bims-proned Biomed News
on Proteostasis in neurodegeneration
Issue of 2023‒11‒26
eleven papers selected by
Verena Kohler, Umeå University

  1. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2023 Nov 22. pii: S0960-894X(23)00442-0. [Epub ahead of print] 129564
      The aggregation of α-Syn is a pivotal mechanism in Parkinson's disease (PD). Effectively maintaining α-Syn proteostasis involves both inhibiting its aggregation and promoting disaggregation. In this study, we developed a series of aromatic amide derivatives based on Rhein. Two of these compounds, 4,5-dihydroxy-N-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-9,10-dioxo-9,10-dihydroanthracene-2-carboxamide (a5) and 4,5-dihydroxy-N-(2-hydroxy-4-chlorophenyl)-9,10-dioxo-9,10-dihydroanthracene-2-carboxamide (a8), exhibited good binding affinities to α-Syn residues, demonstrating promising inhibitory activity against α-Syn aggregation in vitro, with low IC50 values (1.35 and 1.08 μM, respectivly). These inhibitors acted throughout the entire aggregation process by stabilizing α-Syn's conformation and preventing the formation of β-sheet aggregates. They also effectively disassembled preformed α-Syn oligomers and fibrils. Preliminary mechanistic insights indicated that they bound to the specific domain within fibrils, inducing fibril instability, collapse, and the formation of smaller aggregates and monomeric α-Syn units. This research underscores the therapeutic potential of Rhein's aromatic amides in targeting α-Syn aggregation for PD treatment and suggests broader applications in managing and preventing neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Aromatic amide derivatives of Rhein; Mechanism; Synthesis; α-Syn aggregation inhibitor Disaggregation
  2. Int J Biol Macromol. 2023 Nov 21. pii: S0141-8130(23)05210-8. [Epub ahead of print]255 128311
      The treatment of Parkinson's disease is a global medical challenge. α-Synuclein (α-Syn) is the causative protein in Parkinson's disease and is closely linked to its progression. Therefore, inhibiting the pathological aggregation of α-Syn and its neurotoxicity is essential for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. In this study, α-Syn and recombinant human HspB5-ACD structural domain protein (AHspB5) were produced using the BL21(DE3) E. coli prokaryotic expression system, and then the role and mechanism of AHspB5 in inhibiting the pathological aggregation of α-Syn and its neurotoxicity were investigated. As a result, we expressed α-Syn and AHspB5 proteins and characterised the proteins. In vitro experiments showed that AHspB5 could inhibit the formation of α-Syn oligomers and fibrils; in cellular experiments, AHspB5 could prevent α-Syn-induced neuronal cell dysfunction, oxidative stress damage and apoptosis, and its mechanism of action was related to the TH-DA pathway and mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway; in animal experiments, AHspB5 could inhibit behavioural abnormalities, oxidative stress damage and loss of dopaminergic neurons. In conclusion, this work is expected to elucidate the mechanism and biological effects of AHspB5 on the pathological aggregation of α-Syn, providing a new pathway for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and laying the foundation for recombinant AHspB5.
    Keywords:  ACD structural domain; HspB5; Neurotoxicity; Parkinson; α-Synuclein
  3. STAR Protoc. 2023 Nov 21. pii: S2666-1667(23)00705-0. [Epub ahead of print]4(4): 102738
      Studying Parkinson's disease (PD) is complex due to a lack of cellular models mimicking key aspects of protein pathology. Here, we present a protocol for inducing and monitoring α-synuclein aggregation in living cells using optogenetics. We describe steps for plasmid transduction, biochemical validation, immunocytochemistry, and live-cell confocal imaging. These induced aggregates fulfill the cardinal features of authentic protein inclusions observed in PD-diseased brains and offer a tool to study the role of protein aggregation in neurodegeneration. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Bérard et al.1.
    Keywords:  Cell Biology; Microscopy; Neuroscience
  4. Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2023 Nov 23. pii: S0959-440X(23)00209-9. [Epub ahead of print]83 102735
      Proteins carry out the vast majority of functions in cells, but can only do so when properly folded. Following stress or mutation, proteins can lose their proper fold, resulting in misfolding, inactivity, and aggregation-posing a threat to cellular health. In order to counteract protein aggregation, cells have evolved a remarkable subset of molecular chaperones, called protein disaggregases, which collaboratively possess the ability to forcibly untangle protein aggregates. Here, we review the different chaperone disaggregation machineries present in the human cytosol and their mechanisms of action. Understanding, how these disaggregases function, is both universally and clinically important, as protein aggregation has been linked to multiple, debilitating neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Hsp110; Hsp70; J-domain proteins (JDPs); Protein disaggregation; amyloid fibers; molecular chaperones; protein refolding
