Human Motor Neurons With SOD1-G93A Mutation Generated From CRISPR/Cas9 Gene-Edited iPSCs Develop Pathological Features of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by gradual degeneration and elimination of motor neurons (MNs) in the motor cortex, brainstem, and spinal cord. Some familial forms of ALS are caused by genetic mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) but the mechanisms driving MN disease are unclear. Identifying the naturally occurring pathology and understanding how this mutant SOD1 can affect MNs in translationally meaningful ways in a valid and reliable human cell model remains to be established. Here, using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system and human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), we generated highly pure, iPSC-derived MNs with a SOD1-G93A missense mutation. With the wild-type cell line serving as an isogenic control and MNs from a patient-derived iPSC line with an SOD1-A4V mutation as a comparator, we identified pathological phenotypes relevant to ALS. The mutant MNs accumulated misfolded and aggregated forms of SOD1 in cell bodies and processes, including axons. They also developed distinctive axonal pathologies. Mutants had axonal swellings with shorter axon length and less numbers of branch points. Moreover, structural and molecular abnormalities in presynaptic and postsynaptic size and density were found in the mutants. Finally, functional studies with microelectrode array demonstrated that the individual mutant MNs exhibited decreased number of spikes and diminished network bursting, but increased burst duration. Taken together, we identified spontaneous disease phenotypes relevant to ALS in mutant SOD1 MNs from genome-edited and patient-derived iPSCs. Our findings demonstrate that SOD1 mutations in human MNs cause cell-autonomous proteinopathy, axonopathy, synaptic pathology, and aberrant neurotransmission.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) presents motoneuron (MN)-selective protein inclusions and axonal degeneration but the underlying mechanisms of such are unknown. Using induced pluripotent cells (iPSCs) from patients with mutation in the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene, we show that spinal MNs, but rarely non-MNs, exhibited neurofilament (NF) aggregation followed by neurite degeneration when glia were not present. These changes were associated with decreased stability of NF-L mRNA and binding of its 3' UTR by mutant SOD1 and thus altered protein proportion of NF subunits. Such MN-selective changes were mimicked by expression of a single copy of the mutant SOD1 in human embryonic stem cells and were prevented by genetic correction of the SOD1 mutation in patient's iPSCs. Importantly, conditional expression of NF-L in the SOD1 iPSC-derived MNs corrected the NF subunit proportion, mitigating NF aggregation and neurite degeneration. Thus, NF misregulation underlies mutant SOD1-mediated NF aggregation and axonal degeneration in ALS MNs.
Project description:Human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons are an attractive substrate for modeling disease, yet the heterogeneity of these cultures presents a challenge for functional characterization by manual patch-clamp electrophysiology. Here, we describe an optimized all-optical electrophysiology, "Optopatch," pipeline for high-throughput functional characterization of human iPSC-derived neuronal cultures. We demonstrate the method in a human iPSC-derived motor neuron (iPSC-MN) model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In a comparison of iPSC-MNs with an ALS-causing mutation (SOD1 A4V) with their genome-corrected controls, the mutants showed elevated spike rates under weak or no stimulus and greater likelihood of entering depolarization block under strong optogenetic stimulus. We compared these results with numerical simulations of simple conductance-based neuronal models and with literature results in this and other iPSC-based models of ALS. Our data and simulations suggest that deficits in slowly activating potassium channels may underlie the changes in electrophysiology in the SOD1 A4V mutation.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal, progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the destruction of motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain. A subset of ALS cases are linked to dominant mutations in copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1). The pathogenic SOD1 variants A4V and G93A have been the foci of multiple studies aimed at understanding the molecular basis for SOD1-linked ALS. The A4V variant is responsible for the majority of familial ALS cases in North America, causing rapidly progressing paralysis once symptoms begin and the G93A SOD1 variant is overexpressed in often studied murine models of the disease. Here we report the three-dimensional structures of metal-free A4V and of metal-bound and metal-free G93A SOD1. In the metal-free structures, the metal-binding loop elements are observed to be severely disordered, suggesting that these variants may share mechanisms of aggregation proposed previously for other pathogenic SOD1 proteins.