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Progressive aggregation despite chaperone associations of a mutant SOD1-YFP in transgenic mice that develop ALS.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Genetics, Section of Comparative Medicine, and Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 02/2009; 106(5):1392-7. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0813045106
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent studies suggest that superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1)-linked amyotrophic lateral sclerosis results from destabilization and misfolding of mutant forms of this abundant cytosolic enzyme. Here, we have tracked the expression and fate of a misfolding-prone human SOD1, G85R, fused to YFP, in a line of transgenic G85R SOD1-YFP mice. These mice, but not wild-type human SOD1-YFP transgenics, developed lethal paralyzing motor symptoms at 9 months. In situ RNA hybridization of spinal cords revealed predominant expression in motor neurons in spinal cord gray matter in all transgenic animals. Concordantly, G85R SOD-YFP was diffusely fluorescent in motor neurons of animals at 1 and 6 months of age, but at the time of symptoms, punctate aggregates were observed in cell bodies and processes. Biochemical analyses of spinal cord soluble extracts indicated that G85R SOD-YFP behaved as a misfolded monomer at all ages. It became progressively insoluble at 6 and 9 months of age, associated with presence of soluble oligomers observable by gel filtration. Immunoaffinity capture and mass spectrometry revealed association of G85R SOD-YFP, but not WT SOD-YFP, with the cytosolic chaperone Hsc70 at all ages. In addition, 3 Hsp110's, nucleotide exchange factors for Hsp70s, were captured at 6 and 9 months. Despite such chaperone interactions, G85R SOD-YFP formed insoluble inclusions at late times, containing predominantly intermediate filament proteins. We conclude that motor neurons, initially "compensated" to maintain the misfolded protein in a soluble state, become progressively unable to do so.

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