Indexed on: 03 Jun '08Published on: 03 Jun '08Published in: Journal of Biological Chemistry
An important consequence of protein misfolding related to neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is the formation of proteinaceous inclusions or aggregates within the central nervous system. We have previously shown that several familial ALS-linked copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) mutants (A4V, G85R, and G93A) interact and co-localize with the dynein-dynactin complex in cultured cells and affected tissues of ALS mice. In this study, we report that the interaction between mutant SOD1 and the dynein motor plays a critical role in the formation of large inclusions containing mutant SOD1. Disruption of the motor by overexpression of the p50 subunit of dynactin in neuronal and non-neuronal cell cultures abolished the association between aggregation-prone SOD1 mutants and the dynein-dynactin complex. The p50 overexpression also prevented mutant SOD1 inclusion formation and improved the survival of cells expressing A4V SOD1. Furthermore, we observed that two ALS-linked SOD1 mutants, H46R and H48Q, which showed a lower propensity to interact with the dynein motor, also produced less aggregation and fewer large inclusions. Overall, these data suggest that formation of large inclusions depends upon association of the abnormal SOD1s with the dynein motor. Whether the misfolded SOD1s directly perturb axonal transport or impair other functional properties of the dynein motor, this interaction could propagate a toxic effect that ultimately causes motor neuron death in ALS.