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Posts Tagged ‘Beta amyloid’


Late Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and One-carbon Metabolism

Reporter and Curator: Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D.

Abbreviations:

AD (Alzheimer’s disease)

amyloid-beta ()

late onset AD (LOAD)

GSK-3β (glycogen synthase kinase 3-beta)

PP2A (protein phosphatase 2A)

homocysteine (HCY)

S-adenosylmethionine (SAM)

methionine synthase (MS)

betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT)

cystathionine beta synthase (CBS)

cysteine (Cys)

glutathione (GSH)

S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH)

adenosine (Ado)

presenilin 1 (PSEN1)

beta-site APP cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE)

The two main molecular signs of AD are:

  • Extracellular deposits of Amyloid-beta (Aβ) peptides (amyloidogenic pathway) and
  • Intracellular deposits of phosphorylated protein TAU (fibrillogenic pathway)

For many years, both these two pathways (amyloidogenic and fibrillogenic) contended the role of “responsible” for AD onset in the researchers’ debates, even originating respectively the two groups of “BAptists” and “TAUists” scientists. In the recent years, however, these absolutist hypotheses were confuted by the emerging data evidencing that late onset AD (LOAD) has the characteristics to be considered a multifactorial disease and by scientific reports demonstrating possible interconnection between (but not limited to) the two above-mentioned “pathogenic” pathways.

For example, it was demonstrated that

  • GSK-3β (glycogen synthase kinase 3-beta), a phosphorylase involved in tau phosphorylation, is also responsible for APP (Amyloid Precursor Protein) phosphorylation and that
  • Aβ peptides are able to induce GSK-3β.

Among the several possible cocauses and interconnected pathways involved in LOAD onset and progression, a very rapidly emerging topic is related to the role of epigenetics. Moreover, it was hypothesized that methylation impairment could be a common promoter and/or a connection between amyloid and tau pathogenic pathways involving not only DNA methylation but also protein methylation mechanisms. This observation rises from studies on PP2A (protein phosphatase 2A) protein methylation showing that downregulation of neuronal PP2A methylation occurs in affected brain regions from AD patients, causing the accumulation of both phosphorylated tau and APP isoforms and increased secretion of Aβ peptides.

Altered methylation metabolism could represent the connection between B vitamins and LOAD. B vitamins are essential cofactors of homocysteine (HCY) metabolism, also called 1-carbon metabolism. One-carbon metabolism is a complex biochemical pathway regulated by the presence of folate, vitamin B12 and B6 (among other metabolites), and leading to the production of methyl donor molecule S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). High HCY and low B vitamin levels are associated to LOAD, even if a cause-effect relationship is still far to be ascertained; moreover, a clear correlation between HCY and Aβ levels has been found.

In addition, SAM, the principal metabolite in the HCY cycle and the main methyl donor in eukaryotes, appears to be altered in some neurological disorders, including AD. HCY, a thiol containing amino acid produced during the methionine metabolism via the adenosylated compound SAM, once formed is either converted to cysteine by transsulfuration or remethylated to form methionine. In the remethylation pathway HCY is remethylated by the vitamin B12-dependent enzyme methionine synthase (MS) using 5-methyltetrahydrofolate as cosubstrate. Alternatively, mainly in liver, betaine can donate a methyl group in a vitamin B12-independent reaction, catalyzed by betaine-homocysteine methyltransferase (BHMT). In the transsulfuration pathway, HCY can condense with serine to form cystathionine in a reaction catalyzed by the cystathionine beta synthase (CBS), a vitamin B6-dependent enzyme, and the cystathionine is hydrolyzed to cysteine (Cys). Cysteine is used for protein synthesis, metabolized to sulfate, or used for glutathione (GSH) synthesis. The tripeptide GSH is the most abundant intracellular nonprotein thiol, and it is a versatile reductant, serving multiple biological functions, acting, among others, as a quencher of free radicals and a cosubstrate in the enzymatic reduction of peroxides. HCY accumulation causes the accumulation of S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) because of the reversibility of the reaction converting SAH to HCY and adenosine (Ado); the equilibrium dynamic favors SAH synthesis. The reaction proceeds in the hydrolytic direction only if HCY and adenosine are efficiently removed. SAH is a strong DNA methyltransferases inhibitor, which reinforces DNA hypomethylation (Chiang et al., 1996). Thus, an alteration of the metabolism through either remethylation or transsulfuration pathways can lead to hyperhomocysteinemia, decrease of SAM/SAH ratio (methylation potential; MP), and alteration of GSH levels, suggesting that hypomethylation is a mechanism through which HCY is involved in vascular disease and AD, together with the oxidative damage. To add insult to injury, oxidative stress also promotes the formation of oxidized derivatives of HCY, like homocysteic acid and homocysteine sulfinic acid. These compounds, through the interaction with glutamate receptors, generate intracellular free radicals.

The first observations about B vitamins or HCY deficiency in neurological disorders were hypothesized in the 80 seconds. Despite this recent acknowledgement, alterations of HCY levels and related compounds were only recently widely recognized as risk factors for LOAD and other forms of dementia. Few mechanisms are suggested as possible protagonists in the toxic pathway of HCY in LOAD onset:

  • oxidative stress and neurotoxicity,
  • vascular damage,
  • alteration of cholesterol and lipids,
  • alteration of protein function by methylation and
  • deregulation of gene expression by DNA methylation.

These results were obtained by using both transgenic and dietary models of hyperhomocysteinemia or altered 1-carbon metabolism. On the one hand, this variety of experimental models allowed to investigate multiple aspects of the biochemical alterations and their consequences; on the other, the lacking of common methods or goals generated a large body of literature in part overlapping for some aspects but fragmentary or incomplete for others. This aspect represents, together with the scarce interplay between clinical/epidemiological and biomolecular research, one of the reasons for the poor relevance given by the scientific community to the role of 1-carbon metabolism in certain diseases like dementia.

A causal connection between 1-carbon alterations:

  • hyperhomocysteinemia,
  • low B vitamins,
  • low SAM, or
  • high SAH

and biological alterations responsible for LOAD onset and progression is still missing. So, it was previously demonstrated that 1-carbon metabolism was related to AD-like hallmarks (increased Aβ production) via PSEN1 (presenilin 1) and BACE (beta-site APP cleaving enzyme 1) upregulation in cellular and animal models. More recently, it was added to the rising literature body dealing with 1-carbon metabolism and GSK-3β and PP2A modulation; it was also demonstrated that PSEN1 promoter is regulated by site-specific DNA methylation in cell cultures and mice and that this modulation of methylation is dependent on the regulation of the DNA methylation machinery. Although all the proposed pathways of HCY toxicity are possibly involved and nonmutually exclusive, as suggested by the multifactorial origin of LOAD, the recent advances in the connection between epigenetics and LOAD (as discussed above) stress a primary role for methylation dishomeostasis dependent on 1-carbon metabolism alterations.

Source References:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0197458011000741

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0306987784901543

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1044743107002953

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1196/annals.1297.059/abstract;jsessionid=FE6A683C10230B201295DDF1388DAC68.d02t01

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa011613

Other articles related to this topic were published on this Open Access Online Scientific Journal, including the following:

Introduction to Nanotechnology and Alzheimer disease

Tilda Barliya PhD, RN 03/14/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/14/introduction-to-nanotechnology-and-alzheimer-disease/

Alzheimer’s disease conundrum – Are we near the end of the puzzle?

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP, RN 03/09/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/09/alzheimers-disease-conundrum-are-we-near-the-end-of-the-puzzle/

Ustekinumab New Drug Therapy for Cognitive Decline resulting from Neuroinflammatory Cytokine Signaling and Alzheimer’s Disease

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 02/27/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/02/27/ustekinumab-new-drug-therapy-for-cognitive-decline-resulting-from-neuroinflammatory-cytokine-signaling-and-alzheimers-disease/

The Alzheimer Scene around the Web

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP, Reporter, RN 11/02/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/02/the-alzheimer-scene-around-the-web/

Alzheimer’s before Symptoms show: Imaging Techniques for Detection and Pre-Clinical Diagnosis

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 09/29/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/29/alzheimers-before-symptoms-show-imaging-techniques-for-detection-and-pre-clinical-diagnosis/

Blood markers for Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Venkat S Karra, Ph.D., RN 09/05/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/05/blood-markers-for-alzheimers-disease/

THREE new drugs for Alzheimer’s Disease: Two Antibodies against AMYLOID and one IV Immune Globulin

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 07/17/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/07/17/three-new-drugs-for-alzheimers-disease-two-antibodies-against-amyloid-and-one-iv-immune-globulin/

New ADNI Project to Perform Whole-genome Sequencing of Alzheimer’s Patients,

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 07/03/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/07/03/new-adni-project-to-perform-whole-genome-sequencing-of-alzheimers-patients/

New Bio-markers in Alzheimer’s & Stress Induced Changes in the Brains of Alzheimer’s Patients

Dr. Venkat S Karra, Ph.D., RN 06/26/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/06/26/new-bio-markers-in-alzeihmers-stress-induced-changes-in-the-brains-of-alzheimers-patients/

 

How Methionine Imbalance with Sulfur-Insufficiency Leads to Hyperhomocysteinemia

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 04/04/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/04/04/sulfur-deficiency-and-hyperhomocusteinemia/

 

Problems of vegetarianism

Dr. Sudipta Saha, Ph.D., RN 04/22/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/04/22/problems-of-vegetarianism/

 

Amyloidosis with Cardiomyopathy

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 03/31/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/31/amyloidosis-with-cardiomyopathy/

 

Liver endoplasmic reticulum stress and hepatosteatosis

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 03/10/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/10/liver-endoplasmic-reticulum-stress-and-hepatosteatosis/

 

Assessing Cardiovascular Disease with Biomarkers

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 12/25/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/25/assessing-cardiovascular-disease-with-biomarkers/

 

Telling NO to Cardiac Risk

Stephen J. Williams, PhD, RN 12/10/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/10/telling-no-to-cardiac-risk/

 

A Second Look at the Transthyretin Nutrition Inflammatory Conundrum

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 12/03/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/03/a-second-look-at-the-transthyretin-nutrition-inflammatory-conundrum/

 

Special Considerations in Blood Lipoproteins, Viscosity, Assessment and Treatment

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 11/28/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/28/special-considerations-in-blood-lipoproteins-viscosity-assessment-and-treatment/

 

The Molecular Biology of Renal Disorders: Nitric Oxide – Part III

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 11/26/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/26/the-molecular-biology-of-renal-disorders/

 

Nitric Oxide Function in Coagulation

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 11/26/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/26/nitric-oxide-function-in-coagulation/

 

The Potential for Nitric Oxide Donors in Renal Function Disorders

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 11/20/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/20/the-potential-for-nitric-oxide-donors-in-renal-function-disorders/

