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See detailImpaired Mitochondrial-Endoplasmic Reticulum Interaction and Mitophagy in Miro1-Mutant Neurons in Parkinson’s Disease
Berenguer-Escuder, Clara; Grossmann, Dajana; Antony, Paul UL et al

in Human Molecular Genetics (2020)

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See detailNuclear localization and phosphorylation modulate pathological effects of Alpha-Synuclein
Pinho, Raquel; Paiva, Isabel; Jerčić, Kristina Gotovac et al

in Human Molecular Genetics (2018)

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See detailSLP-2 interacts with Parkin in mitochondria and prevents mitochondrial dysfunction in Parkin-deficient human iPSC-derived neurons and Drosophila
Zanon, A; Kalvakuri, S; Rakovic, A et al

in Human Molecular Genetics (2017)

Mutations in the Parkin gene (PARK2) have been linked to a recessive form of Parkinson's disease (PD) characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Deficiencies of ... [more ▼]

Mutations in the Parkin gene (PARK2) have been linked to a recessive form of Parkinson's disease (PD) characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. Deficiencies of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I activity have been observed in the substantia nigra of PD patients, and loss of Parkin results in the reduction of complex I activity shown in various cell and animal models. Using co-immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assays on endogenous proteins, we demonstrate that Parkin interacts with mitochondrial Stomatin-like protein 2 (SLP-2), which also binds the mitochondrial lipid cardiolipin and functions in the assembly of respiratory chain proteins. SH-SY5Y cells with a stable knockdown of Parkin or SLP-2, as well as induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neurons from Parkin mutation carriers, showed decreased complex I activity and altered mitochondrial network morphology. Importantly, induced expression of SLP-2 corrected for these mitochondrial alterations caused by reduced Parkin function in these cells. In-vivo Drosophila studies showed a genetic interaction of Parkin and SLP-2, and further, tissue-specific or global overexpression of SLP-2 transgenes rescued parkin mutant phenotypes, in particular loss of dopaminergic neurons, mitochondrial network structure, reduced ATP production, and flight and motor dysfunction. The physical and genetic interaction between Parkin and SLP-2 and the compensatory potential of SLP-2 suggest a functional epistatic relationship to Parkin and a protective role of SLP-2 in neurons. This finding places further emphasis on the significance of Parkin for the maintenance of mitochondrial function in neurons and provides a novel target for therapeutic strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailExploring the Complete Mutational Space of the LDL receptor LA5 Domain Using Molecular Dynamics: Linking SNPs with Disease Phenotypes in Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Espinosa Angarica, Vladimir UL; Orozco, Modesto; Sancho, Javier

in Human Molecular Genetics (2016), 25(6), 1233-1246

Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic disorder with a prevalence of 0.2 %, represents a high risk factor to develop cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. The majority and most severe FH ... [more ▼]

Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH), a genetic disorder with a prevalence of 0.2 %, represents a high risk factor to develop cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. The majority and most severe FH cases are associated to mutations in the receptor for Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL-r), but the molecular basis explaining the connection between mutation and phenotype is often unknown, which hinders early diagnosis and treatment of the disease. We have used atomistic simulations to explore the complete SNP mutational space (227 mutants) of the LA5 repeat, the key domain for interacting with LDL that is coded in the exon concentrating the highest number of mutations. Four clusters of mutants of different stability have been identified. The majority of the 50 FH known mutations (33) appear distributed in the unstable clusters, i.e. loss of conformational stability explains 2/3 of FH phenotypes. However, 1/3 of FH phenotypes (17 mutations) do not destabilize the LR5 repeat. Combining our simulations with available structural data from different laboratories, we have defined a consensus binding site for the interaction of the LA5 repeat with LDL-r partner proteins and have found that most (16) of the 17 stable FH mutations occur at binding site residues. Thus, LA5-associated FH arises from mutations that cause either loss of stability or a decrease in domain's binding affinity. Based on this finding we propose the likely phenotype of each possible SNP in the LA5 repeat and outline a procedure to make a full computational diagnosis for FH. [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 detailRecessive loss-of-function mutations in AP4S1 cause mild fever-sensitive seizures, developmental delay and spastic paraplegia through loss of AP-4 complex assembly
Hardies, Katia; May, Patrick UL; Djémié, Tania et al

in Human Molecular Genetics (2015), 24(8), 2218-2227

We report two siblings with infantile onset seizures, severe developmental delay and spastic paraplegia, in whom whole genome sequencing revealed compound heterozygous mutations in the AP4S1 gene ... [more ▼]

