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See detailGene-corrected p.A30P SNCA patient-derived isogenic neurons rescue neuronal branching and function
Barbuti, Peter A; Ohnmacht, Jochen UL; Santos, Bruno FR et al

in Scientific Reports (2021), 11

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterised by the degeneration of A9 dopaminergic neurons and the pathological accumulation of alpha-synuclein. The p.A30P SNCA mutation generates the pathogenic form of the ... [more ▼]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is characterised by the degeneration of A9 dopaminergic neurons and the pathological accumulation of alpha-synuclein. The p.A30P SNCA mutation generates the pathogenic form of the alpha-synuclein protein causing an autosomal-dominant form of PD. There are limited studies assessing pathogenic SNCA mutations in patient-derived isogenic cell models. Here we provide a functional assessment of dopaminergic neurons derived from a patient harbouring the p.A30P SNCA mutation. Using two clonal gene-corrected isogenic cell lines we identified image-based phenotypes showing impaired neuritic processes. The pathological neurons displayed impaired neuronal activity, reduced mitochondrial respiration, an energy deficit, vulnerability to rotenone, and transcriptional alterations in lipid metabolism. Our data describes for the first time the mutation-only effect of the p.A30P SNCA mutation on neuronal function, supporting the use of isogenic cell lines in identifying image-based pathological phenotypes that can serve as an entry point for future disease-modifying compound screenings and drug discovery strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailUnraveling Molecular Mechanisms of THAP1 Missense Mutations in DYT6 Dystonia
Krüger, Rejko UL; Cheng, Fubo; Walter, Michael et al

in Journal of Molecular Neuroscience (2020)

Mutations in THAP1 (THAP domain-containing apoptosis-associated protein 1) are responsible for DYT6 dystonia. Until now, more than eighty differentmutations in THAP1 gene have been found in patientswith ... [more ▼]

Mutations in THAP1 (THAP domain-containing apoptosis-associated protein 1) are responsible for DYT6 dystonia. Until now, more than eighty differentmutations in THAP1 gene have been found in patientswith primary dystonia, and two third of them are missense mutations. The potential pathogeneses of these missense mutations in human are largely elusive. In the present study, we generated stable transfected human neuronal cell lines expressing wild-type or mutated THAP1 proteins found in DYT6 patients. Transcriptional profiling using microarrays revealed a set of 28 common genes dysregulated in two mutated THAP1 (S21T and F81L) overexpression cell lines suggesting a common mechanism of these mutations. ChIP-seq showed that THAP1 can bind to the promoter of one of these genes, superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2). Overexpression of THAP1 in SK-N-AS cells resulted in increased SOD2 protein expression, whereas fibroblasts from THAP1 patients have less SOD2 expression, which indicates that SOD2 is a direct target gene of THAP1. In addition, we show that some THAP1 mutations (C54Y and F81L) decrease the protein stability which might also be responsible for altered transcription regulation due to dosage insufficiency. Taking together, the current study showed different potential pathogenic mechanisms of THAP1 mutations which lead to the same consequence of DYT6 dystonia. [less ▲]

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See detailHuman Dopaminergic Neurons Lacking PINK1 Exhibit Disrupted Dopamine Metabolism Related to Vitamin B6 Co-Factors.
Bus, Christine; Zizmare, Laimdota; Feldkaemper, Marita et al

in iScience (2020), 23(12), 101797

PINK1 loss-of-function mutations cause early onset Parkinson disease. PINK1-Parkin mediated mitophagy has been well studied, but the relevance of the endogenous process in the brain is debated. Here, the ... [more ▼]