 

Nitric Oxide, Platelets, Endothelium and Hemostasis

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 11/08/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/08/nitric-oxide-platelets-endothelium-and-hemostasis/

 

Expanding the Genetic Alphabet and linking the genome to the metabolome

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 09/24/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/24/expanding-the-genetic-alphabet-and-linking-the-genome-to-the-metabolome/

 

Interaction of Nitric Oxide and Prostacyclin in Vascular Endothelium

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 09/14/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/14/interaction-of-nitric-oxide-and-prostacyclin-in-vascular-endothelium/

 

Positioning a Therapeutic Concept for Endogenous Augmentation of cEPCs — Therapeutic Indications for Macrovascular Disease: Coronary, Cerebrovascular and Peripheral

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 08/29/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/29/positioning-a-therapeutic-concept-for-endogenous-augmentation-of-cepcs-therapeutic-indications-for-macrovascular-disease-coronary-cerebrovascular-and-peripheral/

 

Drug Eluting Stents: On MIT’s Edelman Lab’s Contributions to Vascular Biology and its Pioneering Research on DES

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 04/25/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/04/25/contributions-to-vascular-biology/

 

Personalized Medicine in NSCLC

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 03/03/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/03/personalized-medicine-in-nsclc/

 

Nitric Oxide and Immune Responses: Part 2

Aviral Vatsa PhD, MBBS, RN 10/28/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/28/nitric-oxide-and-immune-responses-part-2/

 

Mitochondrial Damage and Repair under Oxidative Stress

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 10/28/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/28/mitochondrial-damage-and-repair-under-oxidative-stress/

 

Is the Warburg Effect the cause or the effect of cancer: A 21st Century View?

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 10/17/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/17/is-the-warburg-effect-the-cause-or-the-effect-of-cancer-a-21st-century-view/

 

Ubiquitin-Proteosome pathway, Autophagy, the Mitochondrion, Proteolysis and Cell Apoptosis: Part III

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 02/14/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/02/14/ubiquinin-proteosome-pathway-autophagy-the-mitochondrion-proteolysis-and-cell-apoptosis-reconsidered/

Special Considerations in Blood Lipoproteins, Viscosity, Assessment and Treatment

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 11/28/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/28/special-considerations-in-blood-lipoproteins-viscosity-assessment-and-treatment/

Nitric Oxide and iNOS have Key Roles in Kidney Diseases – Part II

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 11/26/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/26/nitric-oxide-and-inos-have-key-roles-in-kidney-diseases/

New Insights on Nitric Oxide donors – Part IV

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 11/26/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/26/new-insights-on-no-donors/

The Essential Role of Nitric Oxide and Therapeutic NO Donor Targets in Renal Pharmacotherapy

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 11/26/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/26/the-essential-role-of-nitric-oxide-and-therapeutic-no-donor-targets-in-renal-pharmacotherapy/

Paclitaxel vs Abraxane (albumin-bound paclitaxel)

Tilda Barliya PhD, RN 11/17/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/17/paclitaxel-vs-abraxane-albumin-bound-paclitaxel/

Ubiquinin-Proteosome pathway, autophagy, the mitochondrion, proteolysis and cell apoptosis

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 10/30/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/30/ubiquinin-proteosome-pathway-autophagy-the-mitochondrion-proteolysis-and-cell-apoptosis/

Advances in Separations Technology for the “OMICs” and Clarification of Therapeutic Targets

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 10/22/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/22/advances-in-separations-technology-for-the-omics-and-clarification-of-therapeutic-targets/

Nitric Oxide and Immune Responses: Part 1

Aviral Vatsa PhD, MBBS, RN 10/18/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/18/nitric-oxide-and-immune-responses-part-1/

Crucial role of Nitric Oxide in Cancer

Ritu Saxena, Ph.D., RN 10/16/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/16/crucial-role-of-nitric-oxide-in-cancer/

Nitric Oxide Covalent Modifications: A Putative Therapeutic Target?

Stephen J. Williams, PhD, RN 09/24/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/24/nitric-oxide-covalent-modifications-a-putative-therapeutic-target/

Nitric Oxide Signalling Pathways

Aviral Vatsa, PhD, MBBS, RN 08/22/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/22/nitric-oxide-signalling-pathways/

Proteomics and Biomarker Discovery

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 08/21/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/21/proteomics-and-biomarker-discovery/

The rationale and use of inhaled NO in Pulmonary Artery Hypertension and Right Sided Heart Failure

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 08/20/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/20/the-rationale-and-use-of-inhaled-no-in-pulmonary-artery-hypertension-and-right-sided-heart-failure/

Bystolic’s generic Nebivolol – positive effect on circulating Endothelial Progenitor Cells endogenous augmentation

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 07/16/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/07/16/bystolics-generic-nebivolol-positive-effect-on-circulating-endothilial-progrnetor-cells-endogenous-augmentation/

The mechanism of action of the drug ‘Acthar’ for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

 Dr. Venkat S. Karra, Ph.D., RN 07/08/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/07/08/the-mechanism-of-action-of-the-drug-acthar-for-systemic-lupus-erythematosus-sle/

Arthritis, Cancer: New Screening Technique Yields Elusive Compounds to Block Immune-Regulating Enzyme

Prabodh Kandala, PhD, RN 05/11/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/05/11/arthritis-cancer-new-screening-technique-yields-elusive-compounds-to-block-immune-regulating-enzyme/

In Focus: Targeting of Cancer Stem Cells

Ritu Saxena, Ph.D, RN 03/27/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/27/in-focus-targeting-of-cancer-stem-cells/

Novel Cancer Hypothesis Suggests Antioxidants Are Harmful

Ritu Saxena, Ph.D, RN 01/27/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/01/27/novel-cancer-hypothesis-suggests-antioxidants-are-harmful/

What can we expect of tumor therapeutic response?

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 12/05/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/05/what-can-we-expect-of-tumor-therapeutic-response/

Nitric Oxide has a ubiquitous role in the regulation of glycolysis -with a concomitant influence on mitochondrial function

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 09/16/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/16/nitric-oxide-has-a-ubiquitous-role-in-the-regulation-of-glycolysis-with-a-concomitant-influence-on-mitochondrial-function/

Targeting Mitochondrial-bound Hexokinase for Cancer Therapy

Ziv Raviv, PhD, RN 04/06/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/04/06/targeting-mitochondrial-bound-hexokinase-for-cancer-therapy/

Genomics-based cure for diabetes on-the-way

Ritu Saxena, Ph.D, RN 03/04/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/03/04/genomics-based-cure-for-diabetes-on-the-way/

PLATO Trial on ACS: BRILINTA (ticagrelor) better than Plavix® (clopidogrel bisulfate): Lowering chances of having another heart attack

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 12/28/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/12/28/plato-trial-on-acs-brilinta-ticagrelor-better-than-plavix-clopidogrel-bisulfate-lowering-chances-of-having-another-heart-attack/

Biochemistry of the Coagulation Cascade and Platelet Aggregation – Part I

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 11/26/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/11/26/biochemistry-of-the-coagulation-cascade-and-platelet-aggregation/

Mitochondria: Origin from oxygen free environment, role in aerobic glycolysis, metabolic adaptation

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FACP, RN 09/26/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/09/26/mitochondria-origin-from-oxygen-free-environment-role-in-aerobic-glycolysis-metabolic-adaptation/

Mitochondrial Mechanisms of Disease in Diabetes Mellitus

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 08/01/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/08/01/mitochondrial-mechanisms-of-disease-in-diabetes-mellitus/

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and the Role of Agent Alternatives in endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase (eNOS) Activation and Nitric Oxide Production

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN 07/19/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/07/19/cardiovascular-disease-cvd-and-the-role-of-agent-alternatives-in-endothelial-nitric-oxide-synthase-enos-activation-and-nitric-oxide-production/

Mitochondria: More than just the “powerhouse of the cell”

Ritu Saxena, Ph.D, RN 07/09/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/07/09/mitochondria-more-than-just-the-powerhouse-of-the-cell/

Ovarian Cancer and fluorescence-guided surgery: A report

Tilda Barliya PhD, RN 01/19/2013

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/01/19/ovarian-cancer-and-fluorescence-guided-surgery-a-report/

NO Nutritional remedies for hypertension and atherosclerosis. It’s 12 am: do you know where your electrons are?

Meg Baker, Ph.D., Registered Patent Agent, RN 10/07/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/10/07/no-nutritional-remedies-for-hypertension-and-atherosclerosis-its-12-am-do-you-know-where-your-electrons-are/

High Doses of Certain Dietary Supplements Increase Cancer Risk

Prabodh Kandala, PhD, RN 05/17/2012

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2012/05/17/high-doses-of-certain-dietary-supplements-increase-cancer-risk/

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Alzheimer’s Genomic Diagnosis and Treatment

Larry H Bernstein, MD, FCAP

 

Gene Mutation Protects Against Alzheimer’s

by Greg Miller on 11 July 2012
Brain preserver. A newly discovered gene mutation appears to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Credit: Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center/NIA/NIH
http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/07/gene-mutation-protects-against-a.html

A rare mutation that alters a single letter of the genetic code protects people from the

  • memory-robbing dementia of Alzheimer’s disease.

The DNA change may inhibit the buildup of β amyloid, the

  • protein fragment that forms the hallmark plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
  • The mutation affects a gene called APP,
  • which encodes a protein that gets broken down into pieces,
  • including β amyloid.

Researchers previously identified more than 30 mutations to APP, none of them good. Several of these changes increase β amyloid formation and cause

•      a devastating inherited form of Alzheimer’s that afflicts people in their 30s and 40s—

•      much earlier than the far more common “late-onset” form of Alzheimer’s

  • that typically strikes people their 70s and 80s.

The new mutation, discovered from whole-genome data from 1795 Icelanders for variations in APP that protect against Alzheimer’s, appears to do the opposite. The mutation interferes with one of the enzymes that breaks down the APP protein and causes a 40% reduction in β amyloid formation

New pharmacological strategies for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: focus on disease modifying drugs.
Salomone S, Caraci F, Leggio GM, Fedotova J, Drago F.
University of Catania, Viale Andrea Doria 6, Catania, Italy.
Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2012 Apr;73(4):504-17. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.04134.x.

Current approved drug treatments for Alzheimer disease (AD) include

These drugs provide symptomatic relief but poorly affect the progression of the disease. Drug discovery has been directed, in the last 10 years, to develop ‘disease modifying drugs’ hopefully able to counteract the progression of AD. Because in a chronic, slow progressing pathological process, such as AD, an early start of treatment enhances the chance of success,

  • it is crucial to have biomarkers for early detection of AD-related brain dysfunction,
    • usable before clinical onset.

