bims-proarb Biomed News
on Proteostasis in Aging and Regenerative Biology
Issue of 2021‒05‒16
ten papers selected by
Rich Giadone
Harvard University

  1. Mol Neurobiol. 2021 May 13.
      Previous studies have revealed that the infectious scrapie isoform of prion protein (PrPSc) harbored in the skin tissue of patients or animals with prion diseases can be amplified and detected through the serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA) or real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assays. These findings suggest that skin PrPSc-seeding activity may serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis of prion diseases; however, its utility as a biomarker for prion therapeutics remains largely unknown. Cellulose ethers (CEs, such as TC-5RW), widely used as food and pharmaceutical additives, have recently been shown to prolong the lifespan of prion-infected mice and hamsters. Here we report that in transgenic (Tg) mice expressing hamster cellular prion protein (PrPC) infected with the 263K prion, the prion-seeding activity becomes undetectable in the skin tissues of TC-5RW-treated Tg mice by both sPMCA and RT-QuIC assays, whereas such prion-seeding activity is readily detectable in the skin of untreated mice. Notably, TC-5RW exhibits an inhibitory effect on the in vitro amplification of PrPSc in both skin and brain tissues by sPMCA and RT-QuIC. Moreover, we reveal that TC-5RW is able to directly decrease protease-resistant PrPSc and inhibit the seeding activity of PrPSc from chronic wasting disease and various human prion diseases. Our results suggest that the level of prion-seeding activity in the skin may serve as a useful biomarker for assessing the therapeutic efficacy of compounds in a clinical trial of prion diseases and that TC-5RW may have the potential for the prevention/treatment of human prion diseases.
    Keywords:  Cellulose ethers; Prion diseases; Prions; Real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC); Serial protein misfolding cyclic amplification (sPMCA); TC-5RW
  2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 May 18. pii: e2023342118. [Epub ahead of print]118(20):
      Febrile seizures (FSs) are the most common convulsion in infancy and childhood. Considering the limitations of current treatments, it is important to examine the mechanistic cause of FSs. Prompted by a genome-wide association study identifying TMEM16C (also known as ANO3) as a risk factor of FSs, we showed previously that loss of TMEM16C function causes hippocampal neuronal hyperexcitability [Feenstra et al., Nat. Genet. 46, 1274-1282 (2014)]. Our previous study further revealed a reduction in the number of warm-sensitive neurons that increase their action potential firing rate with rising temperature of the brain region harboring these hypothalamic neurons. Whereas central neuronal hyperexcitability has been implicated in FSs, it is unclear whether the maximal temperature reached during fever or the rate of body temperature rise affects FSs. Here we report that mutant rodent pups with TMEM16C eliminated from all or a subset of their central neurons serve as FS models with deficient thermoregulation. Tmem16c knockout (KO) rat pups at postnatal day 10 (P10) are more susceptible to hyperthermia-induced seizures. Moreover, they display a more rapid rise of body temperature upon heat exposure. In addition, conditional knockout (cKO) mouse pups (P11) with TMEM16C deletion from the brain display greater susceptibility of hyperthermia-induced seizures as well as deficiency in thermoregulation. We also found similar phenotypes in P11 cKO mouse pups with TMEM16C deletion from Ptgds-expressing cells, including temperature-sensitive neurons in the preoptic area (POA) of the anterior hypothalamus, the brain region that controls body temperature. These findings suggest that homeostatic thermoregulation plays an important role in FSs.
