- Spinal cord-specific deletion of the glutamate transporter GLT1 causes motor neuron death in mice. [Journal Article]
- BBBiochem Biophys Res Commun 2018 Feb 16
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective loss of motor neurons. The precise mechanisms that cause the selective death of motor neuron...
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective loss of motor neurons. The precise mechanisms that cause the selective death of motor neurons remain unclear, but a growing body of evidence suggests that glutamate-mediated excitotoxicity has been considered to play an important role in the mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration in ALS. Reductions in glutamate transporter GLT1 have been reported in animal models of ALS and the motor cortex and spinal cord of ALS patients. However, it remains unknown whether the reduction in GLT1 has a primary role in the induction of motor neuron degeneration in ALS. Here, we generated conditional knockout mice that lacked GLT1 specifically in the spinal cord by crossing floxed-GLT1 mice and Hoxb8-Cre mice. Hoxb8-Cre/GLT1flox/floxmice showed motor deficits and motor neuron loss. Thus, loss of the glial glutamate transporter GLT1 is sufficient to cause motor neuron death in mice.
- TIA1 variant drives myodegeneration in multisystem proteinopathy with SQSTM1 mutations. [Journal Article]
- JCIJ Clin Invest 2018 Feb 19
- Multisystem proteinopathy (MSP) involves disturbances of stress granule (SG) dynamics and autophagic protein degradation that underlie the pathogenesis of a spectrum of degenerative diseases that aff...
Multisystem proteinopathy (MSP) involves disturbances of stress granule (SG) dynamics and autophagic protein degradation that underlie the pathogenesis of a spectrum of degenerative diseases that affect muscle, brain, and bone. Specifically, identical mutations in the autophagic adaptor SQSTM1 can cause varied penetrance of 4 distinct phenotypes: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), frontotemporal dementia, Paget's disease of the bone, and distal myopathy. It has been hypothesized that clinical pleiotropy relates to additional genetic determinants, but thus far, evidence has been lacking. Here, we provide evidence that a TIA1 (p.N357S) variant dictates a myodegenerative phenotype when inherited, along with a pathogenic SQSTM1 mutation. Experimentally, the TIA1-N357S variant significantly enhances liquid-liquid-phase separation in vitro and impairs SG dynamics in living cells. Depletion of SQSTM1 or the introduction of a mutant version of SQSTM1 similarly impairs SG dynamics. TIA1-N357S-persistent SGs have increased association with SQSTM1, accumulation of ubiquitin conjugates, and additional aggregated proteins. Synergistic expression of the TIA1-N357S variant and a SQSTM1-A390X mutation in myoblasts leads to impaired SG clearance and myotoxicity relative to control myoblasts. These findings demonstrate a pathogenic connection between SG homeostasis and ubiquitin-mediated autophagic degradation that drives the penetrance of an MSP phenotype.
- A Barium Swallow Study Leading to an Incidental Finding on a Screening Colonoscopy. [Journal Article]
- CCureus 2017 Dec 07; 9(12):e1920
- Barolith is a mixture of firm feces with barium sulfate, and a frequent cause of obstruction of the appendiceal lumen that can result in appendicitis. Nonetheless, some other complications like aspir...
Barolith is a mixture of firm feces with barium sulfate, and a frequent cause of obstruction of the appendiceal lumen that can result in appendicitis. Nonetheless, some other complications like aspiration, allergic reaction, and bowel obstruction have also been reported. We present the case of a 71-year-old man with a history of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), who came to the gastroenterology clinic complaining of intermittent loose stools and dysphagia to solids for the past months. The patient underwent a barium swallow study six days prior and was completely normal. A colonoscopy was done showing normal appearing mucosa, with a whitish foreign object found on the appendiceal orifice. Removal of the barolith was done by means of a biopsy forceps. Our patient did not have any signs or symptoms of appendicitis prior to the procedure, and the successful removal of the barolith was achieved. Elderly patients, and patients with decreased gastrointestinal (GI) transit, could be a population at risk for barium retention/appendicitis; for this reason, more research studies should be done to assess possible preventive treatments.
- Synaptic dysfunction and altered excitability in C9ORF72 ALS/FTD. [Journal Article]
- BRBrain Res 2018 Feb 14
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by a progressive degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons, resulting in fatal paralysis due to denervation of the muscle. Due to genetic, pat...