Reliable early biomarkers need therefore to be prospectively tested for predictive accuracy,

  • with specific cut off values validated in clinical practice.

Disease modifying drugs developed so far include drugs to

  • reduce β amyloid () production,
  • drugs to prevent Aβ aggregation,
  • drugs to promote Aβ clearance,
  • drugs targeting tau phosphorylation and assembly

None of these drugs has demonstrated efficacy in phase 3 studies. The failure of clinical trials with disease modifying drugs raises a number of questions, spanning from

  • methodological flaws to
  • fundamental understanding of AD pathophysiology and biology.

Diagnostic criteria applicable to presymptomatic stages of AD have now been published.

These new criteria may impact on drug development, such that future trials on disease modifying drugs will include populations susceptible to AD, before clinical onset. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22035455

Gene mutation defends against Alzheimer’s disease
Rare genetic variant suggests a cause and treatment for cognitive decline.
Ewen Callaway  11 July 2012
http://www.nature.com/news/gene-mutation-defends-against-alzheimer-s-disease-1.10984

J. NIETH/CORBIS
Almost 30 million people live with Alzheimer’s disease worldwide, a staggering health-care burden that is expected to quadruple by 2050. Yet doctors can offer no effective treatment, and scientists have been unable to pin down the underlying mechanism of the disease.
Research published this week offers some hope on both counts – few people carry a genetic mutation that naturally prevents them from developing the condition – 0.5% of Icelanders have a protective gene, as are 0.2–0.5% of Finns, Swedes and Norwegians. Icelanders who carry it have a 50% better chance of reaching age 85, are more than five times more likely to reach it 85 without Alzheimer’s.   The mutation seems to put a brake on the milder mental deterioration that most elderly people experience. Carriers are about 7.5 times more likely than non-carriers to reach the age of 85 without major cognitive decline, and perform better on the cognitive tests that are administered thrice yearly to Icelanders who live in nursing homes.
The discovery not only confirms the principal suspect that is responsible for Alzheimer’s, it also suggests that the disease could be

  • an extreme form of the cognitive decline seen in many older people.

The mutation — the first ever found to protect against the disease — lies in a gene that produces

  • amyloid-β precursor protein (APP),
  • which has an unknown role in the brain

APP was discovered 25 years ago in patients with rare,

  • inherited forms of Alzheimer’s that strike in middle age.
  • In the brain, APP is broken down into a smaller molecule called amyloid-β.

Visible clumps, or plaques, of amyloid-β found in the autopsied brains of patients are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
Scientists have long debated whether the plaques are a cause of the neuro­degenerative condition

  • or a consequence of other biochemical changes associated with the disease.

The latest finding supports other genetics studies blaming amyloid-β, according to Rudolph Tanzi, a neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and a member of one of the four teams that discovered APP’s role in the 1980s.
If amyloid-β plaques were confirmed as the cause of Alzheimer’s, it would bolster efforts to develop drugs that block their formation, says Kári Stefánsson, chief executive of deCODE Genetics in Reykjavik, Iceland, who led the latest research. He and his team first discovered the mutation by comparing the complete genome sequences of 1,795 Icelanders with their medical histories. The researchers then studied the variant in nearly 400,000 more Scandinavians.
This suggests that Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline are two sides of the same coin, with a common cause — the build-up of amyloid-β plaques in the brain, something seen to a lesser degree in elderly people who do not develop full-blown Alzheimer’s. A drug that mimics the effects of the mutation, might slow cognitive decline as well as prevent Alzheimer’s.
Stefánsson and his team discovered that the mutation introduces a single amino-acid alteration to APP. This amino acid is close to the site where an enzyme called

  • β-secretase 1 (BACE1) ordinarily snips APP into smaller amyloid-β chunks —
  • and the alteration is enough to reduce the enzyme’s efficiency.

Stefánsson’s study suggests that blocking β-secretase from cleaving APP has the potential to prevent Alzheimer’s, but Philippe Amouyel, an epidemiologist at the Pasteur Institute in Lille, France, says “it is very difficult to identify the

  • precise time when this amyloid toxic effect could still be modified”.

“If this effect needs to be blocked as early as possible in life to protect against Alzheimer’s disease, we will need to propose a new design for clinical trials” to identify an effective treatment.

The results demonstrate that whole-genome sequencing can uncover very rare mutations that might offer insight into common diseases.

  • disease risk, may be determined by genetic variants that slightly tilt the odds of developing disease
  • In this case a rare mutant may provide very key mechanistic insights into Alzheimer’s

Jonsson, T. et al. Nature     http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11283 (2012).
Kang, J. et al. Nature 325, 733–736 (1987).
Goldgaber, D., Lerman, M. I., McBride, O. W., Saffiotti, U. & Gajdusek, D. C. Science 235, 877–880 (1987).

BHCE genetic data combined with brain imaging using agent florbetapir connects the BHCE gene to AD plaque buildup. BHCE is an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine in the brain, which is depleted early in the disease and results in memory loss.   http://www.genengnews.com/

New Alzheimer’s Genes Found
Gigantic Scientific Effort Discovers Clues to Treatment, Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease
By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
http://www.webmd.com/alzheimers/news/20110403/new-alzheimers-genes-found

A massive scientific effort has found five new gene variants linked to Alzheimer’s disease. The undertaking involved analyzing the genomes of nearly 40,000 people with and without Alzheimer’s. This study was undertaken by two separate research consortiums in the U.S. and in Europe, which collaborated to confirm each other’s results.
Four genes had previously been linked to Alzheimer’s. Three of them affect only the risk of relatively rare forms of Alzheimer’s. The fourth is APOE, until now the only gene known to affect risk of the common, late-onset form of Alzheimer’s. Roughly 27% of Alzheimer’s disease can be attributed to the five new gene variants.  Even though Alzheimer’s is a very complex disease, the new findings represent a large chunk of Alzheimer’s risk, according to Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, PhD, of the U.S. consortium –

  • 20% of the causal risk of Alzheimer’s disease and
  • 32% of the genetic risk.

Alzheimer’s Tied to Mutation Harming Immune Response
By GINA KOLATA   Published: November 14, 2012  in NY Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/15/health/gene-mutation-that-hobbles-immune-response-is-linked-to-alzheimers.html?_r=0
Alzheimer’s researchers and drug companies have for years concentrated on one hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease: the production of toxic shards of a protein that accumulate in plaques on the brain.
Two groups of researchers working from entirely different starting points have converged on a mutated gene involved in another aspect of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • the immune system’s role in protecting against the disease.

The mutation is suspected of interfering with

  • the brain’s ability to prevent the buildup of plaque.

When the gene is not mutated, white blood cells in the brain spring into action,

  • gobbling up and eliminating the plaque-forming toxic protein, beta amyloid.

As a result, Alzheimer’s can be staved off or averted.  People with the mutated gene have a threefold to fivefold increase in the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease in old age.

Comparing Differences

Dr. Julie Williams’s, Cardiff, Wales (European team leader) report identified CLU and Picalm. A second study published in Nature Genetics, by Philippe Amouyel from Institut Pasteur de Lille in France, pinpointed CLU and CR1. The greatest inherited risk comes from the APOE gene, discovered in 1993 by a team led by Allen Roses, now director of the Deane Drug Discovery Institute at Duke UMC, in Durham, North Carolina.
The findings “are beginning to give us insight into the biology, but I don’t think you can expect treatments overnight,” Dr. Michael Owen (Cardiff, Wales) said. Instead, the genes will show a mosaic of risk, and “the key issue is what hand of cards you’re dealt,” he said.

Promise for Early Diagnosis
BHCE genetic data combined with brain imaging using agent florbetapir connects the BHCE gene to AD plaque buildup. BHCE is an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine in the brain, which is depleted early in the disease and results in memory loss.

Dr. Bernstein’s comments:

  1. There has been a long history of failure of drugs to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.  Regression of the plaques has not corresponded with retention of cognitive ability, which has been behind the arguments over beta amyloid or tau.
  2. We now have two particularly interesting mutations –
    1. ApoE gene mutation that increases risk
    2. APP mutation that quite dramatically affects retention of cognition
β-amyloid fibrils.

β-amyloid fibrils. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzhei...

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Depiction of amyloid precursor protein process...

Depiction of amyloid precursor protein processing, created by I. Peltan Ipeltan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Diagram of how microtubules desintegr...

English: Diagram of how microtubules desintegrate with Alzheimer’s disease Français : La protéine Tau dans un neurone sain et dans un neurone malade Español: Esquema que muestra cómo se desintegran los microtúbulos en la enfermedad de Alzheimer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Histopathogic image of senile plaques...

English: Histopathogic image of senile plaques seen in the cerebral cortex in a patient with presenile onset of Alzheimer disease. Bowdian stain. The same case as shown in a file “Alzheimer_dementia_(1)_presenile_onset.jpg”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Curator: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Inhibition of IL-12/IL-23 signaling reduces Alzheimer’s disease–like pathology and cognitive decline

  1. These authors contributed equally to this work.

    • Johannes vom Berg &
    • Stefan Prokop

Affiliations

  1. Institute of Experimental Immunology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.

    • Johannes vom Berg,
    • Florian Mair &
    • Burkhard Becher
  2. Department of Neuropathology, Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

    • Stefan Prokop,
    • Kelly R Miller,
    • Juliane Obst,
    • Roland E Kälin,
    • Ileana Lopategui-Cabezas,
    • Anja Wegner,
    • Carola G Schipke &
    • Frank L Heppner
  3. Department of Psychiatry, Charité–Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany.

    • Carola G Schipke &
    • Oliver Peters
  4. Cognitive Neurobiology and Berlin Mouse Clinic for Neurology and Psychiatry, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.

    • York Winter
  5. Present address: Institute of Basic and Preclinical Sciences ‘Victoria de Girón’, Medical University of Havana, Havana, Cuba.

    • Ileana Lopategui-Cabezas
  6. These authors jointly directed this work.
    • Burkhard Becher &
    • Frank L Heppner

     

Abstract

The pathology of Alzheimer’s disease has an inflammatory component that is characterized by upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines, particularly in response to amyloid-β (). Using theAPPPS1 Alzheimer’s disease mouse model, we found increased production of the common interleukin-12 (IL-12) and IL-23 subunit p40 by microglia. Genetic ablation of the IL-12/IL-23 signaling molecules p40, p35 or p19, in which deficiency of p40 or its receptor complex had the strongest effect, resulted in decreased cerebral amyloid load. Although deletion of IL-12/IL-23 signaling from the radiation-resistant glial compartment of the brain was most efficient in mitigating cerebral amyloidosis, peripheral administration of a neutralizing p40-specific antibody likewise resulted in a reduction of cerebral amyloid load in APPPS1 mice. Furthermore, intracerebroventricular delivery of antibodies to p40 significantly reduced the concentration of soluble Aβ species and reversed cognitive deficits in aged APPPS1 mice. The concentration of p40 was also increased in the cerebrospinal fluid of subjects with Alzheimer’s disease, which suggests that inhibition of the IL-12/IL-23 pathway may attenuate Alzheimer’s disease pathology and cognitive deficits.