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a rapidly progressive neurodegenerative disorder due to selective loss of motor neurons (MNs). Mutations in the fused in sarcoma (FUS) gene can cause both juvenile and late onset ALS. We generated and characterized induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from ALS patients with different FUS mutations, as well as from healthy controls. Patient-derived MNs show typical cytoplasmic FUS pathology, hypoexcitability, as well as progressive axonal transport defects. Axonal transport defects are rescued by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genetic correction of the FUS mutation in patient-derived iPSCs. Moreover, these defects are reproduced by expressing mutant FUS in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), whereas knockdown of endogenous FUS has no effect, confirming that these pathological changes are mutant FUS dependent. Pharmacological inhibition as well as genetic silencing of histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) increase ?-tubulin acetylation, endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-mitochondrial overlay, and restore the axonal transport defects in patient-derived MNs.Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) leads to selective loss of motor neurons. Using motor neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with ALS and FUS mutations, the authors demonstrate that axonal transport deficits that are observed in these cells can be rescued by HDAC6 inhibition.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive loss of motor neurons (MNs) and subsequent muscle weakness. These pathological features are associated with numerous cellular changes, including alteration in mitochondrial morphology and function. However, the molecular mechanisms associating mitochondrial structure with ALS pathology are poorly understood. In this study, we found that Dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) was dephosphorylated in several ALS models, including those with SOD1 and TDP-43 mutations, and the dephosphorylation was mediated by the pathological induction of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) activity in these models. Suppression of the PP1-Drp1 cascade effectively prevented ALS-related symptoms, including mitochondrial fragmentation, mitochondrial complex I impairment, axonal degeneration, and cell death, in primary neuronal culture models, iPSC-derived human MNs, and zebrafish models in vivo. These results suggest that modulation of PP1-Drp1 activity may be a therapeutic target for multiple pathological features of ALS.
Project description:Energy metabolism has been repeatedly linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Yet, motor neuron (MN) metabolism remains poorly studied and it is unknown if ALS MNs differ metabolically from healthy MNs. To address this question, we first performed a metabolic characterization of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) versus iPSC-derived MNs and subsequently compared MNs from ALS patients carrying FUS mutations to their CRISPR/Cas9-corrected counterparts. We discovered that human iPSCs undergo a lactate oxidation-fuelled prooxidative metabolic switch when they differentiate into functional MNs. Simultaneously, they rewire metabolic routes to import pyruvate into the TCA cycle in an energy substrate specific way. By comparing patient-derived MNs and their isogenic controls, we show that ALS-causing mutations in FUS did not affect glycolytic or mitochondrial energy metabolism of human MNs in vitro. These data show that metabolic dysfunction is not the underlying cause of the ALS-related phenotypes previously observed in these MNs.
Project description:An important consequence of protein misfolding related to neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is the formation of proteinaceous inclusions or aggregates within the central nervous system. We have previously shown that several familial ALS-linked copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) mutants (A4V, G85R, and G93A) interact and co-localize with the dynein-dynactin complex in cultured cells and affected tissues of ALS mice. In this study, we report that the interaction between mutant SOD1 and the dynein motor plays a critical role in the formation of large inclusions containing mutant SOD1. Disruption of the motor by overexpression of the p50 subunit of dynactin in neuronal and non-neuronal cell cultures abolished the association between aggregation-prone SOD1 mutants and the dynein-dynactin complex. The p50 overexpression also prevented mutant SOD1 inclusion formation and improved the survival of cells expressing A4V SOD1. Furthermore, we observed that two ALS-linked SOD1 mutants, H46R and H48Q, which showed a lower propensity to interact with the dynein motor, also produced less aggregation and fewer large inclusions. Overall, these data suggest that formation of large inclusions depends upon association of the abnormal SOD1s with the dynein motor. Whether the misfolded SOD1s directly perturb axonal transport or impair other functional properties of the dynein motor, this interaction could propagate a toxic effect that ultimately causes motor neuron death in ALS.
