A pinboard by
Sonam Parakh

Postdoctoral research fellow, Macqaurie University, Sydney, Australia


Redox (reduction/oxidation) regulated mechanisms key players in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Balanced chemical reactions (redox) are very crucial for proper functioning of neurons. It is the most central and fundamental process which promotes longevity. However, during Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), neurons lose their capacity to maintain redox balance and degenerate. Furthermore, protective redox molecules which assist in maintaining redox balance also becomes non-functional. This project is to identify the sources and targets of such redox imbalance in ALS. It aims to improve the function of protective redox molecules and establish homoeostasis. This project will therefore open up new avenues for the development of novel therapeutics in ALS, based on maintenance of cellular redox balance.


ALS-associated TDP-43 induces endoplasmic reticulum stress, which drives cytoplasmic TDP-43 accumulation and stress granule formation.

Abstract: In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration, TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) accumulates in the cytoplasm of affected neurons and glia, where it associates with stress granules (SGs) and forms large inclusions. SGs form in response to cellular stress, including endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which is induced in both familial and sporadic forms of ALS. Here we demonstrate that pharmacological induction of ER stress causes TDP-43 to accumulate in the cytoplasm, where TDP-43 also associates with SGs. Furthermore, treatment with salubrinal, an inhibitor of dephosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2-α, a key modulator of ER stress, potentiates ER stress-mediated SG formation. Inclusions of C-terminal fragment TDP-43, reminiscent of disease-pathology, form in close association with ER and Golgi compartments, further indicating the involvement of ER dysfunction in TDP-43-associated disease. Consistent with this notion, over-expression of ALS-linked mutant TDP-43, and to a lesser extent wildtype TDP-43, triggers several ER stress pathways in neuroblastoma cells. Similarly, we found an interaction between the ER chaperone protein disulphide isomerase and TDP-43 in transfected cell lysates and in the spinal cords of mutant A315T TDP-43 transgenic mice. This study provides evidence for ER stress as a pathogenic pathway in TDP-43-mediated disease.

Pub.: 07 Dec '13, Pinned: 29 Aug '17

Rab1-dependent ER-Golgi transport dysfunction is a common pathogenic mechanism in SOD1, TDP-43 and FUS-associated ALS.

Abstract: Several diverse proteins are linked genetically/pathologically to neurodegeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) including SOD1, TDP-43 and FUS. Using a variety of cellular and biochemical techniques, we demonstrate that ALS-associated mutant TDP-43, FUS and SOD1 inhibit protein transport between the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and Golgi apparatus in neuronal cells. ER-Golgi transport was also inhibited in embryonic cortical and motor neurons obtained from a widely used animal model (SOD1(G93A) mice), validating this mechanism as an early event in disease. Each protein inhibited transport by distinct mechanisms, but each process was dependent on Rab1. Mutant TDP-43 and mutant FUS both inhibited the incorporation of secretory protein cargo into COPII vesicles as they bud from the ER, and inhibited transport from ER to the ER-Golgi intermediate (ERGIC) compartment. TDP-43 was detected on the cytoplasmic face of the ER membrane, whereas FUS was present within the ER, suggesting that transport is inhibited from the cytoplasm by mutant TDP-43, and from the ER by mutant FUS. In contrast, mutant SOD1 destabilised microtubules and inhibited transport from the ERGIC compartment to Golgi, but not from ER to ERGIC. Rab1 performs multiple roles in ER-Golgi transport, and over-expression of Rab1 restored ER-Golgi transport, and prevented ER stress, mSOD1 inclusion formation and induction of apoptosis, in cells expressing mutant TDP-43, FUS or SOD1. Rab1 also co-localised extensively with mutant TDP-43, FUS and SOD1 in neuronal cells, and Rab1 formed inclusions in motor neurons of spinal cords from sporadic ALS patients, which were positive for ubiquitinated TDP-43, implying that Rab1 is misfolded and dysfunctional in sporadic disease. These results demonstrate that ALS-mutant forms of TDP-43, FUS, and SOD1 all perturb protein transport in the early secretory pathway, between ER and Golgi compartments. These data also imply that restoring Rab1-mediated ER-Golgi transport is a novel therapeutic target in ALS.

Pub.: 25 Aug '15, Pinned: 29 Aug '17