Recessive loss of function of the neuronal ubiquitin hydrolase UCHL1 leads to early-onset progressive neurodegeneration

Departments of Neurosurgery, Neurobiology, Genetics, Program on Neurogenetics, Diagnostic Radiology, Neurology, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, and Pharmacology, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 01/2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222732110
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCHL1), a neuron-specific de-ubiquitinating enzyme, is one of the most abundant proteins in the brain. We describe three siblings from a consanguineous union with a previously unreported early-onset progressive neurodegenerative syndrome featuring childhood onset blindness, cerebellar ataxia, nystagmus, dorsal column dysfuction, and spasticity with upper motor neuron dysfunction. Through homozygosity mapping of the affected individuals followed by whole-exome sequencing of the index case, we identified a previously undescribed homozygous missense mutation within the ubiquitin binding domain of UCHL1 (UCHL1(GLU7ALA)), shared by all affected subjects. As demonstrated by isothermal titration calorimetry, purified UCHL1(GLU7ALA), compared with WT, exhibited at least sevenfold reduced affinity for ubiquitin. In vitro, the mutation led to a near complete loss of UCHL1 hydrolase activity. The GLU7ALA variant is predicted to interfere with the substrate binding by restricting the proper positioning of the substrate for tunneling underneath the cross-over loop spanning the catalytic cleft of UCHL1. This interference with substrate binding, combined with near complete loss of hydrolase activity, resulted in a >100-fold reduction in the efficiency of UCHL1(GLU7ALA) relative to WT. These findings demonstrate a broad requirement of UCHL1 in the maintenance of the nervous system.

Download full-text


Available from: Sreeganga S Chandra, Nov 21, 2014
1 Follower
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The islet in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is characterized by a deficit in β-cells and increased β-cell apoptosis attributable at least in part to intracellular toxic oligomers of IAPP (islet amyloid polypeptide). β-cells of individuals with T2DM are also characterized by accumulation of polyubiquitinated proteins and deficiency in the deubiquitinating enzyme UCHL1 (ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal esterase L1 [ubiquitin thiolesterase]), accounting for a dysfunctional ubiquitin/proteasome system. In the present study, we used mouse genetics to elucidate in vivo whether a partial deficit in UCHL1 enhances the vulnerability of β-cells to human-IAPP (hIAPP) toxicity, and thus accelerates diabetes onset. We further investigated whether a genetically induced deficit in UCHL1 function in β-cells exacerbates hIAPP-induced alteration of the autophagy pathway in vivo. We report that a deficit in UCHL1 accelerated the onset of diabetes in hIAPP transgenic mice, due to a decrease in β-cell mass caused by increased β-cell apoptosis. We report that UCHL1 dysfunction aggravated the hIAPP-induced defect in the autophagy/lysosomal pathway, illustrated by the marked accumulation of autophagosomes and cytoplasmic inclusions positive for SQSTM1/p62 and polyubiquitinated proteins with lysine 63-specific ubiquitin chains. Collectively, this study shows that defective UCHL1 function may be an early contributor to vulnerability of pancreatic β-cells for protein misfolding and proteotoxicity, hallmark defects in islets of T2DM. Also, given that deficiency in UCHL1 exacerbated the defective autophagy/lysosomal degradation characteristic of hIAPP proteotoxicity, we demonstrate a previously unrecognized role of UCHL1 in the function of the autophagy/lysosomal pathway in β-cells.
    Autophagy 06/2014; 10(6):1004-1014. DOI:10.4161/auto.28478 · 11.42 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Antisense (AS) transcripts are RNA molecules that are transcribed from the opposite strand to sense (S) genes forming S/AS pairs. The most prominent configuration is when a lncRNA is antisense to a protein coding gene. Increasing evidences prove that antisense transcription may control sense gene expression acting at distinct regulatory levels. However, its contribution to brain function and neurodegenerative diseases remains unclear. We have recently identified AS Uchl1 as an antisense to the mouse Ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 (Uchl1) gene (AS Uchl1), the synthenic locus of UCHL1/PARK5. This is mutated in rare cases of early-onset familial Parkinson's Disease (PD) and loss of UCHL1 activity has been reported in many neurodegenerative diseases. Importantly, manipulation of UchL1 expression has been proposed as tool for therapeutic intervention. AS Uchl1 induces UchL1 expression by increasing its translation. It is the representative member of SINEUPs (SINEB2 sequence to UP-regulate translation), a new functional class of natural antisense lncRNAs that activate translation of their sense genes. Here we take advantage of FANTOM5 dataset to identify the transcription start sites associated to S/AS pair at Uchl1 locus. We show that AS Uchl1 expression is under the regulation of Nurr1, a major transcription factor involved in dopaminergic cells' differentiation and maintenance. Furthermore, AS Uch1 RNA levels are strongly down-regulated in neurochemical models of PD in vitro and in vivo. This work positions AS Uchl1 RNA as a component of Nurr1-dependent gene network and target of cellular stress extending our understanding on the role of antisense transcription in the brain.
    Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 04/2015; 9:114. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2015.00114 · 4.18 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Pediatric-onset ataxias often present clinically as developmental delay and intellectual disability, with prominent cerebellar atrophy as a key neuroradiographic finding. Here we describe a new clinically distinguishable recessive syndrome in 12 families with cerebellar atrophy together with ataxia, coarsened facial features and intellectual disability, due to truncating mutations in the sorting nexin gene SNX14, encoding a ubiquitously expressed modular PX domain-containing sorting factor. We found SNX14 localized to lysosomes and associated with phosphatidylinositol (3,5)-bisphosphate, a key component of late endosomes/lysosomes. Patient-derived cells showed engorged lysosomes and a slower autophagosome clearance rate upon autophagy induction by starvation. Zebrafish morphants for snx14 showed dramatic loss of cerebellar parenchyma, accumulation of autophagosomes and activation of apoptosis. Our results characterize a unique ataxia syndrome due to biallelic SNX14 mutations leading to lysosome-autophagosome dysfunction.
    Nature Genetics 04/2015; DOI:10.1038/ng.3256 · 29.65 Impact Factor