Nature Medicine 18, 1812–1819 (2012) doi:10.1038/nm.2965, Published online 25 November 2012

Psoriasis Drug Fights Alzheimer’s By Treating It Like An Auto-Immune Disease

 by 

In a study published this week in the journal Nature Medicine, Swedish and German researchers say a medication already widely in use to treat plaque psoriasis was able to slow the accumuation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice, as well as improve brain functioning in older mice that already had Alzheimer’s disease.

The drug, ustekinumab, works by suppressing the brain’s immune response to the amyloid-beta protein. Its effectiveness lends support to the idea of Alzheimer’s disease as an auto-immune disease similar to type-2 diabetes, spurred at least in part by the bodies response to inflammation.

The study authors urged the U.S. Food & Drug Administration should approve ustekinumab for patients with early Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment and said drugs that shut down specific immune responses — like those used in psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis — are “the ideal candidate for the initiation of clinical trials” for Alzheimer’s.

That’s very good news, because pharmaceutical companies have been ready to give up on Alzheimer’s drug development after so many of the drugs being tested for the past decade or more have been failures. Most of those drugs worked under different theories of treating Alzheimer’s disease, focusing more on things like busting up existing plaques or treating the external symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

http://www.blisstree.com/2012/11/28/sex-relationships/psoriasis-drug-fights-alzheimers-by-treating-it-like-an-auto-immune-disease/#ixzz2M7ceuApw

Neuroinflammatory Cytokine Signaling and Alzheimer’s Disease

W. Sue T. Griffin, Ph.D.

N Engl J Med 2013; 368:770-771 February 21, 2013, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMcibr1214546

Immune events may influence development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. In a mouse model, mice depleted of p40, a cytokine subunit, showed reduced cerebral amyloidosis. Administration of anti-p40 antibodies reduced levels of soluble β-amyloid and restored some cognitive function.

Neuroinflammation, expressed as frank microglial activation with excessive expression of immune cytokines, is fast acquiring the status of “principal culprit” in the unresolved connection between an elevated risk for the development of

  • sporadic Alzheimer’s disease and
  • traumatic brain injury,
  • systemic infections,
  • normal aging, and
  • several neurologic disorders.

Neuroinflammation also appears to be a substantial contributor to Alzheimer’s disease in persons with Down’s syndrome (owing to the excess gene dosage that is characteristic of the syndrome) and in persons with genetic mutations that affect the amyloid precursor protein (APP) or presenilin.1 The molecules and pathways that mediate the inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease have recently come under scrutiny. An advance in this area has been described by Vom Berg et al.,2 who used a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease to investigate the role of proinflammatory cytokines in disease pathogenesis.

Their results show that damping the expression and signaling of the cytokines interleukin-12 and interleukin-23 in the mouse model is associated with decreases in microglial activation, in the level of soluble β-amyloid (Aβ), and in the overall Aβ plaque burden. These findings are consistent with earlier studies that linked microglial activation with excess expression of interleukin-1 (which regulates interleukin-12–interleukin-23 signaling3) and expression of APP (which when cleaved generates Aβ), the development of Aβ plaques, and the activation of microglia in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Vom Berg et al. also observed that intracerebroventricular delivery of an antibody against p40 — a subunit common to both interleukin-12 and interleukin-23 — reversed the age-related cognitive decline in mice and that this reversal was accompanied by a reduction in levels of soluble Aβ. These observations suggest that the suppression of signaling by interleukin-12, interleukin- 23, or other inflammatory cytokines may prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and, for patients already undergoing the cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s disease, may halt such decline. 

These findings raise the question of whether monoclonal p40 antibodies (ustekinumab and briakinumab), which have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of psoriasis, should be tested in randomized, controlled trials for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Also of interest is a large epidemiologic study4 in which the rate of incident Alzheimer’s disease decreased by almost 50% among persons who took the common nonsteroidal antiinflammatory agent (NSAID) ibuprofen for 5 years, a finding that suggests that experimental investigation of NSAIDs as preventive agents is warranted.

Given the mounting sociological, economic, and personal costs of Alzheimer’s disease, the lack of a perfect understanding of its mechanisms should not stop researchers from conducting clinical studies of a variety of strategies intended to reduce the risk of development of the disease and of experimental approaches to expedite its treatment.

W. Sue T. Griffin, Ph.D.: Disclosure forms provided by the author are available with the full text of this article at NEJM.org. From the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics and Institute on Aging, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and the Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC) at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System — both in Little Rock.

1. Griffin WS, Barger SW. Neuroinflammatory cytokines — the common thread in Alzheimer’s pathogenesis. US Neurol 2010; 6(2):19-27.

2. Vom Berg J, Prokop S, Miller KR, et al. Inhibition of IL-12/ IL-23 signaling reduces Alzheimer’s disease-like pathology and cognitive decline. Nat Med 2012;18:1812-9.

3. Oppmann B, Lesley R, Blom B, et al. Novel p19 protein engages IL-12p40 to form a cytokine, IL-23, with biological activities similar as well as distinct from IL-12. Immunity 2000;13: 715-25.

4. Vlad SC, Miller DR, Kowall NW, Felson DT. Protective effects of NSAIDs on the development of Alzheimer disease. Neurology 2008;70:1672-7.

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Ubiquitin Pathway Involved in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Larry H Bernstein, MD,  FCAP

 

PINK1 and Parkin and Parkinson’s Disease

Studies of the familial Parkinson disease-related proteins PINK1 and Parkin have demonstrated that these factors promote the fragmentation and turnover of mitochondria following treatment of cultured cells with mitochondrial depolarizing agents. Whether PINK1 or Parkin influence mitochondrial quality control under normal physiological conditions in dopaminergic neurons, a principal cell type that degenerates in Parkinson disease, remains unclear. To address this matter, we developed a method to purify and characterize neural subtypes of interest from the adult Drosophila brain.

Using this method, we find that dopaminergic neurons from Drosophila parkin mutants accumulate enlarged, depolarized mitochondria, and that genetic perturbations that promote mitochondrial fragmentation and turnover rescue the mitochondrial depolarization and neurodegenerative phenotypes of parkin mutants. In contrast, cholinergic neurons from parkin mutants accumulate enlarged depolarized mitochondria to a lesser extent than dopaminergic neurons, suggesting that a higher rate of mitochondrial damage, or a deficiency in alternative mechanisms to repair or eliminate damaged mitochondria explains the selective vulnerability of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson disease.

Our study validates key tenets of the model that PINK1 and Parkin promote the fragmentation and turnover of depolarized mitochondria in dopaminergic neurons. Moreover, our neural purification method provides a foundation to further explore the pathogenesis of Parkinson disease, and to address other neurobiological questions requiring the analysis of defined neural cell types.

Burmana JL, Yua S, Poole AC, Decala RB , Pallanck L. Analysis of neural subtypes reveals selective mitochondrial dysfunction in dopaminergic neurons from parkin mutants.

Autophagy in Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a common neurodegenerative disease in the elderly. To explore the specific role of autophagy and the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in apoptosis, a specific proteasome inhibitor and macroautophagy inhibitor and stimulator were selected to investigate pheochromocytoma (PC12) cell lines transfected with human mutant (A30P) and wildtype (WT) -synuclein.

The apoptosis ratio was assessed by flow cytometry. LC3, heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) and caspase-3 expression in cell culture were determined by Western blot. The hallmarks of apoptosis and autophagy were assessed with transmission electron microscopy. Compared to the control group or the rapamycin (autophagy stimulator) group, the apoptosis ratio in A30P and WT cells was significantly higher after treatment with inhibitors of the proteasome and macroautophagy. The results of Western blots for caspase-3 expression were similar to those of flow cytometry; hsp70 protein was significantly higher in the proteasome inhibitor group than in control, but in the autophagy inhibitor and stimulator groups, hsp70 was similar to control. These findings show that inhibition of the proteasome and autophagy promotes apoptosis, and the macroautophagy stimulator rapamycin reduces the apoptosis ratio. And inhibiting or stimulating autophagy has less impact on hsp70 than the proteasome pathway.

In conclusion, either stimulation or inhibition of macroautophagy, has less impact on hsp70 than on the proteasome pathway. This study found that rapamycin decreased apoptotic cells in A30P cells independent of caspase-3 activity. Although several lines of evidence recently demonstrated crosstalk between autophagy and caspase-independent apoptosis, we could not confirm that autophagy activation protects cells from caspase-independent cell death. Undoubtedly, there are multiple connections between the apoptotic and autophagic processes.

Inhibition of autophagy may subvert the capacity of cells to remove damaged organelles or to remove misfolded proteins, which would favor apoptosis. However, proteasome inhibition activated macroautophagy and accelerated apoptosis. A likely explanation is inhibition of the proteasome favors oxidative reactions that trigger apoptosis, presumably through

  • a direct effect on mitochondria, and
  • the absence of NADPH2 and ATP

which may deinhibit the activation of caspase-2 or MOMP. Another possibility is that aggregated proteins induced by proteasome inhibition increase apoptosis.

Yang F, Yanga YP, Maoa CJ, Caoa BY, et al. Role of autophagy and proteasome degradation pathways in apoptosis of PC12 cells overexpressing human -synuclein. Neuroscience Letters 2009; 454:203–208. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2009.03.027. www.elsevier.com/locate/neulet   http://neurosciletters.com/ Role_of_autophagy_and_proteasome_degradation_pathways_in_apoptosis_of_PC12_cells_
overexpressing_human –synuclein/

Parkin-dependent Ubiquitination of Endogenous Bax

Autosomal recessive loss-of-function mutations within the PARK2 gene functionally inactivate the E3 ubiquitin ligase parkin, resulting in neurodegeneration of catecholaminergic neurons and a familial form of Parkinson disease. Current evidence suggests both a mitochondrial function for parkin and a neuroprotective role, which may in fact be interrelated. The antiapoptotic effects of Parkin have been widely reported, and may involve fundamental changes in the threshold for apoptotic cytochrome c release, but the substrate(s) involved in Parkin dependent protection had not been identified. Here, we demonstrate the Parkin-dependent ubiquitination of endogenous Bax comparing primary cultured neurons from WT and Parkin KO mice and using multiple Parkin-overexpressing cell culture systems. The direct ubiquitination of purified Bax was also observed in vitro following incubation with recombinant parkin. The authors found that Parkin prevented basal and apoptotic stress induced translocation of Bax to the mitochondria. Moreover, an engineered ubiquitination-resistant form of Bax retained its apoptotic function, but Bax KO cells complemented with lysine-mutant Bax did not manifest the antiapoptotic effects of Parkin that were observed in cells expressing WT Bax. These data suggest that Bax is the primary substrate responsible for the antiapoptotic effects of Parkin, and provide mechanistic insight into at least a subset of the mitochondrial effects of Parkin.