  5. J Mov Disord. 2023 Nov 22.
      Intracellular α-synuclein (α-syn) inclusions are a neuropathological hallmark of Lewy body disease (LBD) and multiple system atrophy (MSA), both of which are termed synucleinopathy. LBD is defined by Lewy bodies and Lewy neurites in neurons, while MSA displays glial cytoplasmic inclusions in oligodendrocytes. Pathological α-syn adopts an ordered filamentous structure with a 5-10 nm filament diameter, and this conformational change has been suggested to be involved in the disease onset and progression. Synucleinopathy also exhibits characteristic ultrastructural and biochemical properties of α-syn filaments, and α-syn strains with distinct conformations have been identified. Numerous experimental studies have supported the idea that pathological α-syn self-amplifies and spreads throughout the brain, during which processes the conformation of α-syn filaments may drive the disease specificity. In this review, we summarize the ultrastructural features and heterogeneity of α-syn filaments in the brains of patients with synucleinopathy and in experimental models of seeded α-syn aggregation.
    Keywords:  amyloids; seeded aggregation; strains; synucleinopathy; α-synuclein
  6. J Clin Med. 2023 Nov 11. pii: 7045. [Epub ahead of print]12(22):
      Seven major neurodegenerative diseases and their variants share many overlapping biomarkers that are calmodulin-binding proteins: Alzheimer's disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal lobar dementia (FTD), Huntington's disease (HD), Lewy body disease (LBD), multiple sclerosis (MS), and Parkinson's disease (PD). Calcium dysregulation is an early and persistent event in each of these diseases, with calmodulin serving as an initial and primary target of increased cytosolic calcium. Considering the central role of calcium dysregulation and its downstream impact on calcium signaling, calmodulin has gained interest as a major regulator of neurodegenerative events. Here, we show that calmodulin serves a critical role in neurodegenerative diseases via binding to and regulating an abundance of biomarkers, many of which are involved in multiple neurodegenerative diseases. Of special interest are the shared functions of calmodulin in the generation of protein biomarker aggregates in AD, HD, LBD, and PD, where calmodulin not only binds to amyloid beta, pTau, alpha-synuclein, and mutant huntingtin but also, via its regulation of transglutaminase 2, converts them into toxic protein aggregates. It is suggested that several calmodulin binding proteins could immediately serve as primary drug targets, while combinations of calmodulin binding proteins could provide simultaneous insight into the onset and progression of multiple neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  calmodulin hypothesis; calmodulin-binding proteins; neurodegeneration; protein biomarkers; risk factor proteins; therapeutic targets; toxic protein aggregation
  7. bioRxiv. 2023 Nov 11. pii: 2023.11.07.566060. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cellular stress pathways that inhibit translation initiation lead to transient formation of cytoplasmic RNA/protein complexes known as stress granules. Many of the proteins found within stress granules and the dynamics of stress granule formation and dissolution are implicated in neurodegenerative disease. Whether stress granule formation is protective or harmful in neurodegenerative conditions is not known. To address this, we took advantage of the alphavirus protein nsP3, which selectively binds dimers of the central stress granule nucleator protein G3BP ( rin in Drosophila ) and markedly reduces stress granule formation without directly impacting the protein translational inhibitory pathways that trigger stress granule formation. In Drosophila and rodent neurons, reducing stress granule formation with nsP3 had modest impacts on lifespan even in the setting of serial stress pathway induction. In contrast, reducing stress granule formation in models of ataxia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia largely exacerbated disease phenotypes. These data support a model whereby stress granules mitigate, rather than promote, neurodegenerative cascades.
