- A53T-alpha-synuclein overexpression impairs dopamine signaling and striatal synaptic plasticity in old mice (2010)
- BACKGROUND: Parkinson's disease (PD), the second most frequent neurodegenerative disorder at old age, can be caused by elevated expression or the A53T missense mutation of the presynaptic protein alpha-synuclein (SNCA). PD is characterized pathologically by the preferential vulnerability of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal projection neurons. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we used two mouse lines overexpressing human A53T-SNCA and studied striatal dysfunction in the absence of neurodegeneration to understand early disease mechanisms. To characterize the progression, we employed young adult as well as old mice. Analysis of striatal neurotransmitter content demonstrated that dopamine (DA) levels correlated directly with the level of expression of SNCA, an observation also made in SNCA-deficient (knockout, KO) mice. However, the elevated DA levels in the striatum of old A53T-SNCA overexpressing mice may not be transmitted appropriately, in view of three observations. First, a transcriptional downregulation of the extraneural DA degradation enzyme catechol-ortho-methytransferase (COMT) was found. Second, an upregulation of DA receptors was detected by immunoblots and autoradiography. Third, extensive transcriptome studies via microarrays and quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qPCR) of altered transcript levels of the DA-inducible genes Atf2, Cb1, Freq, Homer1 and Pde7b indicated a progressive and genotype-dependent reduction in the postsynaptic DA response. As a functional consequence, long term depression (LTD) was absent in corticostriatal slices from old transgenic mice. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Taken together, the dysfunctional neurotransmission and impaired synaptic plasticity seen in the A53T-SNCA overexpressing mice reflect early changes within the basal ganglia prior to frank neurodegeneration. As a model of preclinical stages of PD, such insights may help to develop neuroprotective therapeutic approaches.
- The role of glyoxalases for sugar stress and aging, with relevance for dyskinesia, anxiety, dementia and Parkinson's disease (2011)
- Commentary on: Scheckhuber CQ et al. Modulation of the glyoxalase system in the aging model Podospora anserina: effects on growth and lifespan. Aging. 2010; 2: 969-980.
- Parkinson phenotype in aged PINK1-deficient mice is accompanied by progressive mitochondrial dysfunction in absence of neurodegeneration (2009)
- Background Parkinson's disease (PD) is an adult-onset movement disorder of largely unknown etiology. We have previously shown that loss-of-function mutations of the mitochondrial protein kinase PINK1 (PTEN induced putative kinase 1) cause the recessive PARK6 variant of PD. Methodology/Principal Findings Now we generated a PINK1 deficient mouse and observed several novel phenotypes: A progressive reduction of weight and of locomotor activity selectively for spontaneous movements occurred at old age. As in PD, abnormal dopamine levels in the aged nigrostriatal projection accompanied the reduced movements. Possibly in line with the PARK6 syndrome but in contrast to sporadic PD, a reduced lifespan, dysfunction of brainstem and sympathetic nerves, visible aggregates of alpha-synuclein within Lewy bodies or nigrostriatal neurodegeneration were not present in aged PINK1-deficient mice. However, we demonstrate PINK1 mutant mice to exhibit a progressive reduction in mitochondrial preprotein import correlating with defects of core mitochondrial functions like ATP-generation and respiration. In contrast to the strong effect of PINK1 on mitochondrial dynamics in Drosophila melanogaster and in spite of reduced expression of fission factor Mtp18, we show reduced fission and increased aggregation of mitochondria only under stress in PINK1-deficient mouse neurons. Conclusion Thus, aging Pink1 -/- mice show increasing mitochondrial dysfunction resulting in impaired neural activity similar to PD, in absence of overt neuronal death.
- A53T-alpha-synuclein-overexpression in the mouse nigrostriatal pathway leads to early increase of 14-3-3 epsilon and late increase of GFAP (2011)
- Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder frequent at old age characterized by atrophy of the nigrostriatal projection. Overexpression and A53T-mutation of the presynaptic, vesicle-associated chaperone alpha-synuclein are known to cause early-onset autosomal dominant PD. We previously generated mice with transgenic overexpression of human A53T-alpha-synuclein (A53T-SNCA) in dopaminergic substantia nigra neurons as a model of early PD. To elucidate the early and late effects of A53T-alpha-synuclein on the proteome of dopaminergic nerve terminals in the striatum, we now investigated expression profiles of young and old mice using two-dimensional fluorescence difference in gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) and mass spectrometry. In total, 15 proteins were upregulated and 2 downregulated. Mice before the onset of motor anomalies showed an upregulation of the spot containing 14-3-3 proteins, in particular the epsilon isoform, as well as altered levels of chaperones, vesicle trafficking and bioenergetics proteins. In old mice, the persistent upregulation of 14-3-3 proteins was aggravated by an increase of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) suggesting astrogliosis due to initial neurodegeneration. Independent immunoblots corroborated GFAP upregulation and 14-3-3 upregulation for the epsilon isoform, and also detected significant eta and gamma changes. Only for 14-3-3 epsilon a corresponding mRNA increase was observed in midbrain, suggesting it is transcribed in dopaminergic perikarya and accumulates as protein in presynapses, together with A53T-SNCA. 14-3-3 proteins associate with alpha-synuclein in vitro and in pathognomonic Lewy bodies of PD brains. They act as chaperones in signaling, dopamine synthesis and stress response. Thus, their early dysregulation probably reflects a response to alpha-synuclein toxicity. Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00702-011-0717-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
- Alpha-synuclein deficiency leads to increased glyoxalase I expression and glycation stress (2010)
- The presynaptic protein alpha-synuclein has received much attention because its gain-of-function is associated with Parkinson’s disease. However, its physiological function is still poorly understood. We studied brain regions of knock-out mice at different ages with regard to consistent upregulations of the transcriptome and focused on glyoxalase I (GLO1). The microarray data were confirmed in qPCR, immunoblot, enzyme activity, and behavior analyses. GLO1 induction is a known protective cellular response to glucose stress, representing efforts to decrease toxic levels of methylglyoxal (MG), glyoxal and advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). Mass spectrometry quantification demonstrated a ubiquitous increase in MG and fructosyl-lysine as consequences of glucose toxicity, and consistent enhancement of certain AGEs. Thus, GLO1 induction in KO brain seems insufficient to prevent AGE formation. In conclusion, the data demonstrate GLO1 expression and glycation damage to be induced by alpha-synuclein ablation. We propose that wild-type alpha-synuclein modulates brain glucose metabolism.