Johnson BN, Berger AK, Cortese GP, and LaVoie MJ. The ubiquitin E3 ligase Parkin regulates the proapoptotic function of Bax. PNAS 2012, pp 6. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1113248109
http://
PNAS.org/ The_ubiquitin_E3_ligase_Parkin_regulates_the_proapoptotic_function_of_Bax

Parkin Promotes Mitochondrial Loss in Autophagy

Parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase implicated in Parkinson’s disease, promotes degradation of dysfunctional mitochondria by autophagy. Using proteomic and cellular approaches, we show that upon translocation to mitochondria, Parkin activates the ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS) for widespread degradation of outer membrane proteins. This is evidenced by an increase in K48-linked polyubiquitin on mitochondria, recruitment of the 26S proteasome and rapid degradation of multiple outer membrane proteins. The degradation of proteins by the UPS occurs independently of the autophagy pathway, and inhibition of the 26S proteasome completely abrogates Parkin-mediated mitophagy in HeLa, SH-SY5Y and mouse cells. Although the mitofusins Mfn1 and Mfn2 are rapid degradation targets of Parkin, degradation of additional targets is essential for mitophagy. These results indicate that remodeling of the mitochondrial outer membrane proteome is important for mitophagy, and reveal a causal link between the UPS and autophagy, the major pathways for degradation of intracellular substrates.

Chan NC, Salazar AM, Pham AH, Sweredoski MJ, et al. Broad activation of the ubiquitin–proteasome system by Parkin is critical for mitophagy. Human Molecular Genetics 2011; 20(9): 1726–1737. doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr048.  http://HumMolecGenetics.com/ Broad_activation_of_the_ubiquitin–proteasome_system_by_Parkin_is_critical_for_mitophagy/

Interactome Networks and Protein Expression

Aloy P. Shaping the future of interactome networks. (A report of the third Interactome Networks Conference, Hinxton, UK, 29 August-1 September 2007). Genome Biology 2007; 8:316 (doi:10.1186/gb-2007-8-10-316)

Complex systems are often networked, and biology is no exception. Following on from the genome sequencing projects, experiments show that proteins in living organisms are highly connected, which helps to explain how such great complexity can be achieved by a comparatively small set of gene products. At a recent conference on interactome networks held outside Cambridge, UK, the most recent advances in research on cellular networks were discussed. This year’s conference focused on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of currently resolved interaction networks and the techniques used to determine them – reflecting the fact that the field of mapping interaction networks is maturing.

Peroutka RJ, Orcutt SJ, Strickler JE, and Butt TR. SUMO Fusion Technology for Enhanced Protein Expression and Purification in Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes. Chapter 2. in T.C. Evans, M.-Q. Xu (eds.), Heterologous Gene Expression in E. coli, Methods in Molecular Biology 705:15-29. DOI 10.1007/978-1-61737-967-3_2, © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

The preparation of sufficient amounts of high-quality protein samples is the major bottleneck for structural proteomics. The use of recombinant proteins has increased significantly during the past decades. The most commonly used host, Escherichia coli, presents many challenges including protein misfolding, protein degradation, and low solubility. A novel SUMO fusion technology appears to enhance protein expression and solubility (www.lifesensors.com). Efficient removal of the SUMO tag by SUMO protease in vitro facilitates the generation of target protein with a native N-terminus. In addition to its physiological relevance in eukaryotes, SUMO can be used as a powerful biotechnology tool forenhanced functional protein expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

IL-6 regulation on mitochondrial remodeling/dysfunction

Muscle protein turnover regulation during cancer cachexia is being rapidly defined, and skeletal muscle mitochondria function appears coupled to processes regulating muscle wasting. Skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and the expression of proteins regulating mitochondrial biogenesis and dynamics are disrupted in severely cachectic ApcMin/+ mice. It has not been determined if these changes occur at the onset of cachexia and are necessary for the progression of muscle wasting. Exercise and anti-cytokine therapies have proven effective in preventing cachexia development in tumor bearing mice, while their effect on mitochondrial content, biogenesis and dynamics is not well understood.

The purposes of this study were to

1) determine IL-6 regulation on mitochondrial remodeling/dysfunction during the progression of cancer cachexia and

2) to determine if exercise training can attenuate mitochondrial dysfunction and the induction of proteolytic pathways during IL-6 induced cancer cachexia.

ApcMin/+ mice were examined during the progression of cachexia, after systemic interleukin (IL)-6r antibody treatment, or after IL-6 over-expression with or without exercise. Direct effects of IL-6 on mitochondrial remodeling were examined in cultured C2C12 myoblasts.

  • Mitochondrial content was not reduced during the initial development of cachexia, while muscle PGC-1α and fusion (Mfn1, Mfn2) protein expression was repressed.
  • With progressive weight loss mitochondrial content decreased, PGC-1α and fusion proteins were further suppressed, and fission protein (FIS1) was induced.

IL-6 receptor antibody administration after the onset of cachexia improved mitochondrial content,

  • PGC-1α,
  • Mfn1/Mfn2 and
  • FIS1 protein expression.

IL-6 over-expression in pre-cachectic mice accelerated body weight loss and muscle wasting, without reducing mitochondrial content, while PGC-1α and Mfn1/Mfn2 protein expression was suppressed and FIS1 protein expression induced. Exercise normalized these IL-6 induced effects. C2C12 myotubes administered IL-6 had

  • increased FIS1 protein expression,
  • increased oxidative stress, and
  • reduced PGC-1α gene expression
  • without altered mitochondrial protein expression.

Altered expression of proteins regulating mitochondrial biogenesis and fusion are early events in the initiation of cachexia regulated by IL-6, which precede the loss of muscle mitochondrial content. Furthermore, IL-6 induced mitochondrial remodeling and proteolysis can be rescued with moderate exercise training even in the presence of high circulating IL-6 levels.

White JP, Puppa MJ, Sato S, Gao S. IL-6 regulation on skeletal muscle mitochondrial remodeling during cancer cachexia in the ApcMin/+ mouse. Skeletal Muscle 2012; 2:14-30.
http://www.skeletalmusclejournal.com/content/2/1/14

Starvation-induced Autophagy

Upon starvation cells undergo autophagy, a cellular degradation pathway important in the turnover of whole organelles and long lived proteins. Starvation-induced protein degradation has been regarded as an unspecific bulk degradation process. We studied global protein dynamics during amino acid starvation-induced autophagy by quantitative mass spectrometry and were able to record nearly 1500 protein profiles during 36 h of starvation. Cluster analysis of the recorded protein profiles revealed that cytosolic proteins were degraded rapidly, whereas proteins annotated to various complexes and organelles were degraded later at different time periods. Inhibition of protein degradation pathways identified the lysosomal/autophagosomal system as the main degradative route.

Thus, starvation induces degradation via autophagy, which appears to be selective and to degrade proteins in an ordered fashion and not completely arbitrarily as anticipated so far.

Kristensen AR, Schandorff S, Høyer-Hansen M, Nielsen MO, et al. Ordered Organelle Degradation during Starvation-induced Autophagy. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics 2008; 7:2419–2428.
http://MolecCellProteomics.com/Ordered_Organelle_Degradation_during_Starvation-induced_Autophagy/

Skeletal Muscle Macroautophagy

Skeletal muscles are the agent of motion and one of the most important tissues responsible for the control of metabolism. Coordinated movements are allowed by the highly organized structure of the cytosol of muscle fibers (or myofibers), the multinucleated and highly specialized cells of skeletal muscles involved in contraction. Contractile proteins are assembled into repetitive structures, the basal unit of which is the sarcomere, that are well packed into the myofiber cytosol. Myonuclei are located at the edge of the myofibers, whereas the various organelles such as mitochondria and sarcoplasmic reticulum are embedded among the myofibrils. Many different changes take place in the cytosol of myofibers during catabolic conditions:

  • proteins are mobilized
  • organelles networks are reorganized for energy needs
  • the setting of myonuclei can be modified.

Further,

  • strenuous physical activity,
  • improper dietary regimens and
  • aging

lead to mechanical and metabolic damages of

  • myofiber organelles,
  • especially mitochondria, and
  • contractile proteins.

During aging the protein turnover is slowed down, therefore it is easier to accumulate aggregates of dysfunctional proteins. Therefore, a highly dynamic tissue such as skeletal muscle requires a rapid and efficient system for the removal of altered organelles, the elimination of protein aggregates, and the disposal of toxic products.

The two major proteolytic systems in muscle are the ubiquitin-proteasome and the autophagy-lysosome pathways. The proteasome system requires

  • the transcription of the two ubiquitin ligases (atrogin-1 and MuRF1) and
  • the ubiquitination of the substrates.

Therefore, the ubiquitin-proteasome system can provide the rapid elimination of single proteins or small aggregates. Conversely, the autophagic system is able to degrade entire organelles and large proteins aggregates. In the autophagy-lysosome system, double-membrane vesicles named autophagosomes are able to engulf a portion of the cytosol and fuse with lysosomes, where their content is completely degraded by lytic enzymes.

The autophagy flux can be biochemicaly monitored following LC3 lipidation and p62 degradation. LC3 is the mammalian homolog of the yeast Atg8 gene, which is lipidated when recruited for the double-membrane commitment and growth. p62 (SQSTM-1) is a polyubiquitin-binding protein involved in the proteasome system and that can either reside free in the cytosol and nucleus or occur within autophagosomes and lysosomes. The GFP-LC3 transgenic mouse model allows easy detection of autophagosomes by simply monitoring the presence of bright GFP-positive puncta inside the myofibrils and beneath the plasma membrane of the myofibers, thus investigate the activation of autophagy in skeletal muscles with different contents of slow and fast-twitching myofibers and in response to stimuli such as fasting. For example, in the fast-twiching extensor digitorum longus muscle few GFP-LC3 dots were observed before starvation, while many small GFP-LC3 puncta appeared between myofibrils and in the perinuclear regions after 24 h starvation. Conversely, in the slow-twitching soleus muscle, autophagic puncta were almost absent in standard condition and scarcely induced after 24 h starvation.