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by a progressive degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons, resulting in fatal paralysis due to denervation of the muscle. Due to genetic, pathological and symptomatic overlap, ALS is now considered a spectrum disease together with frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the second most common cause of dementia in individuals under the age of 65. Interestingly, in both diseases, there is a large prevalence of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) that are mutated and considered disease-causing, or whose dysfunction contribute to disease pathogenesis. The most common shared genetic mutation in ALS/FTD is a hexanucleuotide repeat expansion within intron 1 of C9ORF72 (C9). Three potentially overlapping putative toxic mechanisms causing disease pathogenesis have been proposed: loss of function due to haploinsufficient expression of the C9ORF72 mRNA, gain of function of the repeat RNA aggregates, or RNA foci, and repeat-associated non-ATG-initiated translation (RAN) of the repeat RNA into toxic dipeptide repeats (DPRs). Regardless of the causative mechanism, disease symptoms are ultimately caused by a failure of neurotransmission in three regions: the brain, the spinal cord, and the neuromuscular junction. Here, we review C9 ALS/FTD-associated synaptic dysfunction and aberrant neuronal excitability in these three key regions, focusing on changes in morphology and synapse formation, excitability, and excitotoxicity in patients, animal models, and in vitro models. We compare these deficits to those seen in other forms of ALS and FTD in search of shared pathways, and discuss the potential targeting of synaptic dysfunctions for therapeutic intervention in ALS and FTD patients.
- Upper airway obstruction induced by non-invasive ventilation using an oronasal interface. [Journal Article]
- SBSleep Breath 2018 Feb 17
- CONCLUSIONS: Initiation of NIV using an oronasal interface may be associated with TAO in a subset of patients. Since both EPAP and ∆PAP appear to play a causative role, careful titration of ventilator settings is recommended.
- ERLIN1 mutations cause teenage-onset slowly progressive ALS in a large Turkish pedigree. [Journal Article]
- EJEur J Hum Genet 2018 Feb 16
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a late-onset motor neuron disease with mostly dominant inheritance and a life expectancy of 2-5 years; however, a quite common occurrence of atypical forms of t...
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a late-onset motor neuron disease with mostly dominant inheritance and a life expectancy of 2-5 years; however, a quite common occurrence of atypical forms of the disease, due to recessive inheritance, has become evident with the use of NGS technologies. In this paper, we describe a family with close consanguinity for at least four generations, suffering from a slowly progressive form of ALS. Spastic walking is observed since teenage years, while bulbar symptoms start much later, at the fifth or sixth decade of life. Patients usually die because of respiratory failure. Using whole-exome sequencing, we identified a novel homozygous p.(Val94Ala) (c.281T>C) (NG_052910.1) (NM_006459) variation in the endoplasmic reticulum lipid raft associated protein 1 (ERLIN1) gene, which segregates with the disease in the family. Here we suggest that ERLIN1 variants, previously shown in juvenile hereditary spastic paraplegia cases, may also be the cause of a slowly progressive early-onset ALS, starting with upper motor neuron features and developing into classical ALS with the addition of lower motor neuron dysfunction. We also demonstrate that ATP-binding cassette subfamily C member 2 (ABCC2) gene, responsible for hyperbilirubinemia, is linked to ERLIN1.
- C9orf72-associated neurodegeneration in ALS-FTD: breaking new ground in ribosomal RNA and nucleolar dysfunction. [Review]
- CTCell Tissue Res 2018 Feb 15
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) are neurodegenerative diseases with distinct clinical appearance. However, both share as major genetic risk factor a C9orf72 ...
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) are neurodegenerative diseases with distinct clinical appearance. However, both share as major genetic risk factor a C9orf72 locus intronic hexanucleotide expansion. The pathogenic pathways associated with the expansion-dependent neuronal toxicity are still poorly understood. Recent efforts to identify common threads of neuronal dysfunction have pointed towards deficits of ribosomal RNA (rRNA) biogenesis and loss of nucleolar integrity, a condition known as nucleolar stress that is an emerging shared feature among neurodegenerative diseases. Intriguingly, the C9orf72 mutation in ALS-FTD interferes with the function of the nucleolus by transcripts and dipeptide repeats (DPRs) produced by the hexanucleotide expansion. Experimental discrepancies have given rise to different hypotheses with regard to the connection of C9orf72 and nucleolar activity. In this review, we present and discuss emerging concepts concerning the impact of C9orf72 expansion on nucleolar biology. Moreover, we discuss the "nucleolar stress hypothesis," according to which nucleolar malfunction accompanies, exacerbates, or potentially triggers a degenerative phenotype. Upcoming awareness of the involvement of nucleolar stress in C9orf72 ALS-FTD could shed light into its pathogenesis, enabling potential treatment options aimed at shielding an "Achilles' heel" of neurons.