We report two siblings with infantile onset seizures, severe developmental delay and spastic paraplegia, in whom whole genome sequencing revealed compound heterozygous mutations in the AP4S1 gene, encoding the sigma subunit of the adaptor protein complex 4 (AP-4). The effect of the predicted loss-of-function variants (p.Gln46Profs*9 and p.Arg97*) was further investigated in a patient's fibroblast cell line. We show that the premature stop mutations in AP4S1 result in a reduction of all AP-4 subunits and loss of AP-4 complex assembly. Recruitment of the AP-4 accessory protein, tepsin, to the membrane was also abolished. In retrospect, the clinical phenotype in the family is consistent with previous reports of the AP-4 deficiency syndrome. Our study reports the second family with mutations in AP4S1 and describes the first two patients with loss of AP4S1 and seizures. We further discuss seizure phenotypes in reported patients, highlighting that seizures are part of the clinical manifestation of the AP4-deficiency syndrome. We also hypothesize that endosomal trafficking is a common theme between heritable spastic paraplegia and some inherited epilepsies. [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 detailPredicting the impact of diet and enzymopathies on human small intestinal epithelial cells
Sahoo, Swagatika UL; Thiele, Ines UL

in Human Molecular Genetics (2013), 22(13), 2705-22

Small intestinal epithelial cells (sIECs) have a significant share in whole body metabolism as they perform enzymatic digestion and absorption of nutrients. Furthermore, the diet plays a key role in a ... [more ▼]

Small intestinal epithelial cells (sIECs) have a significant share in whole body metabolism as they perform enzymatic digestion and absorption of nutrients. Furthermore, the diet plays a key role in a number of complex diseases including obesity and diabetes. The impact of diet and altered genetic backgrounds on human metabolism may be studied by using computational modeling. A metabolic reconstruction of human sIECs was manually assembled using the literature. The resulting sIEC model was subjected to two different diets to obtain condition-specific metabolic models. Fifty defined metabolic tasks evaluated the functionalities of these models, along with the respective secretion profiles, which distinguished between impacts of different dietary regimes. Under the average American diet, the sIEC model resulted in higher secretion flux for metabolites implicated in metabolic syndrome. In addition, enzymopathies were analyzed in the context of the sIEC metabolism. Computed results were compared with reported gastrointestinal (GI) pathologies and biochemical defects as well as with biomarker patterns used in their diagnosis. Based on our simulations, we propose that (i) sIEC metabolism is perturbed by numerous enzymopathies, which can be used to study cellular adaptive mechanisms specific for such disorders, and in the identification of novel co-morbidities, (ii) porphyrias are associated with both heme synthesis and degradation and (iii) disturbed intestinal gamma-aminobutyric acid synthesis may be linked to neurological manifestations of various enzymopathies. Taken together, the sIEC model represents a comprehensive, biochemically accurate platform for studying the function of sIEC and their role in whole body metabolism. [less ▲]

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See detailEffect of endogenous mutant and wild-type PINK1 on Parkin in fibroblasts from Parkinson disease patients.
Rakovic, Aleksandar; Grünewald, Anne UL; Seibler, Philip et al

in Human molecular genetics (2010), 19(16), 3124-37

Mutations in the PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1), a mitochondrial serine-threonine kinase, and Parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, are associated with autosomal-recessive forms of Parkinson disease (PD ... [more ▼]

Mutations in the PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1), a mitochondrial serine-threonine kinase, and Parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, are associated with autosomal-recessive forms of Parkinson disease (PD). Both are involved in the maintenance of mitochondrial integrity and protection from multiple stressors. Recently, Parkin was demonstrated to be recruited to impaired mitochondria in a PINK1-dependent manner, where it triggers mitophagy. Using primary human dermal fibroblasts originating from PD patients with various PINK1 mutations, we showed at the endogenous level that (i) PINK1 regulates the stress-induced decrease of endogenous Parkin; (ii) mitochondrially localized PINK1 mediates the stress-induced mitochondrial translocation of Parkin; (iii) endogenous PINK1 is stabilized on depolarized mitochondria; and (iv) mitochondrial accumulation of full-length PINK1 is sufficient but not necessary for the stress-induced loss of Parkin signal and its mitochondrial translocation. Furthermore, we showed that different stressors, depolarizing or non-depolarizing, led to the same effect on detectable Parkin levels and its mitochondrial targeting. Although this effect on Parkin was independent of the mitochondrial membrane potential, we demonstrate a differential effect of depolarizing versus non-depolarizing stressors on endogenous levels of PINK1. Our study shows the necessity to introduce an environmental factor, i.e. stress, to visualize the differences in the interaction of PINK1 and Parkin in mutants versus controls. Establishing human fibroblasts as a suitable model for studying this interaction, we extend data from animal and other cellular models and provide experimental evidence for the generally held notion of PD as a condition with a combined genetic and environmental etiology. [less ▲]