Autophagy in Muscle Homeostasis

The autophagic flux was found to be increased during certain catabolic conditions, such as fasting, atrophy , and denervation , thus contributing to protein breakdown. Food deprivation is one of the strongest stimuli known to induce autophagy in muscle. Indeed skeletal muscle, after the liver, is the most responsive tissue to autophagy activation during food deprivation. Since muscles are the biggest reserve of amino acids in the body, during fasting autophagy has the vital role to maintain the amino acid pool by digesting muscular protein and organelles. In mammalian cells, mTORC1, which consists of

  • mTOR and
  • Raptor,

is the nutrient sensor that negatively regulates autophagy.

During atrophy, protein breakdown is mediated by atrogenes, which are under the forkhead box O (FoxO) transcription factors control, and activation of autophagy seems to aggravate muscle loss during atrophy. In vivo and in vitro studies demonstrated that several genes coding for components of the autophagic machinery, such as

  • LC3,
  • GABARAP,
  • Vps34,
  • Atg12 and
  • Bnip3,

are controlled by FoxO3 transcription factor. FoxO3 is able to regulate independently

  1. the ubiquitin-proteasome system and
  2. the autophagy-lysosome machinery in vivo and in vitro.

Denervation is also able to induce autophagy in skeletal muscle, although at a slower rate than fasting. This effect is mediated by RUNX1, a transcription factor upregulated during autophagy; the lack of RUNX1 results in

  • excessive autophagic flux in denervated muscle and leads to atrophy.

The generation of Atg5 and Atg7 muscle-specific knockout mice have shown that

  • with suppression of autophagy both models display muscle weakness and atrophy and
  • a significant reduction of weight, which is
  • correlated with the important loss of muscle tissue due to an atrophic condition.

An unbalanced autophagy flux is highly detrimental for muscle, as too much induces atrophy whereas too little leads to muscle weakness and degeneration. Muscle wasting associated with autophagy inhibition becomes evident and symptomatic only after a number of altered proteins and dysfunctional organelles are accumulated, a condition that becomes evident after months or even years. On the other hand, the excessive increase of autophagy flux is able to induce a rapid loss of muscle mass (within days or weeks).  Alterations of autophagy are involved in the pathogenesis of several myopathies and dystrophies.

The maintenance of muscle homeostasis is finely regulated by the balance between catabolic and anabolic process. Macroautophagy (or autophagy) is a catabolic process that provides the degradation of protein aggregation and damaged organelles through the fusion between autophagosomes and lysosomes. Proper regulation of the autophagy flux is fundamental for

  • the homeostasis of skeletal muscles during physiological situations and
  • in response to stress.

Defective as well as excessive autophagy is harmful for muscle health and has a pathogenic role in several forms of muscle diseases.

Grumati P, Bonaldo P. Autophagy in Skeletal Muscle Homeostasis and in Muscular Dystrophies. Cells 2012, 1, 325-345; doi:10.3390/cells1030325. ISSN 2073-4409. www.mdpi.com/journal/cells
http://cell.com/ Autophagy in Skeletal Muscle Homeostasis and in Muscular Dystrophies/

Parkinson’s Disease Mutations

Mutations in parkin, a ubiquitin ligase, cause early-onset familial Parkinson’s disease (AR-JP). How Parkin suppresses Parkinsonism remains unknown. Parkin was recently shown to promote the clearance of impaired mitochondria by autophagy, termed mitophagy. Here, we show that Parkin promotes mitophagy by catalyzing mitochondrial ubiquitination, which in turn recruits ubiquitin-binding autophagic components, HDAC6 and p62, leading to mitochondrial clearance.

During the process, juxtanuclear mitochondrial aggregates resembling a protein aggregate-induced aggresome are formed. The formation of these “mito-aggresome” structures requires microtubule motor-dependent transport and is essential for efficient mitophagy. Importantly, we show that AR-JP–causing Parkin mutations are defective in supporting mitophagy due to distinct defects at

  • recognition,
  • transportation, or
  • ubiquitination of impaired mitochondria,

thereby implicating mitophagy defects in the development of Parkinsonism. Our results show that impaired mitochondria and protein aggregates are processed by common ubiquitin-selective autophagy machinery connected to the aggresomal pathway, thus identifying a mechanistic basis for the prevalence of these toxic entities in Parkinson’s disease.

Lee JY,Nagano Y, Taylor JP,Lim KL, and Yao TP. Disease-causing mutations in Parkin impair mitochondrial ubiquitination, aggregation, and HDAC6-dependent mitophagy. J Cell Biol 2010; 189(4):671-679. www.jcb.org/cgi/doi/10.1083/jcb.201001039
http://JCellBiol.com/Disease-causing_mutations_in_Parkin_impair_mitochondrial_ubiquitination_ aggregation_and_HDAC6-dependent_mitophagy/

Drosophila Parkin Requires PINK1

Loss of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin causes early onset Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder of unknown etiology.  Parkin has been linked to multiple cellular processes including

  • protein degradation,
  • mitochondrial homeostasis, and
  • autophagy;

however, its precise role in pathogenesis is unclear. Recent evidence suggests that Parkin is recruited to damaged mitochondria, possibly affecting

  • mitochondrial fission and/or fusion,
  • to mediate their autophagic turnover.

The precise mechanism of recruitment and the ubiquitination target are unclear. Here we show in Drosophila cells that PINK1 is required to recruit Parkin to dysfunctional mitochondria and promote their degradation. Furthermore, PINK1 and Parkin mediate the ubiquitination of the profusion factor Mfn on the outer surface of mitochondria. Loss of Drosophila PINK1 or parkin causes an increase in Mfn abundance in vivo and concomitant elongation of mitochondria. These findings provide a molecular mechanism by which the PINK1/Parkin pathway affects mitochondrial fission/fusion as suggested by previous genetic interaction studies. We hypothesize that Mfn ubiquitination may provide a mechanism by which terminally damaged mitochondria are labeled and sequestered for degradation by autophagy.

Ziviani E, Tao RN, and Whitworth AJ. Drosophila Parkin requires PINK1 for mitochondrial translocation and ubiquitinates Mitofusin. PNAS 2010. Pp6 www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0913485107
http://PNAS.org/ Drosophila_Parkin_requires_PINK1_for_ mitochondrial_translocation_and_ubiquitinates_Mitofusin

Dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1) in Parkinson’s

Mutations in Parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase that regulates protein turnover, represent one of the major causes of familial Parkinson’s disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons and impaired mitochondrial functions. The underlying mechanism by which pathogenic parkin mutations induce mitochondrial abnormality is not fully understood. Here we demonstrate that Parkin interacts with and subsequently ubiquitinates dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), for promoting its proteasome-dependent degradation. Pathogenic mutation or knockdown of Parkin inhibits the ubiquitination and degradation of Drp1, leading to an increased level of Drp1 for mitochondrial fragmentation. These results identify Drp1 as a novel substrate of Parkin and suggest a potential mechanism linking abnormal Parkin expression to mitochondrial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of PD.

Wang H, Song P, Du L, Tian W. Parkin ubiquitinates Drp1 for proteasome-dependent degradation: implication of dysregulated mitochondrial dynamics in Parkinson’s disease.

JBC Papers in Press. Published on February 3, 2011 as Manuscript M110.144238. http://www.jbc.org/cgi/doi/10.1074/jbc.M110.144238
http://JBC.org/ Parkin_ubiquitinates_Drp1_for_proteasome-dependent_degradation_implication_of_ dysregulated_mitochondrial_dynamics_in_Parkinson’s_disease

Pink1, Parkin, and DJ-1 Form a Complex

Mutations in the genes PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 (PINK1), PARKIN, and DJ-1 cause autosomal recessive forms of Parkinson disease (PD), and the Pink1/Parkin pathway regulates mitochondrial integrity and function. An important question is whether the proteins encoded by these genes function to regulate activities of other cellular compartments. A study in mice, reported by Xiong et al. in this issue of the JCI, demonstrates that Pink1, Parkin, and DJ-1 can form a complex in the cytoplasm, with Pink1 and DJ-1 promoting the E3 ubiquitin ligase activity of Parkin to degrade substrates via the proteasome (see the related article, doi:10.1172/ JCI37617).

This protein complex in the cytosol may or may not be related to the role of these proteins in regulating mitochondrial function or oxidative stress in vivo. Three models for the role of the PPD complex. In this issue of the JCI, Xiong et al. report that Pink1, Parkin, and DJ-1 bind to each other and form a PPD E3 ligase complex in which Pink1 and DJ-1 modulate Parkin-dependent ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of substrates via the proteasome. Previous work suggests that the Pink1/Parkin pathway regulates mitochondrial integrity and promotes mitochondrial fission in Drosophila.

(A) Parkin and DJ-1 may be recruited to the mitochondrial outer membrane during stress and interact with Pink1. These interactions may facilitate the ligase activity of Parkin, thereby facilitating the turnover of molecules that regulate mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy. The PPD complex may have other roles in the cytosol that result in degradative ubiquitination and/or relay information from mitochondria to other cellular compartments.

(B) Alternatively, Pink1 may be released from mitochondria after cleavage to interact with DJ-1 and Parkin in the cytosol.

A and B differ in the site of action of the PPD complex and the cleavage status of Pink1.

The complex forms on the mitochondrial outer membrane potentially containing full-length Pink1 in A, and in the cytosol with cleaved Pink1 in B.

Lack of DJ-1 function results in phenotypes that are distinct from the mitochondrial phenotypes observed in null mutants of Pink1 or Parkin in Drosophila. Thus, although the PPD complex is illustrated here as regulating mitochondrial fission, the role of DJ-1 in vivo remains to be clarified.

(C) It is also possible that the action occurs in the cytosol and is independent of the function of Pink1/Parkin in regulating mitochondrial integrity and function.

The Xiong et al. study offers an entry point for explorations of the role of Pink1, Parkin, and DJ-1 in the cytoplasm. It remains to be shown whether Parkin, in complex with Pink1 and DJ-1, carries out protein degradation in vivo.

Li H, and Guo M. Protein degradation in Parkinson disease revisited: it’s complex. commentaries. J Clin Invest.  doi:10.1172/JCI38619. http://www.jci.org
http://JCI.org/ Protein_degradation_in_Parkinson_disease_revisited_it’s_complex/

Xiong, H., et al. Parkin, PINK1, and DJ-1 form a ubiquitin E3 ligase complex promoting unfolded protein degradation. J. Clin. Invest. 2009; 119:650–660.
http://JCI.org/ Parkin_PINK1_DJ1_form_ubiquitin_E3_ligase_complex_promoting_unfolded_protein_degradation/

Mitochondrial Ubiquitin Ligase, MITOL, protects neuronal cells

Nitric oxide (NO) is implicated in neuronal cell survival. However, excessive NO production mediates neuronal cell death, in part via mitochondrial dysfunction. Here, we report that the mitochondrial ubiquitin ligase, MITOL, protects neuronal cells from mitochondrial damage caused by accumulation of S-nitrosylated microtubule associated protein 1B-light chain 1 (LC1). S-nitrosylation of LC1 induces a conformational change that serves both to activate LC1 and to promote its ubiquination by MITOL, indicating that microtubule stabilization by LC1 is regulated through its interaction with MITOL. Excessive NO production can inhibit MITOL, and MITOL inhibition resulted in accumulation of S-nitrosylated LC1 following stimulation of NO production by calcimycin and N-methyl-D-aspartate. LC1 accumulation under these conditions resulted in mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal cell death. Thus, the balance between LC1 activation by S-nitrosylation and down-regulation by MITOL is critical for neuronal cell survival. Our findings may contribute significantly to an understanding of the mechanisms of neurological diseases caused by nitrosative stress-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction.