    Keywords:  TMEM16C (Ano3); febrile seizures; preoptic area (POA); temperature-sensitive neurons; thermoregulation
  3. Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2021 Jun 11. 21 434-450
      Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of neurodegeneration and cognitive dysfunction in the elderly. Identifying molecular signals that mitigate and reverse neurodegeneration in AD may be exploited therapeutically. Transgenic AD mice (PSAPP) exhibit learning and memory deficits at 9 and 11 months, respectively, with associated decreased expression of caveolin-1 (Cav-1), a membrane/lipid raft (MLR) scaffolding protein necessary for synaptic and neuroplasticity. Neuronal-targeted gene therapy using synapsin-Cav-1 cDNA (SynCav1) was delivered to the hippocampus of PSAPP mice at 3 months using adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9). Bilateral SynCav1 gene therapy was able to preserve MLRs profile, learning and memory, hippocampal dendritic arbor, synaptic ultrastructure, and axonal myelin content in 9- and 11-month PSAPP mice, independent of reducing toxic amyloid deposits and astrogliosis. Our data indicate that SynCav1 gene therapy may be an option for AD and potentially in other forms of neurodegeneration of unknown etiology.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; MLRs; PSAPP; caveolin-1; gene therapy; membrane lipid raft; synaptic ultrastructure
  4. Stem Cell Reports. 2021 May 08. pii: S2213-6711(21)00218-6. [Epub ahead of print]
  5. Nucleic Acids Res. 2021 May 14. pii: gkab357. [Epub ahead of print]
      Alternative splicing results in multiple transcripts of the same gene, possibly encoding for different protein isoforms with different domains. Whereas it is possible to manually determine the effect of alternative splicing on the domain composition for a single event, the process requires the tedious integration of several data sources; it is error prone and not feasible for genome-wide characterization of domains affected by differential splicing. To fulfill the need for an automated solution, we developed the Domain Change Presenter (DoChaP,, a web server for the visualization of exon-domain associations. DoChaP visualizes all transcripts of a given gene, the encoded proteins and their domains, and enables a comparison between the transcripts and between their protein products. The colors and organization make the structural effect of alternative splicing events on protein structures easily identified. To enable the study of the conservation of exons structure, alternative splicing, and the effect of alternative splicing on protein domains, DoChaP also provides a two-species comparison of exon-domain associations. DoChaP thus provides a unique and easy-to-use visualization of the exon-domain association and conservation, and will facilitate the study of the structural effects of alternative splicing in health and disease.
  6. Transl Oncol. 2021 May 08. pii: S1936-5233(21)00106-6. [Epub ahead of print]14(8): 101114
      Across many cancer types in adults, upregulation of the nuclear-to-cytoplasmic transport protein Exportin-1 (XPO1) correlates with poor outcome and responsiveness to selinexor, an FDA-approved XPO1 inhibitor. Similar data are emerging in childhood cancers, for which selinexor is being evaluated in early phase clinical studies. Using proteomic profiling of primary tumor material from patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, as well as gene expression profiling from independent cohorts, we have demonstrated that XPO1 overexpression correlates with poor patient prognosis. Neuroblastoma cell lines are also sensitive to selinexor in the low nanomolar range. Based on these findings and knowledge that bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, blocks degradation of XPO1 cargo proteins, we hypothesized that combination treatment with selinexor and bortezomib would synergistically inhibit neuroblastoma cellular proliferation. We observed that selinexor promoted nuclear retention of IkB and that bortezomib augmented the ability of selinexor to induce cell-cycle arrest and cell death by apoptosis. This synergy was abrogated through siRNA knockdown of IkB. The synergistic effect of combining selinexor and bortezomib in vitro provides rationale for further investigation of this combination treatment for patients with high-risk neuroblastoma.
    Keywords:  Bortezomib; Exportin-1; IkB; NF-kB; Neuroblastoma; Selinexor
  7. Mol Psychiatry. 2021 May 14.
      Dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) are critical to coping with stress. However, molecular mechanisms regulating their activity and stress-induced depression were not well understood. We found that the receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB4 in VTA was activated in stress-susceptible mice. Deleting ErbB4 in VTA or in DA neurons, or chemical genetic inhibition of ErbB4 kinase activity in VTA suppressed the development of chronic social defeat stress (CSDS)-induced depression-like behaviors. ErbB4 activation required the expression of NRG1 in the laterodorsal tegmentum (LDTg); LDTg-specific deletion of NRG1 inhibited depression-like behaviors. NRG1 and ErbB4 suppressed potassium currents of VTA DA neurons and increased their firing activity. Finally, we showed that acute inhibition of ErbB4 after stress attenuated DA neuron hyperactivity and expression of depression-like behaviors. Together, these observations demonstrate a critical role of NRG1-ErbB4 signaling in regulating depression-like behaviors and identify an unexpected mechanism by which the LDTg-VTA circuit regulates the activity of DA neurons.