  8. Surv Ophthalmol. 2023 Nov 22. pii: S0039-6257(23)00162-5. [Epub ahead of print]
      Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the elderly, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer' disease and Parkinson disease are debilitating conditions that affect millions worldwide. Despite the different clinical manifestations of these diseases, growing evidence suggests that they share common pathways in their pathogenesis including inflammation, oxidative stress, and impaired autophagy. In this review, we explore the complex interactions between AMD and neurodegenerative disorders, focusing on their shared mechanisms and potential therapeutic targets. We also discuss the current opportunities and challenges for developing effective treatments that can target these pathways to prevent or slow down disease progression in AMD. Some of the promising strategies that we explore include modulating the immune response, reducing oxidative stress, enhancing autophagy and lysosomal function, and targeting specific protein aggregates or pathways. Ultimately, a better understanding of the shared pathways between AMD and neurodegenerative disorders may pave the way for novel and more efficacious treatments.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease; Retina; age related macular degeneration
  9. Curr Issues Mol Biol. 2023 Nov 02. 45(11): 8816-8839
      Neuroinflammation, a core pathological feature observed in several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), is rapidly gaining attention as a target in understanding the molecular underpinnings of these disorders. Glial cells, endothelial cells, peripheral immune cells, and astrocytes produce a variety of pro-inflammatory mediators that exacerbate the disease progression. Additionally, microglial cells play a complex role in AD, facilitating the clearance of pathological amyloid-beta peptide (Aβ) plaques and aggregates of the tau protein. Tau proteins, traditionally associated with microtubule stabilization, have come under intense scrutiny for their perturbed roles in neurodegenerative conditions. In this narrative review, we focus on recent advances from molecular insights that have revealed aberrant tau post-translational modifications, such as phosphorylation and acetylation, serving as pathological hallmarks. These modifications also trigger the activation of CNS-resident immune cells, such as microglia and astrocytes substantially contributing to neuroinflammation. This intricate relationship between tau pathologies and neuroinflammation fosters a cascading impact on neural pathophysiology. Furthermore, understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning tau's influence on neuroinflammation presents a frontier for the development of innovative immunotherapies. Neurodegenerative diseases have been relatively intractable to conventional pharmacology using small molecules. We further comprehensively document the many alternative approaches using immunotherapy targeting tau pathological epitopes and structures with a wide array of antibodies. Clinical trials are discussed using these therapeutic approaches, which have both promising and disappointing outcomes. Future directions for tau immunotherapies may include combining treatments with Aβ immunotherapy, which may result in more significant clinical outcomes for neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid-beta peptide; hyperphosphorylation; immunotherapy; monoclonal antibody; neuroinflammation; protein aggregation; tau protein
  10. Int J Biol Macromol. 2023 Nov 20. pii: S0141-8130(23)05207-8. [Epub ahead of print] 128308
      Neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) are characterized by nervous system damage, often influenced by genetic and aging factors. Pathological analysis frequently reveals the presence of aggregated toxic proteins. The intricate and poorly understood origins of these diseases have hindered progress in early diagnosis and drug development. The development of novel in-vitro and in-vivo models could enhance our comprehension of ND mechanisms and facilitate clinical treatment advancements. Microfluidic chips are employed to establish three-dimensional culture conditions, replicating the human ecological niche and creating a microenvironment conducive to neuronal cell survival. The incorporation of mechatronic controls unifies the chip, cells, and culture medium optimizing living conditions for the cells. This study provides a comprehensive overview of microfluidic chip applications in drug and biomarker screening for neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, multiple sclerosis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Our Lab-on-a-Chip system releases toxic proteins to simulate the pathological characteristics of neurodegenerative diseases, encompassing β-amyloid, α-synuclein, huntingtin, TAR DNA-binding protein 43, and Myelin Basic Protein. Investigating molecular and cellular interactions in vitro can enhance our understanding of disease mechanisms while minimizing harmful protein levels and can aid in screening potential therapeutic agents. We anticipate that our research will promote the utilization of microfluidic chips in both fundamental research and clinical applications for neurodegenerative diseases.
    Keywords:  Biomarkers; Drugs; Microfluidic chip; Model; Neurodegenerative diseases
  11. Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Nov 16. pii: 16408. [Epub ahead of print]24(22):
      Parkinson's disease (PD) is a globally common progressive neurodegenerative disease resulting from the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. Increased α-synuclein (α-syn) is associated with the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons and non-motor symptoms like gastrointestinal disorders. In this study, we investigated the association between serum/glucocorticoid-related kinase 1 (SGK1) and α-syn in the colon of a PD mouse model. SGK1 and α-syn expression patterns were opposite in the surrounding colon tissue, with decreased SGK1 expression and increased α-syn expression in the PD group. Immunofluorescence analyses revealed the colocation of SGK1 and α-syn; the PD group demonstrated weaker SGK1 expression and stronger α-syn expression than the control group. Immunoblotting analysis showed that Na+/K+ pump ATPase α1 expression levels were significantly increased in the PD group. In SW480 cells with SGK1 knockdown using SGK1 siRNA, decreasing SGK1 levels corresponded with significant increases in the expression levels of α-syn and ATPase α1. These results suggest that SGK1 significantly regulates Na+/K+ pump ATPase, influencing the relationship between electrolyte balance and fecal formation in the PD mouse model. Gastrointestinal disorders are some of the major prodromal symptoms of PD. Therefore, modulating SGK1 expression could be an important strategy for controlling PD.
    Keywords:  Na+/K+ pump ATPase; Parkinson’s disease; SGK1; SW480; α-synuclein