Ribosomal profiling during prion disease uncovers progressive translational derangement in glia but not in neurons.
ABSTRACT: Prion diseases are caused by PrPSc, a self-replicating pathologically misfolded protein that exerts toxicity predominantly in the brain. The administration of PrPSc causes a robust, reproducible and specific disease manifestation. Here, we have applied a combination of translating ribosome affinity purification and ribosome profiling to identify biologically relevant prion-induced changes during disease progression in a cell-type-specific and genome-wide manner. Terminally diseased mice with severe neurological symptoms showed extensive alterations in astrocytes and microglia. Surprisingly, we detected only minor changes in the translational profiles of neurons. Prion-induced alterations in glia overlapped with those identified in other neurodegenerative diseases, suggesting that similar events occur in a broad spectrum of pathologies. Our results suggest that aberrant translation within glia may suffice to cause severe neurological symptoms and may even be the primary driver of prion disease.
Project description:Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or prion diseases are rapidly progressive neurodegenerative diseases, the clinical manifestation of which can resemble other promptly evolving neurological maladies. Therefore, the unequivocal ante-mortem diagnosis is highly challenging and was only possible by histopathological and immunohistochemical analysis of the brain at necropsy. Although surrogate biomarkers of neurological damage have become invaluable to complement clinical data and provide more accurate diagnostics at early stages, other neurodegenerative diseases show similar alterations hindering the differential diagnosis. To solve that, the detection of the pathognomonic biomarker of disease, PrPSc, the aberrantly folded isoform of the prion protein, could be used. However, the amounts in easily accessible tissues or body fluids at pre-clinical or early clinical stages are extremely low for the standard detection methods. The solution comes from the recent development of in vitro prion propagation techniques, such as Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification (PMCA) and Real Time-Quaking Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC), which have been already applied to detect minute amounts of PrPSc in different matrixes and make early diagnosis of prion diseases feasible in a near future. Herein, the most relevant tissues and body fluids in which PrPSc has been detected in animals and humans are being reviewed, especially those in which cell-free prion propagation systems have been used with diagnostic purposes.
Project description:Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) are fatal neurological disorders caused by prions, which are composed of a misfolded protein (PrPSc) that self-propagates in the brain of infected individuals by converting the normal prion protein (PrPC) into the pathological isoform. Here, we report a novel experimental strategy for preventing prion disease based on producing a self-replicating, but innocuous PrPSc-like form, termed anti-prion, which can compete with the replication of pathogenic prions. Our results show that a prophylactic inoculation of prion-infected animals with an anti-prion delays the onset of the disease and in some animals completely prevents the development of clinical symptoms and brain damage. The data indicate that a single injection of the anti-prion eliminated ~99% of the infectivity associated to pathogenic prions. Furthermore, this treatment caused significant changes in the profile of regional PrPSc deposition in the brains of animals that were treated, but still succumbed to the disease. Our findings provide new insights for a mechanistic understanding of prion replication and support the concept that prion replication can be separated from toxicity, providing a novel target for therapeutic intervention.
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:Misfolding and aggregation of host proteins are important features of the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, frontotemporal dementia and prion diseases. In all these diseases, the misfolded protein increases in amount by a mechanism involving seeded polymerization. In prion diseases, host prion protein is misfolded to form a pathogenic protease-resistant form, PrPSc, which accumulates in neurons, astroglia and microglia in the CNS. Here using dual-staining immunohistochemistry, we compared the cell specificity of PrPSc accumulation at early preclinical times post-infection using three mouse scrapie strains that differ in brain regional pathology. PrPSc from each strain had a different pattern of cell specificity. Strain 22L was mainly associated with astroglia, whereas strain ME7 was mainly associated with neurons and neuropil. In thalamus and cortex, strain RML was similar to 22L, but in substantia nigra, RML was similar to ME7. Expression of 90 genes involved in neuroinflammation was studied quantitatively using mRNA from thalamus at preclinical times. Surprisingly, despite the cellular differences in PrPSc accumulation, the pattern of upregulated genes was similar for all three strains, and the small differences observed correlated with variations in the early disease tempo. Gene upregulation correlated with activation of both astroglia and microglia detected in early disease prior to vacuolar pathology or clinical signs. Interestingly, the profile of upregulated genes in scrapie differed markedly from that seen in two acute viral CNS diseases (LaCrosse virus and BE polytropic Friend retrovirus) that had reactive gliosis at levels similar to our prion-infected mice.
Project description:Conversion of cellular prion protein (PrPC) into the pathogenic isoform of prion protein (PrPSc) in neurons is one of the key pathophysiological events in prion diseases. However, the molecular mechanism of neurodegeneration in prion diseases has yet to be fully elucidated because of a lack of suitable experimental models for analyzing neuron-autonomous responses to prion infection. In the present study, we used neuron-enriched primary cultures of cortical and thalamic mouse neurons to analyze autonomous neuronal responses to prion infection. PrPSc levels in neurons increased over the time after prion infection; however, no obvious neuronal losses or neurite alterations were observed. Interestingly, a finer analysis of individual neurons co-stained with PrPSc and phosphorylated protein kinase RNA-activated-like endoplasmic reticulum (ER) kinase (p-PERK), the early cellular response of the PERK-eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2?) pathway, demonstrated a positive correlation between the number of PrPSc granular stains and p-PERK granular stains, in cortical neurons at 21 dpi. Although the phosphorylation of PERK was enhanced in prion-infected cortical neurons, there was no sign of subsequent translational repression of synaptic protein synthesis or activations of downstream unfolded protein response (UPR) in the PERK-eIF2? pathway. These results suggest that PrPSc production in neurons induces ER stress in a neuron-autonomous manner; however, it does not fully activate UPR in prion-infected neurons. Our findings provide insights into the autonomous neuronal responses to prion propagation and the involvement of neuron-non-autonomous factor(s) in the mechanisms of neurodegeneration in prion diseases.