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See detailDissecting the role of the mitochondrial chaperone mortalin in Parkinson's disease: functional impact of disease-related variants on mitochondrial homeostasis.
Burbulla, Lena F.; Schelling, Carina; Kato, Hiroki et al

in Human molecular genetics (2010), 19(22), 4437-52

The mitochondrial chaperone mortalin has been linked to neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD) based on reduced protein levels in affected brain regions of PD patients and its interaction with the ... [more ▼]

The mitochondrial chaperone mortalin has been linked to neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD) based on reduced protein levels in affected brain regions of PD patients and its interaction with the PD-associated protein DJ-1. Recently, two amino acid exchanges in the ATPase domain (R126W) and the substrate-binding domain (P509S) of mortalin were identified in Spanish PD patients. Here, we identified a separate and novel variant (A476T) in the substrate-binding domain of mortalin in German PD patients. To define a potential role as a susceptibility factor in PD, we characterized the functions of all three variants in different cellular models. In vitro import assays revealed normal targeting of all mortalin variants. In neuronal and non-neuronal human cell lines, the disease-associated variants caused a mitochondrial phenotype of increased reactive oxygen species and reduced mitochondrial membrane potential, which were exacerbated upon proteolytic stress. These functional impairments correspond with characteristic alterations of the mitochondrial network in cells overexpressing mutant mortalin compared with wild-type (wt), which were confirmed in fibroblasts from a carrier of the A476T variant. In line with a loss of function hypothesis, knockdown of mortalin in human cells caused impaired mitochondrial function that was rescued by wt mortalin, but not by the variants. Our genetic and functional studies of novel disease-associated variants in the mortalin gene define a loss of mortalin function, which causes impaired mitochondrial function and dynamics. Our results support the role of this mitochondrial chaperone in neurodegeneration and underscore the concept of impaired mitochondrial protein quality control in PD. [less ▲]

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See detailAbsence of alpha 7 integrin in dystrophin-deficient mice causes a myopathy similar to Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Guo, Chun; Willem, Michael; Werner, Alexander et al

in Human molecular genetics (2006), 15(6), 989-98

Both the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex and alpha7beta1 integrin have critical roles in the maintenance of muscle integrity via the provision of mechanical links between muscle fibres and the basement ... [more ▼]

Both the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex and alpha7beta1 integrin have critical roles in the maintenance of muscle integrity via the provision of mechanical links between muscle fibres and the basement membrane. Absence of either dystrophin or alpha7 integrin results in a muscular dystrophy. To clarify the role of alpha7 integrin and dystrophin in muscle development and function, we generated integrin alpha7/dystrophin double-mutant knockout (DKO) mice. Surprisingly, DKO mice survived post-natally and were indistinguishable from wild-type, integrin alpha7-deficient and mdx mice at birth, but died within 24-28 days. Histological analysis revealed a severe muscular dystrophy in DKO mice with endomysial fibrosis and ectopic calcification. Weight loss was correlated with the loss of muscle fibres, indicating that progressive muscle wasting in the double mutant was most likely due to inadequate muscle regeneration. The data further support that premature death of DKO mice is due to cardiac and/or respiratory failure. The integrin alpha7/dystrophin-deficient mouse model, therefore, resembles the pathological changes seen in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and suggests that the different clinical severity of dystrophin deficiency in human and mouse may be due to a fine-tuned difference in expression of dystrophin and integrin alpha7 in both species. Together, these findings indicate an essential role for integrin alpha7 in the maintenance of dystrophin-deficient muscles. [less ▲]