PINK1 loss-of-function mutations cause early onset Parkinson disease. PINK1-Parkin mediated mitophagy has been well studied, but the relevance of the endogenous process in the brain is debated. Here, the absence of PINK1 in human dopaminergic neurons inhibits ionophore-induced mitophagy and reduces mitochondrial membrane potential. Compensatory, mitochondrial renewal maintains mitochondrial morphology and protects the respiratory chain. This is paralleled by metabolic changes, including inhibition of the TCA cycle enzyme mAconitase, accumulation of NAD(+), and metabolite depletion. Loss of PINK1 disrupts dopamine metabolism by critically affecting its synthesis and uptake. The mechanism involves steering of key amino acids toward energy production rather than neurotransmitter metabolism and involves cofactors related to the vitamin B6 salvage pathway identified using unbiased multi-omics approaches. We propose that reduction of mitochondrial membrane potential that cannot be controlled by PINK1 signaling initiates metabolic compensation that has neurometabolic consequences relevant to Parkinson disease. [less ▲]

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See detailα-Synuclein in Parkinson's disease: causal or bystander?
Krüger, Rejko UL; Riederer, Peter; Berg, Daniela et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2019)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) comprises a spectrum of disorders with differing subtypes, the vast majority of which share Lewy bodies (LB) as a characteristic pathological hallmark. The process(es) underlying ... [more ▼]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) comprises a spectrum of disorders with differing subtypes, the vast majority of which share Lewy bodies (LB) as a characteristic pathological hallmark. The process(es) underlying LB generation and its causal trigger molecules are not yet fully understood. α-Synuclein (α-syn) is a major component of LB and SNCA gene missense mutations or duplications/triplications are causal for rare hereditary forms of PD. As typical sporadic PD is associated with LB pathology, a factor of major importance is the study of the α-syn protein and its pathology. α-Syn pathology is, however, also evident in multiple system atrophy (MSA) and Lewy body disease (LBD), making it non-specific for PD. In addition, there is an overlap of these α-synucleinopathies with other protein-misfolding diseases. It has been proven that α-syn, phosphorylated tau protein (pτ), amyloid beta (Aβ) and other proteins show synergistic effects in the underlying pathogenic mechanisms. Multiple cell death mechanisms can induce pathological protein-cascades, but this can also be a reverse process. This holds true for the early phases of the disease process and especially for the progression of PD. In conclusion, while rare SNCA gene mutations are causal for a minority of familial PD patients, in sporadic PD (where common SNCA polymorphisms are the most consistent genetic risk factor across populations worldwide, accounting for 95% of PD patients) α-syn pathology is an important feature. Conversely, with regard to the etiopathogenesis of α-synucleinopathies PD, MSA and LBD, α-syn is rather a bystander contributing to multiple neurodegenerative processes, which overlap in their composition and individual strength. Therapeutic developments aiming to impact on α-syn pathology should take this fact into consideration. [less ▲]

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See detailMitochondrial Defects and Neurodegeneration in Mice Overexpressing Wild Type or G399S Mutant HtrA2
Casadei, Nicolas; Sood, Poonan; Ulrich, Thomas et al

in Human Molecular Genetics (2016), 25(3), 459-71

The protease HtrA2 has a protective role inside mitochondria, but promotes apoptosis under stress. We previously identified the G399S HtrA2 mutation in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and reported ... [more ▼]

The protease HtrA2 has a protective role inside mitochondria, but promotes apoptosis under stress. We previously identified the G399S HtrA2 mutation in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and reported mitochondrial dysfunction in vitro. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a common feature of PD and related to neurodegeneration. Complete loss of HtrA2 has been shown to cause neurodegeneration in mice. However, the full impact of HtrA2 overexpression or the G399S mutation is still to be determined in vivo. Here, we report the first HtrA2 G399S transgenic mouse model. Our data suggest that the mutation has a dominant-negative effect. We also describe a toxic effect of wild-type (WT) HtrA2 overexpression. Only low overexpression of the G399S mutation allowed viable animals and we suggest that the mutant protein is likely unstable. This is accompanied by reduced mitochondrial respiratory capacity and sensitivity to apoptotic cell death. Mice overexpressing WT HtrA2 were viable, yet these animals have inhibited mitochondrial respiration and significant induction of apoptosis in the brain leading to motor dysfunction, highlighting the opposing roles of HtrA2. Our data further underscore the importance of HtrA2 as a key mediator of mitochondrial function and its fine regulatory role in cell fate. The location and abundance of HtrA2 is tightly controlled and, therefore, human mutations leading to gain- or loss of function could provide significant risk for PD-related neurodegeneration. [less ▲]