  8. Cell Rep. 2021 May 11. pii: S2211-1247(21)00462-9. [Epub ahead of print]35(6): 109123
      Dopaminergic projections exert widespread influence over multiple brain regions and modulate various behaviors including movement, reward learning, and motivation. It is increasingly appreciated that dopamine neurons are heterogeneous in their gene expression, circuitry, physiology, and function. Current approaches to target dopamine neurons are largely based on single gene drivers, which either label all dopamine neurons or mark a subset but concurrently label non-dopaminergic neurons. Here, we establish a mouse line with Flpo recombinase expressed from the endogenous Slc6a3 (dopamine active transporter [DAT]) locus. DAT-P2A-Flpo mice can be used together with Cre-expressing mouse lines to efficiently and selectively label dopaminergic subpopulations using Cre/Flp-dependent intersectional strategies. We demonstrate the utility of this approach by generating DAT-P2A-Flpo;NEX-Cre mice that specifically label Neurod6-expressing dopamine neurons, which project to the nucleus accumbens medial shell. DAT-P2A-Flpo mice add to a growing toolbox of genetic resources that will help parse the diverse functions mediated by dopaminergic circuits.
    Keywords:  DAT; DAT-dopamine neurons; Flp recombinase; Neurod6; TrailMap; intersectional genetics; nucleus accumbens; substantia nigra pars compacta; ventral tegmental area
  9. Hepatology. 2021 May 12.
      Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide an important tool for the generation of patient-derived cells, including hepatocyte-like cells, via developmental cues through an endoderm intermediate. However, most iPSC lines fail to differentiate into endoderm, with induction resulting in apoptosis. To address this issue, we built upon published methods to develop an improved protocol. We discovered that doxycycline dramatically enhances the efficiency of iPSC to endoderm differentiation by inhibiting apoptosis and promoting proliferation via the AKT (protein kinase B) pathway. We tested this new protocol in more than 70 iPSC lines, 90% of which consistently formed complete sheets of endoderm. Endoderm generated by our method achieves similar transcriptomic profiles, expression of endoderm protein markers, and the ability to be further differentiated to downstream lineages. Furthermore, this method achieves a four-fold increase in endoderm cell number and will accelerate studies of human diseases in vitro and facilitate the expansion of iPSC-derived cells for transplantation studies.
  10. Mol Psychiatry. 2021 May 10.
      Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) is essential for brain formation and function. As such, de novo mutations in ADNP lead to the autistic ADNP syndrome and somatic ADNP mutations may drive Alzheimer's disease (AD) tauopathy. Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) is positively associated with aging, the major risk for AD. Here, we revealed two key interaction sites for ADNP and SIRT1. One, at the microtubule end-binding protein (EB1 and EB3) Tau level, with EB1/EB3 serving as amplifiers for microtubule dynamics, synapse formation, axonal transport, and protection against tauopathy. Two, on the DNA/chromatin site, with yin yang 1, histone deacetylase 2, and ADNP, sharing a DNA binding motif and regulating SIRT1, ADNP, and EB1 (MAPRE1). This interaction was linked to sex- and age-dependent altered histone modification, associated with ADNP/SIRT1/WD repeat-containing protein 5, which mediates the assembly of histone modification complexes. Single-cell RNA and protein expression analyses as well as gene expression correlations placed SIRT1-ADNP and either MAPRE1 (EB1), MAPRE3 (EB3), or both in the same mouse and human cell; however, while MAPRE1 seemed to be similarly regulated to ADNP and SIRT1, MAPRE3 seemed to deviate. Finally, we demonstrated an extremely tight correlation for the gene transcripts described above, including related gene products. This correlation was specifically abolished in affected postmortem AD and Parkinson's disease brain select areas compared to matched controls, while being maintained in blood samples. Thus, we identified an ADNP-SIRT1 complex that may serve as a new target for the understanding of brain degeneration.