Yonashiro R, Kimijima Y, Shimura T, Kawaguchi K, et al. Mitochondrial ubiquitin ligase MITOL blocks S-nitrosylated MAP1B-light chain 1-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction and neuronal cell death. PNAS; 2012. pp 6. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1114985109

Ubiquitin–Proteasome System in Neurodegeneration

A common histopathological hallmark of most neurodegenerative diseases is the presence of aberrant proteinaceous inclusions inside affected neurons. Because these protein aggregates are detected using antibodies against components of the ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS), impairment of this machinery for regulated proteolysis has been suggested to be at the root of neurodegeneration. This hypothesis has been difficult to prove in vivo owing to the lack of appropriate tools. The recent report of transgenic mice with ubiquitous expression of a UPS-reporter protein should finally make it possible to test in vivo the role of the UPS in neurodegeneration.

Hernandez F, Dıaz-Hernandez M, Avila J and Lucas JJ. Testing the ubiquitin–proteasome hypothesis of neurodegeneration in vivo. TRENDS in Neurosciences 2004; 27(2): 66-68.

ALP in Parkinson’s

The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and autophagy-lysosome pathway (ALP) are the two most important mechanisms that normally repair or remove abnormal proteins. Alterations in the function of these systems to degrade misfolded and aggregated proteins are being increasingly recognized as playing a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Dysfunction of the UPS has been already strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of this disease and, more recently, growing interest has been shown in identifying the role of ALP in neurodegeneration. Mutations of a-synuclein and the increase of intracellular concentrations of non-mutant a-synuclein have been associated with Parkinson’s disease phenotype.

The demonstration that a-synuclein is degraded by both proteasome and autophagy indicates a possible linkage between the dysfunction of the UPS or ALP and the occurrence of this disorder.The fact that mutant a-synucleins inhibit ALP functioning by tightly binding to the receptor on the lysosomal membrane for autophagy pathway further supports the assumption that impairment of the ALP may be related to the development of Parkinson’s disease.  In this review, we summarize the recent findings related to this topic and discuss the unique role of the ALP in this neurogenerative disorder and the putative therapeutic potential through ALP enhancement.

Pan Y, Kondo S, Le W, Jankovic J. The role of autophagy-lysosome pathway in neurodegeneration associated with Parkinson’s disease. Brain 2008; 131: 1969-1978. doi:10.1093/brain/awm318.

Ubiquitin-Proteasome System in Parkinson’s

There is growing evidence that dysfunction of the mitochondrial respiratory chain and failure of the cellular protein degradation machinery, specifically the ubiquitin-proteasome system, play an important role in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. We now show that the corresponding pathways of these two systems are linked at the transcriptomic level in Parkinsonian substantia nigra. We examined gene expression in medial and lateral substantia nigra (SN) as well as in frontal cortex using whole genome DNA oligonucleotide microarrays. In this study, we use a hypothesis-driven approach in analysing microarray data to describe the expression of mitochondrial and ubiquitin-proteasomal system (UPS) genes in Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Although a number of genes showed up-regulation, we found an overall decrease in expression affecting the majority of mitochondrial and UPS sequences. The down-regulated genes include genes that encode subunits of complex I and the Parkinson’s-disease-linked UCHL1. The observed changes in expression were very similar for both medial and lateral SN and also affected the PD cerebral cortex. As revealed by “gene shaving” clustering analysis, there was a very significant correlation between the transcriptomic profiles of both systems including in control brains.

Therefore, the mitochondria and the proteasome form a higher-order gene regulatory network that is severely perturbed in Parkinson’s disease. Our quantitative results also suggest that Parkinson’s disease is a disease of more than one cell class, i.e. that it goes beyond the catecholaminergic neuron and involves glia as well.

Duke DC, Moran LB, Kalaitzakis ME, Deprez M, et al. Transcriptome analysis reveals link between proteasomal and mitochondrial pathways in Parkinson’s disease. Neurogenetics 2006; 7:139-148.

The causes of various neurodegenerative diseases, particularly sporadic cases, remain unknown, but increasing evidence suggests that these diseases may share similar molecular and cellular mechanisms of pathogenesis. One prominent feature common to most neurodegenerative diseases is the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the form of insoluble protein aggregates or inclusion bodies. Although these aggregates have different protein compositions, they all contain ubiquitin and proteasome subunits, implying a failure of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in the removal of misfolded proteins.

A direct link between UPS dysfunction and neurodegeneration has been provided by recent findings that genetic mutations in UPS components cause several rare, familial forms of neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that oxidative stress, which results from aging or exposure to environmental toxins, can directly damage UPS components, thereby contributing to the pathogenesis of sporadic forms of neurodegenerative diseases.

Aberrations in the UPS often result in defective proteasome-mediated protein degradation, leading to accumulation of toxic proteins and eventually to neuronal cell death. Interestingly, emerging evidence has begun to suggest that impairment in substrate-specific components of the UPS, such as E3 ubiquitin-protein ligases, may cause aberrant ubiquitination and neurodegeneration in a proteasome-independent manner. This provides an overview of the molecular components of the UPS and their impairment in familial and sporadic forms of neurodegenerative diseases, and summarizes present knowledge about the pathogenic mechanisms of UPS dysfunction in neurodegeneration.

Molecular mechanisms of protein ubiquitination and degradation by the UPS. Ubiquitination involves a highly specific enzyme cascade in which

  • ubiquitin (Ub) is first activated by the ubiquitinactivating enzyme (E1),
  • then transferred to an ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2), and
  • finally covalently attached to the substrate by an ubiquitin-protein ligase (E3).

Ubiquitination is a reversible posttranslational modification in which the removal of Ub is mediated by a deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB).

  • Substrate proteins can be either monoubiquitinated or polyubiquitinated through successive conjugation of Ub moieties to an internal lysine residue in Ub.
  • K48-linked poly-Ub chains are recognized by the 26S proteasome, resulting in degradation of the substrate and recycling of Ub.

Monoubiquitination or K63-linked polyubiquitination plays a number of regulatory roles in cells that are proteasome-independent.

Parkin

Loss-of-function mutations in parkin, a 465-amino-acid RING-type E3 ligase, were first identified as the cause for autosomal recessive juvenile Parkinsonism (AR-JP) and subsequently found to account for ~50% of all recessively transmitted early-onset PD cases. Interestingly, patients with parkin mutations do not exhibit Lewy body pathology.

Possible pathogenic mechanisms by which impaired UPS components cause neurodegeneration. Genetic mutations or oxidative stress from aging and/or exposure to environmental toxins have been shown to impair the ubiquitination machinery (particularly E3 ubiquitin-protein ligases) and deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs), resulting in abnormal ubiquitination. Depending on the type of ubiquitination affected, the impairment could cause neurodegeneration through two different mechanisms.

  1. aberrant K48-linked polyubiquitination resulting from impaired E3s or DUBs alters protein degradation by the proteasome, leading to accumulation of toxic proteins and subsequent neurodegeneration. The proteasomes could be directly damaged by oxidative stress or might be inhibited by protein aggregation, which exacerbates the neurotoxicity.
  2. aberrant monoubiquitination or K63-linked polyubiquitination resulting from impaired E3s or DUBs alters crucial non-proteasomal functions, such as gene transcription and protein trafficking, thereby causing neurodegeneration without protein aggregation.

These two models are not mutually exclusive because a single E3 or DUB enzyme, such as parkin or UCH-L1, could regulate more than one type of ubiquitination. In addition, abnormal ubiquitination and neurodegeneration could also result from mutation or oxidative stress-induced structural changes in the protein substrates that alter their recognition and degradation by the UPS.

Lian Li and Chin LS. IMPAIRMENT OF THE UBIQUITIN-PROTEASOME SYSTEM: A COMMON PATHOGENIC MECHANISM IN NEURODEGENERATIVE DISORDERS. In The Ubiquitin Proteasome System…Chapter 23. (Eds: Eds: Mario Di Napoli and Cezary Wojcik) 553-577 © 2007 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. ISBN 978-1-60021-749-4.

filedesc Schematic diagram of the ubiquitylation system. Created by Roger B. Dodd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Current Noteworthy Work

Statins inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, a key enzyme in cholesterol synthesis, and are widely used to treat hypercholesterolemia.

These drugs can lead to a number of side effects in muscle, including muscle fiber breakdown; however, the mechanisms of muscle injury by statins are poorly understood. We report that lovastatin induced the expression of atrogin-1, a key gene involved in skeletal muscle atrophy, in humans with statin myopathy, in zebrafish embryos, and in vitro in murine skeletal muscle cells. In cultured mouse myotubes, atrogin-1 induction following lovastatin treatment was accompanied by distinct morphological changes, largely absent in atrogin-1 null cells. In zebrafish embryos, lovastatin promoted muscle fiber damage, an effect that was closely mimicked by knockdown of zebrafish HMG-CoA reductase. Moreover, atrogin-1 knockdown in zebrafish embryos prevented lovastatin-induced muscle injury. Finally, overexpression of PGC-1α, a transcriptional coactivator that induces mitochondrial biogenesis and protects against the development of muscle atrophy, dramatically prevented lovastatin-induced muscle damage and abrogated atrogin-1 induction both in fish and in cultured mouse myotubes. Collectively, our human, animal, and in vitro findings shed light on the molecular mechanism of statin-induced myopathy and suggest that atrogin-1 may be a critical mediator of the muscle damage induced by statins.

Inami Y, Waguri S, Sakamoto A, Kouno T, et al.  Persistent activation of Nrf2 through p62 in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. J. Cell Biol. 2011; 193(2): 275–284. www.jcb.org/cgi/doi/10.1083/jcb.201102031

Macroautophagy (hereafter referred to as autophagy) is a cellular degradation system in which cytoplasmic components, including organelles, are sequestered by double membrane structures called autophagosomes and the sequestered materials are degraded by lysosomal hydrolases for supply of amino acids and for cellular homeostasis. Although autophagy has generally been considered nonselective, recent studies have shed light on another indispensable role for basal autophagy in cellular homeostasis, which is mediated by selective degradation of a specific substrate(s).  p62 is a ubiquitously expressed cellular protein that is conserved in metazoa but not in plants and fungi, and recently it has been known as one of the selective substrates for autophagy.