Project description:Astrogliosis and activation of microglia are hallmarks of prion diseases in humans and animals. Both were viewed to be rather independent events in disease pathophysiology, with proinflammatory microglia considered to be the potential neurotoxic species at late disease stages. Recent investigations have provided substantial evidence that a proinflammatory microglial cytokine cocktail containing TNF-α, IL-1α and C1qa reprograms a subset of astrocytes to change their expression profile and phenotype, thus becoming neurotoxic (designated as A1-astrocytes). Knockout or antibody blockage of the three cytokines abolish formation of A1-astrocytes, therefore, this pathway is of high therapeutic interest in neurodegenerative diseases. Since astrocyte polarization profiles have never been investigated in prion diseases, we performed several analyses and could show that C3+-PrPSc-reactive-astrocytes, which may represent a subtype of A1-astrocytes, are highly abundant in prion disease mouse models and human prion diseases. To investigate their impact on prion disease pathophysiology and to evaluate their potential therapeutic targeting, we infected TNF-α, IL-1α, and C1qa Triple-KO mice (TKO-mice), which do not transit astrocytes into A1, with prions. Although formation of C3+-astrocytes was significantly reduced in prion infected Triple-KO-mice, this did not affect the amount of PrPSc deposition or titers of infectious prions. Detailed characterization of the astrocyte activation signature in thalamus tissue showed that astrocytes in prion diseases are highly activated, showing a mixed phenotype that is distinct from other neurodegenerative diseases and were therefore termed C3+-PrPSc-reactive-astrocytes. Unexpectedly, Triple-KO led to a significant acceleration of prion disease course. While pan-astrocyte and -microglia marker upregulation was unchanged compared to WT-brains, microglial homeostatic markers were lost early in disease in TKO-mice, pointing towards important functions of different glia cell types in prion diseases.
Project description:Prion diseases display multiple disease phenotypes characterized by diverse clinical symptoms, different brain regions affected by the disease, distinct cell tropism and diverse PrPSc deposition patterns. The diversity of disease phenotypes within the same host is attributed to the ability of PrPC to acquire multiple, alternative, conformationally distinct, self-replicating PrPSc states referred to as prion strains or subtypes. Structural diversity of PrPSc strains has been well documented, yet the question of how different PrPSc structures elicit multiple disease phenotypes remains poorly understood. The current article reviews emerging evidence suggesting that carbohydrates in the form of sialylated N-linked glycans, which are a constitutive part of PrPSc, are important players in defining strain-specific structures and disease phenotypes. This article introduces a new hypothesis, according to which individual strain-specific PrPSc structures govern selection of PrPC sialoglycoforms that form strain-specific patterns of carbohydrate epitopes on PrPSc surface and contribute to defining the disease phenotype and outcomes.
Project description: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:Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common human prion disease, is transmissible through iatrogenic routes due to abundant infectious prions [misfolded forms of the prion protein (PrPSc)] in the central nervous system (CNS). Some epidemiological studies have associated sCJD risk with non-CNS surgeries. We explored the potential prion seeding activity and infectivity of skin from sCJD patients. Autopsy or biopsy skin samples from 38 patients [21 sCJD, 2 variant CJD (vCJD), and 15 non-CJD] were analyzed by Western blotting and real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) for PrPSc Skin samples from two patients were further examined for prion infectivity by bioassay using two lines of humanized transgenic mice. Western blotting revealed dermal PrPSc in one of five deceased sCJD patients and one of two vCJD patients. However, the more sensitive RT-QuIC assay detected prion seeding activity in skin from all 23 CJD decedents but not in skin from any non-CJD control individuals (with other neurological conditions or other diseases) during blinded testing. Although sCJD patient skin contained ~103- to 105-fold lower prion seeding activity than did sCJD patient brain tissue, all 12 mice from two transgenic mouse lines inoculated with sCJD skin homogenates from two sCJD patients succumbed to prion disease within 564 days after inoculation. Our study demonstrates that the skin of sCJD patients contains both prion seeding activity and infectivity, which raises concerns about the potential for iatrogenic sCJD transmission via skin.
Project description:Rett's syndrome (RTT) is an X-chromosome-linked autism spectrum disorder caused by loss of function of the transcription factor methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2). Although MeCP2 is expressed in most tissues, loss of MeCP2 expression results primarily in neurological symptoms. Earlier studies suggested the idea that RTT is due exclusively to loss of MeCP2 function in neurons. Although defective neurons clearly underlie the aberrant behaviours, we and others showed recently that the loss of MECP2 from glia negatively influences neurons in a non-cell-autonomous fashion. Here we show that in globally MeCP2-deficient mice, re-expression of Mecp2 preferentially in astrocytes significantly improved locomotion and anxiety levels, restored respiratory abnormalities to a normal pattern, and greatly prolonged lifespan compared to globally null mice. Furthermore, restoration of MeCP2 in the mutant astrocytes exerted a non-cell-autonomous positive effect on mutant neurons in vivo, restoring normal dendritic morphology and increasing levels of the excitatory glutamate transporter VGLUT1. Our study shows that glia, like neurons, are integral components of the neuropathology of RTT, and supports the targeting of glia as a strategy for improving the associated symptoms.