- Robustness and Vulnerability of the Autoregulatory System That Maintains Nuclear TDP-43 Levels: A Trade-off Hypothesis for ALS Pathology Based onin SilicoData. [Journal Article]
- FNFront Neurosci 2018; 12:28
- Abnormal accumulation of TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) in the cytoplasm and its disappearance from the nucleus are pathological features of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal deme...
Abnormal accumulation of TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) in the cytoplasm and its disappearance from the nucleus are pathological features of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (ALS/FTD) and are directly involved in the pathogenesis of these conditions. TDP-43 is an essential nuclear protein that readily aggregates in a concentration-dependent manner. Therefore, cells must strictly maintain an appropriate amount of nuclear TDP-43. In one relevant maintenance mechanism, TDP-43 binds to its pre-mRNA and promotes alternative splicing, resulting in mRNA degradation via nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. The level of nuclear TDP-43 is tightly regulated by these mechanisms, which control the amount of mRNA that may be translated. Based on the results of previous experiments, we developed anin silicomodel that mimics the intracellular dynamics of TDP-43 and examined TDP-43 metabolism under various conditions. We discovered an inherent trade-off in this mechanism between transcriptional redundancy, which maintains the robustness of TDP-43 metabolism, and vulnerability to specific interfering factors. These factors include an increased tendency of TDP-43 to aggregate, impaired nuclear-cytoplasmic TDP-43 transport, and a decreased efficiency of degrading abnormal proteins, all of which are functional abnormalities related to the gene that causes familial ALS/FTD. When these conditions continue at a certain intensity, the vulnerability of the autoregulatory machinery becomes apparent over time, and transcriptional redundancy enters a vicious cycle that ultimately results in TDP-43 pathology. The results obtained using thisin silicomodel reveal the difference in TDP-43 metabolism between normal and disease states. Furthermore, using this model, we simulated the effect of a decrease in TDP-43 transcription and found that this decrease improved TDP-43 pathology and suppressed the abnormal propagation of TDP-43. Therefore, we propose a potential therapeutic strategy to suppress transcriptional redundancy, which is the driving force of the pathological condition caused by the specific factors described above, in patients with ALS presenting with TDP-43 pathology. An ALS animal model exhibiting TDP-43 pathology without overexpression of exogenous TDP-43 should be developed to investigate the effect of alleviating the transcriptional redundancy ofTARDBP.
- ALS-related human cortical and motor neurons survival is differentially affected by Sema3A. [Journal Article]
- CDCell Death Dis 2018 Feb 15; 9(3):256
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by cell death of upper and lower motor neurons (MNs). The cause of MN cell loss is not completely understood but invol...
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by cell death of upper and lower motor neurons (MNs). The cause of MN cell loss is not completely understood but involves both cell autonomous and non-cell autonomous mechanisms. Numerous molecules have been implicated to be involved in the death of MNs. One such candidate is semaphorin 3A (Sema3A). In ALS patients, Sema3A was shown to be significantly upregulated in the motor cortex and downregulated in the spinal cord. In the mouse, Sema3A was shown to be an axon repellent molecule for MNs. Sema3A could also induce death of different neuronal types that are also repelled by it, including sensory, sympathetic, retinal, and cortical neurons. In contrast, astrocyte-specific knockout of Sema3A results in motor neuron cell death, consistent with the idea that Sema3A is a survival factor for mouse motor neurons. Here, we tested the response of human cortical neurons and spinal cord MNs to Sema3A. We found that Sema3A enhances the survival of spinal cord MNs. In contrast, Sema3A reduces the survival of cortical neurons. Thus, both upregulation of Sema3A in the cortex, or downregulation in the spinal cord of ALS patients is likely to directly contribute to MNs cell loss in ALS patients.
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- Characterization of the lncRNA transcriptome in mESC-derived motor neurons: Implications for FUS-ALS. [Journal Article]
- SCStem Cell Res 2018 Jan 31
- Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are currently recognized as crucial players in nervous system development, function and pathology. In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), identification of causative m...
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are currently recognized as crucial players in nervous system development, function and pathology. In Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), identification of causative mutations in FUS and TDP-43 or hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72 point to the essential role of aberrant RNA metabolism in neurodegeneration. In this study, by taking advantage of an in vitro differentiation system generating mouse motor neurons (MNs) from embryonic stem cells, we identified and characterized the long non-coding transcriptome of MNs. Moreover, by using mutant mouse MNs carrying the equivalent of one of the most severe ALS-associated FUS alleles (P517L), we identified lncRNAs affected by this mutation. Comparative analysis with human MNs derived in vitro from induced pluripotent stem cells indicated that candidate lncRNAs are conserved between mouse and human. Our work provides a global view of the long non-coding transcriptome of MN, as a prerequisite toward the comprehension of the still poorly characterized non-coding side of MN physiopathology.