This protein is localized at the autophagosome formation site and directly interacts with LC3, an autophagosome localizing protein . Subsequently, the p62 is incorporated into the autophagosome and then degraded. Therefore, impaired autophagy is accompanied by accumulation of p62 followed by the formation of p62 and ubiquitinated protein aggregates because of the nature of both self- oligomerization and ubiquitin binding of p62.

Epicrisis

This extensive review leaves little left unopened. We have seen the central role that the UPS system plays in normal organelle proteolysis in concert with autophagy. Impaired ubiquitination occurs from aging, and/or toxins, under oxidative stress involving E3s or DUBs.

This leads to altered gene transcripton, altered protein trafficking, and plays a role in neurodegenative disease, and muscle malfunction.

English: A cartoon representation of a lysine 48-linked diubiquitin molecule. The two ubiquitin chains are shown as green cartoons with each chain labelled. The components of the linkage are indicated and shown as orange sticks. Image was created using PyMOL from PDB id 1aar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Different forms of protein ubiquitylation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

                              nature10774-f6.2 (1)  tetra-ubiquitin chain conjugated to the undtructured initiation region of a substrate and bound to the ubiquitin receptor Rpn13. substrate poised for deubiquination by Rpn11

filedesc Schematic diagram of the ubiquitylati...

filedesc Schematic diagram of the ubiquitylation system. Created by Roger B. Dodd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Autophagy

Autophagy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Structure of the PARK2 protein. Based...

English: Structure of the PARK2 protein. Based on PyMOL rendering of PDB 1iyf. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Comparison of the process of macroautophagy ve...

Comparison of the process of macroautophagy versus microautophagy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Curated by: Dr. Venkat S. Karra, Ph.D.

A human brain showing frontotemporal lobar deg...

The number of patients with dementia have been increasing exponentially with the aging of society.  The development of AD research has clarified that the pathogenesis of AD is initiated by amyloidosis with secondary tauopathy and provided a strategy for investigating drugs that may improve or cure AD.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as a prodromal stage of AD and the pathogenesis of Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) as a non-AD type dementia have also been elucidated. Currently, a consortium study by the Alzheimer Disease Neuroimaging initiative (ADNI) is being performed to establish global clinical evidence regarding a neuropsychiatric test battery, CSF biomarkers, neuroimaging including MRI, FDG-PET, and amyloid PET to predict progression from MCI to AD and to promote studies of basic therapy for AD [1].

Several new biomarkers such as Aβ oligomer, α-synuclein, and TDP-43 are now under investigation for further determination of their usefulness to detect AD and other non-AD type dementia.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Aβ40, Aβ42, Tau, and Phosphorylated Tau biomarkers have been used for a clinical diagnosis of AD, discrimination from the Vascular dementia (VaD) and non-AD type dementia, exclusion of treatable dementia and MCI, prediction of AD onset and evaluation of the clinical trials of an anti-Aβ antibody, Aβ vaccine therapy, and secretase inhibitors [2–4].

In the current study Schoonenboom et al., [10] conducted a large cohort of patients with different types of dementia to determine how amyloid β 42 (Aβ42), total tau (t-tau), and phosphorylated tau (p-tau) levels behave in CSF.

Aβ is produced mainly in the nerve cells of the brain, and it is secreted about 12 hours later into the CSF, then excreted through the blood-brain barrier 24 hours later into blood (Aβ clearance), and finally degraded in the reticuloendothelial system. Aβ levels are regulated in strict equilibrium among the brain, CSF, and blood [6, 7]. Aβ levels are high while awake and low while a sleep suggesting the presence of a daily change in the CSF Aβ amounts and it is because Aβ amounts in CSF are controlled by orexin and thus collection of CSF by lumbar puncture early in morning in a fasting state is recommended [5].

In AD brains, Aβ42 forms insoluble amyloids and accumulates as insoluble amyloid fibrils in the brain. The reason Aβ42 levels are decreased in the CSF of AD patients is considered to be caused by deterioration of physiologic Aβ clearance into the CSF in AD brains [2, 3]. CSF total tau levels increase slightly with aging. However, CSF tau levels show a 3-fold greater increase in AD patients than in normal controls [8].

It is thought that the rise in CSF total tau is related to degeneration of axons and neurons and to severe destructive disease of the nervous system. Several diseases show slightly increased tau levels such as VaD, multiple sclerosis, AIDS dementia, head injury, and tauopathy. However, CSF tau levels show significant increases in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) and meningoencephalitis [8].

These biomarkers can be measured with an Amyloid ELISA Kit (Wako), which is commercially available and used worldwide. The ELISA kit was developed in Japan by Suzuki et al. and shows extremely high sensitivity and reproducibility [9]. INNOTEST β-AMYLOID1-42 (Innogenetics), for Aβ42 is used widely in Europe and America.

Several assay kits for total tau and phosphorylated tau are also used for the measurement of CSF tau. Currently, total tau is measured using INNOTEST hTau Ag (Innogenetics). There are 3 ELISA systems for measurement of phosphorylated tau that recognize the special phosphorylation sites at Ser199 (Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.), Thr181 (Innogenetics) and Thr231 (Applied NeuroSolutions Inc.), and phosphorylated tau levels are increased in CSF of AD on assays using these kits. Of these 3 kits, INNOTEST PHOSPHO-TAU (181) (Innogenetics) is commercially available and used widely. Recently, INNO-BIA AlzBio3 by Innogenetics has been able to measure Aβ1-42, total tau, and P-tau181P simultaneously in 75 μL of CSF, which is a very small amount of CSF.

In the current study researchers used the following strategy to collect Baseline CSF and Aβ42, t-tau, and p-tau (at amino acid 181) were measured in CSF by ELISA:

Types of patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) = 512 patients
Types of patients with other types of dementia (OD) = 272 patients
Types of patients with a psychiatric disorder (PSY) = 135 patients
Types of patients with subjective memory complaints (SMC) = 275 patients
Autopsy was obtained in a subgroup of about 17 patients.

The study suggested that CSF Aβ42, t-tau, and p-tau are useful in differential dementia diagnosis, whereas in DLB, FTLD, VaD, and CBD, a substantial group exhibited a CSF AD biomarker profile, which requires more autopsy confirmation in the future.

The study found a correct classification of patients with AD (92%) and patients with OD (66%)  when CSF Aβ42 and p-tau were combined.
Patients with progressive supranuclear palsy had normal CSF biomarker values in 90%.

Patients with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease demonstrated an extremely high CSF t-tau at a relatively normal CSF p-tau.

CSF AD biomarker profile was seen in

47% of patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB),

38% in corticobasal degeneration (CBD), and

30% in frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and vascular dementia (VaD).

PSY and SMC patients had normal CSF biomarkers in 91% and 88%.

Older patients are more likely to have a CSF AD profile.

Concordance between clinical and neuropathologic diagnosis was 85%.

CSF markers reflected neuropathology in 94%.

The study concluded that CSF Aβ42, t-tau, and p-tau are useful in differential dementia diagnosis. However, in DLB, FTLD, VaD, and CBD, a substantial group exhibit a CSF AD biomarker profile, which requires more autopsy confirmation in the future.

References:

1. R. C. Petersen, P. S. Aisen, L. A. Beckett et al., “Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI): clinical characterization,” Neurology, vol. 74, no. 3, pp. 201–209, 2010.

2. M. Shoji and M. Kanai, “Cerebrospinal fluid Aβ40 and Aβ42: natural course and clinical usefulness,” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 313–321, 2001.

3. M. Shoji, M. Kanai, E. Matsubara et al., “The levels of cerebrospinal fluid Aβ40 and Aβ42(43) are regulated age-dependently,” Neurobiology of Aging, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 209–215, 2001.

4. M. Kanai, E. Matsubara, K. Isoe et al., “Longitudinal study of cerebrospinal fluid levels of tau, Aβ1-40, and Aβ1-42(43) in Alzheimer’s disease: a study in Japan,” Annals of Neurology, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 17–26, 1998.

5. J. E. Kang, M. M. Lim, R. J. Bateman et al., “Amyloid-β dynamics are regulated by orexin and the sleep-wake cycle,” Science, vol. 326, no. 5955, pp. 1005–1007, 2009.

6. M. Shoji, T. E. Golde, J. Ghiso et al., “Production of the Alzheimer amyloid β protein by normal proteolytic processing,” Science, vol. 258, no. 5079, pp. 126–129, 1992.

7. R. J. Bateman, E. R. Siemers, K. G. Mawuenyega et al., “A γ-secretase inhibitor decreases amyloid-β production in the central nervous system,” Annals of Neurology, vol. 66, no. 1, pp. 48–54, 2009.

8. M. Shoji, E. Matsubara, T. Murakami et al., “Cerebrospinal fluid tau in dementia disorders: a large scale multicenter study by a Japanese study group,” Neurobiology of Aging, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 363–370, 2002.

9. N. Suzuki, T. T. Cheung, X. D. Cai et al., “An increased percentage of long amyloid β protein secreted by familial amyloid β protein precursor (βAPP) mutants,” Science, vol. 264, no. 5163, pp. 1336–1340, 1994.

Source:

10. N.S.M. Schoonenboom et al., Cerebrospinal fluid markers for differential dementia diagnosis in a large memory clinic cohort

For further insight read the following excellent review article by M. Shoji

Biomarkers of Dementia

Special thanks to Wikipedia for excellent relevant pictures and keyword links.

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A recent study by researchers at Case Western Reserve University is likely to promise a new life to Alzheimer’s victims and their loved ones.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is associated with impaired clearance of β-amyloid (Aβ) from the brain, a process normally facilitated by apolipoprotein E (apoE). Oral administration of the retinoid X receptors (RXRs) agonist bexarotene to a mouse model of AD resulted in enhanced clearance of soluble within hours in an apoE-dependent manner. Aβ plaque area was reduced more than 50% within just 72 hours. Furthermore, bexarotene stimulated the rapid reversal of cognitive, social, and olfactory deficits and improved neural circuit function.

Thus, researchers hope and believe that, RXR activation stimulates physiological Aβ clearance mechanisms, resulting in the rapid reversal of a broad range of Aβ-induced deficits in humans as well.

Bexarotene has been approved for the treatment of cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for more than a decade. It has a good safety and side-effect profile, which researchers hope will help speed the transition to clinical trials of the drug.

source

Reported by: Dr. V. S. Karra, Ph.D

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