3-Nitropropionic acid activates calpain/cdk5 pathway in rat striatum.
ABSTRACT 3-Nitropropionic acid (3-NP) is a neurotoxin that inhibits mitochondrial complex II and is used in an experimental model of Huntington's disease. Treatment of rats with 3-NP 30mgkg(-1) i.p. once a day for 5 days induced an increase in calpain activation in rat striatum, measured by the formation of 145kDa fragment of alpha-spectrin breakdown and by an increase in enzymatic calpain activity. In this neurotoxic model, Western blot studies revealed that calpain activity increase was followed by changes in cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (cdk5) and its activator p25. Our results indicated, after 10 days of treatment with 3-NP, a decrease in myocyte enhancer factor phosphorylation, a neuronal prosurvival factor. Thus, a decrease in its expression indicates a new potential mechanism of neuronal cell death mediated by the neurotoxin 3-NP. Accordingly, in our study we demonstrated in rat striatum the activation of the calpain/cdk5/p25 pathway in the 3-NP model. Previous studies have linked the deregulation of cdk5 with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. We suggest that calpain/cdk5 activation could also be a common pathway activated in other neurodegenerative diseases, which is liable to be targeted.
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ABSTRACT: NPC-1 gene mutations cause Niemann-Pick type C (NPC), a neurodegenerative storage disease resulting in premature death in humans. Spontaneous mutation of the NPC-1 gene in mice generates a similar phenotype, usually with death ensuing by 12 weeks of age. Both human and murine NPC are characterized neuropathologically by ballooned neurons distended with lipid storage, axonal spheroid formation, demyelination, and widespread neuronal loss. To elucidate the biochemical mechanism underlying this neuropathology, we have investigated the phosphorylation of neuronal cytoskeletal proteins in the brains of npc-1 mice. A spectrum of antibodies against phosphorylated epitopes in neurofilaments (NFs) and MAP2 and tau were used in immunohistochemical and immunoblotting analyses of 4- to 12-week-old mice. Multiple sites in NFs, MAP2, and tau were hyperphosphorylated as early as 4 weeks of age and correlated with a significant increase in activity of the cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (cdk5) and accumulation of its more potent activator, p25, a proteolytic fragment of p35. At 5 weeks of age, the development of axonal spheroids was noted in the pons. p25 and cdk5 coaccumulated with hyperphosphorylated cytoskeletal proteins in axon spheroids. These various abnormalities escalated with each additional week of age, spreading to other regions of the brainstem, basal ganglia, cerebellum, and eventually, the cortex. Our data suggest that focal deregulation of cdk5/p25 in axons leads to cytoskeletal abnormalities and eventual neurodegeneration in NPC. The npc-1 mouse is a valuable in vivo model for determining how and when cdk5 becomes deregulated and whether cdk5 inhibitors would be useful in blocking NPC neurodegeneration.Journal of Neuroscience 09/2002; 22(15):6515-25. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: 3-Nitropropionic acid (3NP), an irreversible inhibitor of succinate dehydrogenase, induces both rapid necrotic and slow apoptotic death in rat hippocampal neurons. Low levels of extracellular glutamate (10 microM) shift the 3NP-induced cell death mechanism to necrosis, while NMDA receptor blockade results in predominantly apoptotic death. In this study, we examined the 3NP-induced alterations in free cytosolic and mitochondrial calcium levels, ATP levels, mitochondrial membrane potential, and calpain and caspase activity, under conditions resulting in the activation of apoptotic and necrotic pathways. In the presence of 10 microM glutamate, 3NP administration resulted in a massive elevation in [Ca(2+)](c) and [Ca(2+)](m), decreased ATP, rapid mitochondrial membrane depolarization, and a rapid activation of calpain but not caspase activity. In the presence of the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801, 3NP did not induce a significant elevation of [Ca(2+)](c) within the 24h time period examined, nor increase [Ca(2+)](m) within 1h. ATP was maintained at control levels during the first hour of treatment, but declined 64% by 16h. Calpain and caspase activity were first evident at 24h following 3NP administration. 3NP treatment alone resulted in a more rapid decline in ATP, more rapid calpain activation (within 8h), and elevated [Ca(2+)](m) as compared to the results obtained with added MK-801. Together, the results demonstrate that 3NP-induced necrotic neuron death is associated with a massive calcium influx through NMDA receptors, resulting in mitochondrial depolarization and calpain activation; while 3NP-induced apoptotic neuron death is not associated with significant elevations in [Ca(2+)](c), nor with early changes in [Ca(2+)](m), mitochondrial membrane potential, ATP levels, or calpain activity.Neurochemistry International 08/2003; 43(2):89-99. · 2.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Regulation of the process of neuronal death plays a central role both during development of the CNS and in adult brain. The transcription factor myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) plays a critical role in neuronal survival. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) mediates neurotoxic effects by phosphorylating and inhibiting MEF2. How Cdk5-dependent phosphorylation reduces MEF2 transactivation activity remained unknown. Here, we demonstrate a novel mechanism by which Cdk5, in conjunction with caspase, inhibits MEF2. Using primary cerebellar granule neuron as a model, our investigation reveals that neurotoxicity induces destabilization of MEF2s in neurons. Destabilization of MEF2 is caused by an increase in caspase-dependent cleavage of MEF2. This cleavage event requires nuclear activation of Cdk5 activity. Phosphorylation by Cdk5 alone is sufficient to promote degradation of MEF2A and MEF2D by caspase-3. In contrast to MEF2A and MEF2D, MEF2C is not phosphorylated by Cdk5 after glutamate exposure and, therefore, resistant to neurotoxin-induced caspase-dependent degradation. Consistently, blocking Cdk5 or enhancing MEF2 reduced toxin-induced apoptosis. These findings define an important regulatory mechanism that for the first time links prodeath activities of Cdk5 and caspase. The convergence of Cdk5 phosphorylation-dependent caspase-mediated degradation of nuclear survival factors exemplified by MEF2 may represent a general process applicable to the regulation of other survival factors under diverse neurotoxic conditions.Journal of Neuroscience 06/2005; 25(19):4823-34. · 6.91 Impact Factor