ALS2/alsin deficiency in neurons leads to mild defects in macropinocytosis and axonal growth.
ABSTRACT Loss of function mutations in the ALS2 gene account for a number of juvenile/infantile recessive motor neuron diseases, indicating that its gene product, ALS2/alsin, plays a crucial role in maintenance and survival for a subset of neurons. ALS2 acts as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for the small GTPase Rab5 and is implicated in endosome dynamics in cells. However, the role of ALS2 in neurons remains unclear. To elucidate the neuronal ALS2 functions, we investigate cellular phenotypes of ALS2-deficient primary cultured neurons derived from Als2-knockout (KO) mice. Here, we show that ALS2 deficiency results not only in the delay of axon outgrowth in hippocampal neurons, but also in a decreased level of the fluid phase horseradish peroxidase (HRP) uptake, which represents the activity for macropinocytic endocytosis, in cortical neurons. Thus, ALS2 may act as a modulator in neuronal differentiation and/or development through regulation of membrane dynamics.
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ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder involving both upper motor neurons (UMN) and lower motor neurons (LMN). Enormous research has been done in the past few decades in unveiling the genetics of ALS, successfully identifying at least fifteen candidate genes associated with familial and sporadic ALS. Numerous studies attempting to define the pathogenesis of ALS have identified several plausible determinants and molecular pathways leading to motor neuron degeneration, which include oxidative stress, glutamate excitotoxicity, apoptosis, abnormal neurofilament function, protein misfolding and subsequent aggregation, impairment of RNA processing, defects in axonal transport, changes in endosomal trafficking, increased inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction. This review is to update the recent discoveries in genetics of ALS, which may provide insight information to help us better understanding of the devastating disease.Molecular Neurodegeneration 08/2013; 8(1):28. · 4.01 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The elongation rate of axons is tightly regulated during development. Recycling of the plasma membrane is known to regulate axon extension; however, the specific molecules involved in recycling within the growth cone have not been fully characterized. Here, we investigated whether the small GTPases Rab4 and Rab5 involved in short-loop recycling regulate the extension of Xenopus retinal axons. We report that, in growth cones, Rab5 and Rab4 proteins localize to endosomes, which accumulate markers that are constitutively recycled. Fluorescence recovery after photo-bleaching experiments showed that Rab5 and Rab4 are recruited to endosomes in the growth cone, suggesting that they control recycling locally. Dynamic image analysis revealed that Rab4-positive carriers can bud off from Rab5 endosomes and move to the periphery of the growth cone, suggesting that both Rab5 and Rab4 contribute to recycling within the growth cone. Inhibition of Rab4 function with dominant-negative Rab4 or Rab4 morpholino and constitutive activation of Rab5 decreases the elongation of retinal axons in vitro and in vivo, but, unexpectedly, does not disrupt axon pathfinding. Thus, Rab5- and Rab4-mediated control of endosome trafficking appears to be crucial for axon growth. Collectively, our results suggest that recycling from Rab5-positive endosomes via Rab4 occurs within the growth cone and thereby supports axon elongation.Journal of Neuroscience 01/2014; 34(2):373-391. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recent studies have implicated enhanced Nox2-mediated reactive oxygen species (ROS) by microglia in the pathogenesis of motor neuron death observed in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this context, ALS mutant forms of SOD1 enhance Rac1 activation, leading to increased Nox2-dependent microglial ROS production and neuron cell death in mice. It remains unclear if other genetic mutations that cause ALS also function through similar Nox-dependent pathways to enhance ROS-mediate motor neuron death. In the present study, we sought to understand whether alsin, which is mutated in an inherited juvenile form of ALS, functionally converges on Rac1-dependent pathways acted upon by SOD1(G93A) to regulate Nox-dependent ROS production. Our studies demonstrate that glial cell expression of SOD1(G93A) or wild type alsin induces ROS production, Rac1 activation, secretion of TNFα, and activation of NFκB, leading to decreased motor neuron survival in co-culture. Interestingly, coexpression of alsin, or shRNA against Nox2, with SOD1(G93A) in glial cells attenuated these proinflammatory indicators and protected motor neurons in co-culture, although shRNAs against Nox1 and Nox4 had little effect. SOD1(G93A) expression dramatically enhanced TNFα-mediated endosomal ROS in glial cells in a Rac1-dependent manner and alsin overexpression inhibited SOD1(G93A)-induced endosomal ROS and Rac1 activation. SOD1(G93A) expression enhanced recruitment of alsin to the endomembrane compartment in glial cells, suggesting that these two proteins act to modulate Nox2-dependent endosomal ROS and proinflammatory signals that modulate NFκB. These studies suggest that glial proinflammatory signals regulated by endosomal ROS are influenced by two gene products known to cause ALS.Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2011; 286(46):40151-62. · 4.65 Impact Factor