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.
SourceAvailable from: Cristian Droppelmann[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Small GTPases participate in a broad range of cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation, and migration. The exchange of GDP for GTP resulting in the activation of these GTPases is catalyzed by a group of enzymes called guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), of which two classes: Dbl-related exchange factors and the more recently described dedicator of cytokinesis proteins family exchange factors. Increasingly, deregulation of normal GEF activity or function has been associated with a broad range of disease states, including neurodegeneration and neurodevelopmental disorders. In this review, we examine this evidence with special emphasis on the novel role of Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor (RGNEF/p190RhoGEF) in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. RGNEF is the first neurodegeneration-linked GEF that regulates not only RhoA GTPase activation but also functions as an RNA binding protein that directly acts with low molecular weight neurofilament mRNA 3' untranslated region to regulate its stability. This dual role for RGNEF, coupled with the increasing understanding of the key role for GEFs in modulating the GTPase function in cell survival suggests a prominent role for GEFs in mediating a critical balance between cytotoxicity and neuroprotection which, when disturbed, contributes to neuronal loss.Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 09/2014; 8. DOI:10.3389/fncel.2014.00282 · 4.18 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.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 01/2014; 34(2):373-391. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0876-13.2014 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recessive mutations in the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 2 (ALS2) gene have been linked to juvenile-onset ALS2. Although one of the molecular functions of the ALS2 protein is clearly the activation of Rab5, the mechanisms underlying the selective dysfunction and degeneration of motor neurons in vivo remain to be fully understood. Here, we focused on the ALS2 homologue of Drosophila melanogaster, isolated two independent deletions, and systematically compared phenotypes of the mutants with those of animals in which Rab5 function in identified neurons was abrogated. In the dALS2 mutant flies, we found that the stereotypic axonal and dendritic morphologies of neurons shared some features with those in Rab5-deficient flies, but the dALS2 mutant phenotypes were much milder. We also found that the abrogation of Rab5 function in motor neurons strongly depressed the locomotion activity of adults, resembling the behavior of aged dALS2 mutants. Importantly, this age-dependent locomotion deficit of dALS2 mutants was restored to normal by expressing the dALS2 transgene in a wide range of tissues. This finding provided a platform where we could potentially identify particular cell types responsible for the phenotype by tissue-specific rescue experiments. We discuss our results and the future usage of the dALS2 mutant as a new ALS model.Genes to Cells 04/2014; 19(6). DOI:10.1111/gtc.12146 · 2.86 Impact Factor