Project description:In vitro generation of motor neurons (MNs) is a promising approach for modeling motor neuron diseases (MNDs) such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As aging is a leading risk factor for the development of neurodegeneration, it is important to recapitulate age-related characteristics by using MNs at pathogenic ages. So far, cell reprogramming through induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and direct reprogramming from primary fibroblasts are two major strategies to obtain populations of MNs. While iPSC generation must go across the epigenetic landscape toward the pluripotent state, directly converted MNs might have the advantage of preserving aging-associated features from fibroblast donors. In this study, we confirmed that human iPSCs reset the aging status derived from their old donors, such as telomere attrition and cellular senescence. We then applied a set of transcription factors to induce MNs from either primary fibroblasts or iPSC-derived neural progenitor cells. The results revealed that directly reprogrammed MNs, rather than iPSC-derived MNs, maintained the aging hallmarks of old donors, including extensive DNA damage, loss of heterochromatin and nuclear organization, and increased SA-?-Gal activity. iPSC-derived MNs did not regain those aging memories from old donors. Collectively, our study indicates rejuvenation in the iPSC-based model, as well as aging maintenance in direct reprogramming of MNs. As such, the directly reprogrammed MNs may be more suitable for modeling the late-onset pathogenesis of MNDs.
Project description:Human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived neurons have the potential to model neurodegenerative disorders. Here, we demonstrate the expression of a mutant gene, superoxide dismutase 1(SOD1), linked to familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in hESC-derived motor neurons. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression under the control of the HB9 enhancer was used to identify SOD1-transfected motor neurons that express human wild-type SOD1 or one of three different mutants (G93A, A4V and I113T) of SOD1. Neurons transfected with mutant SOD1 exhibited reduced cell survival and shortened axonal processes as compared with control-transfected cells, which could survive for 3 weeks or more. The results indicate that hESC-derived cell populations can be directed to express disease-relevant genes and to display characteristics of the disease-specific cell type. These genetically manipulated hESC-derived motor neurons can facilitate and advance the study of disease-specific cellular pathways, and serve as a model system to test new therapeutic approaches.
Project description:Mutations in Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (Sod1) have been reported in both familial and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this study, we investigated the behavior of heteromeric combinations of wild-type (WT) and mutant Sod1 proteins A4V, L38V, G93A, and G93C in human cells. We showed that both WT and mutant Sod1 formed dimers and oligomers, but only mutant Sod1 accumulated in intracellular inclusions. Coexpression of WT and hSod1 mutants resulted in the formation of a larger number of intracellular inclusions per cell than that observed in cells coexpressing WT or mutant hSod1. The number of inclusions was greater in cells expressing A4V hSod1. To eliminate the contribution of endogenous Sod1, and better evaluate the effect of ALS-associated mutant Sod1 expression, we expressed human Sod1 WT and mutants in human cells knocked down for endogenous Sod1 (Sod1-KD), and in sod1? yeast cells. Using Sod1-KD cells we found that the WT-A4V heteromers formed higher molecular weight species compared with A4V and WT homomers. Using the yeast model, in conditions of chronological aging, we concluded that cells expressing Sod1 heterodimers showed decreased antioxidant activity, increased oxidative damage, reduced longevity, and oxidative stress-induced mutant Sod1 aggregation. In addition, we also found that ALS-associated Sod1 mutations reduced nuclear localization and, consequently, impaired the antioxidant response, suggesting this change in localization may contribute to disease in familial ALS. Overall, our study provides insight into the molecular underpinnings of ALS and may open avenues for the design of future therapeutic strategies.