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See detailOverexpression of synphilin-1 promotes clearance of soluble and misfolded alpha-synuclein without restoring the motor phenotype in aged A30P transgenic mice.
Casadei, Nicolas; Pohler, Anne-Maria; Tomas-Zapico, Cristina et al

in Human molecular genetics (2014), 23(3), 767-81

Lewy bodies and neurites are the pathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease. These structures are composed of fibrillized and ubiquitinated alpha-synuclein suggesting that impaired protein clearance is ... [more ▼]

Lewy bodies and neurites are the pathological hallmark of Parkinson's disease. These structures are composed of fibrillized and ubiquitinated alpha-synuclein suggesting that impaired protein clearance is an important event in aggregate formation. The A30P mutation is known for its fast oligomerization, but slow fibrillization rate. Despite its toxicity to neurons, mechanisms involved in either clearance or conversion of A30P alpha-synuclein from its soluble state into insoluble fibrils and their effects in vivo are poorly understood. Synphilin-1 is present in Lewy bodies, interacting with alpha-synuclein in vivo and in vitro and promotes its sequestration into aggresomes, which are thought to act as cytoprotective agents facilitating protein degradation. We therefore crossed animals overexpressing A30P alpha-synuclein with synphilin-1 transgenic mice to analyze its impact on aggregation, protein clearance and phenotype progression. We observed that co-expression of synphilin-1 mildly delayed the motor phenotype caused by A30P alpha-synuclein. Additionally, the presence of N- and C-terminal truncated alpha-synuclein species and fibrils were strongly reduced in double-transgenic mice when compared with single-transgenic A30P mice. Insolubility of mutant A30P and formation of aggresomes was still detectable in aged double-transgenic mice, paralleled by an increase of ubiquitinated proteins and high autophagic activity. Hence, this study supports the notion that co-expression of synphilin-1 promotes formation of autophagic-susceptible aggresomes and consecutively the degradation of human A30P alpha-synuclein. Notably, although synphilin-1 overexpression significantly reduced formation of fibrils and astrogliosis in aged animals, a similar phenotype is present in single- and double-transgenic mice suggesting additional neurotoxic processes in disease progression. [less ▲]

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See detailTransgenic overexpression of the alpha-synuclein interacting protein synphilin-1 leads to behavioral and neuropathological alterations in mice.
Nuber, Silke; Franck, Thomas; Wolburg, Hartwig et al

in Neurogenetics (2010), 11(1), 107-20

Synphilin-1 has been identified as an interacting protein of alpha-synuclein, Parkin, and LRRK2, proteins which are mutated in familial forms of Parkinson disease (PD). Subsequently, synphilin-1 has also ... [more ▼]

Synphilin-1 has been identified as an interacting protein of alpha-synuclein, Parkin, and LRRK2, proteins which are mutated in familial forms of Parkinson disease (PD). Subsequently, synphilin-1 has also been shown to be an intrinsic component of Lewy bodies in sporadic PD. In order to elucidate the role of synphilin-1 in the pathogenesis of PD, we generated transgenic mice overexpressing wild-type and mutant (R621C) synphilin-1 driven by a mouse prion protein promoter. Transgenic expression of both wild-type and the R621C variant synphilin-1 resulted in increased dopamine levels of the nigrostriatal system in 3-month-old mice. Furthermore, we found pathological ubiquitin-positive inclusions in cerebellar sections and dark-cell degeneration of Purkinje cells. Both transgenic mouse lines showed significant reduction of motor skill learning and motor performance. These findings suggest a pathological role of overexpressed synphilin-1 in vivo and will help to further elucidate the mechanisms of protein aggregation and neuronal cell death. [less ▲]

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