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See detailLoss of function mutations in the gene encoding Omi/HtrA2 in Parkinson's disease.
Strauss, Karsten M.; Martins, Luisa UL; Plun-Favreau, Helene et al

in Human molecular genetics (2005), 14(15), 2099-111

Recently targeted disruption of Omi/HtrA2 has been found to cause neurodegeneration and a parkinsonian phenotype in mice. Using a candidate gene approach, we performed a mutation screening of the Omi ... [more ▼]

Recently targeted disruption of Omi/HtrA2 has been found to cause neurodegeneration and a parkinsonian phenotype in mice. Using a candidate gene approach, we performed a mutation screening of the Omi/HtrA2 gene in German Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. In four patients, we identified a novel heterozygous G399S mutation, which was absent in healthy controls. Moreover, we identified a novel A141S polymorphism that was associated with PD (P<0.05). Both mutations resulted in defective activation of the protease activity of Omi/HtrA2. Immunohistochemistry and functional analysis in stably transfected cells revealed that S399 mutant Omi/HtrA2 and to a lesser extent, the risk allele of the A141S polymorphism induced mitochondrial dysfunction associated with altered mitochondrial morphology. Cells overexpressing S399 mutant Omi/HtrA2 were more susceptible to stress-induced cell death than wild-type. On the basis of functional genomics, our results provide a novel link between mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegeneration in PD. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification and functional characterization of a novel R621C mutation in the synphilin-1 gene in Parkinson's disease.
Marx, Frank P.; Holzmann, Carsten; Strauss, Karsten M. et al

in Human molecular genetics (2003), 12(11), 1223-31

Synphilin-1 is linked to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) based on its identification as an alpha-synuclein (PARK1) and parkin (PARK2) interacting protein. Moreover, synphilin-1 is a component ... [more ▼]

Synphilin-1 is linked to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD) based on its identification as an alpha-synuclein (PARK1) and parkin (PARK2) interacting protein. Moreover, synphilin-1 is a component of Lewy bodies (LB) in brains of sporadic PD patients. Therefore, we performed a detailed mutation analysis of the synphilin-1 gene in 328 German familial and sporadic PD patients. In two apparently sporadic PD patients we deciphered a novel C to T transition in position 1861 of the coding sequence leading to an amino acid substitution from arginine to cysteine in position 621 (R621C). This mutation was absent in a total of 702 chromosomes of healthy German controls. To define a possible role of mutant synphilin-1 in the pathogenesis of PD we performed functional analyses in SH-SY5Y cells. We found synphilin-1 capable of producing cytoplasmic inclusions in transfected cells. Moreover we observed a significantly reduced number of inclusions in cells expressing C621 synphilin-1 compared with cells expressing wild-type (wt) synphilin-1, when subjected to proteasomal inhibition. C621 synphilin-1 transfected cells were more susceptible to staurosporine-induced cell death than cells expressing wt synphilin-1. Our findings argue in favour of a causative role of the R621C mutation in the synphilin-1 gene in PD and suggest that the formation of intracellular inclusions may be beneficial to cells and that a mutation in synphilin-1 that reduces this ability may sensitize neurons to cellular stress. [less ▲]

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See detailThe IC-SNURF–SNRPN transcript serves as a host for multiple small nucleolar RNA species and as an antisense RNA for UBE3A
Runte, Maren UL; Huettenhofer, A; Groß, S et al

in Human Molecular Genetics (2001), 10(23), 2687-2700

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See detailA mouse model for valproate teratogenicity: parental effects, homeotic transformations, and altered HOX expression.
Faiella, A.; Wernig, M.; Consalez, G. G. et al

in Human Molecular Genetics (2000), 9(2), 227-36

Valproate (VPA) is one of several effective anti-epileptic and mood-stabilizing drugs, many of which are also potent teratogens in humans and several other mammalian species. Variable teratogenicity among ... [more ▼]

Valproate (VPA) is one of several effective anti-epileptic and mood-stabilizing drugs, many of which are also potent teratogens in humans and several other mammalian species. Variable teratogenicity among inbred strains of laboratory mice suggests that genetic factors influence susceptibility. While studying the genetic basis for VPA teratogenicity in mice, we discovered that parental factors influence fetal susceptibility to induced malformations. Detailed examination of these malformations revealed that many were homeotic transformations. To test whether VPA, like retinoic acid (RA), alters HOX expression, pluripotent human embryonal carcinoma cells were treated with VPA or RA and Hox expression assessed. Altered expression of specific Hox genes may thus account for the homeotic transformations and other malformations found in VPA-treated fetuses. [less ▲]

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