lanosterol?>?epicholesterol?>?4-cholesten-3-one. This contrasts with values for intermediate stabilizing sterols in symmetric vesicles in which the ranking was cholesterol?>?lanosterol?~?desmosterol?~?epicholesterol or prior studies in which the ranking was cholesterol?~?epicholesterol?>?lanosterol?~?desmosterol. The reasons for these differences are discussed. Based on these results, we re-evaluated our prior studies in cells and conclude that endocytosis levels and bacterial uptake are even more closely correlated with the ability of sterols to form ordered domains than previously thought, and do not necessarily require that a sterol have a 3?-OH group.