- Article (7) (remove)
- The mitochondrial genome of the venomous cone snail conus consors (2012)
- Cone snails are venomous predatory marine neogastropods that belong to the species-rich superfamily of the Conoidea. So far, the mitochondrial genomes of two cone snail species (Conus textile and Conus borgesi) have been described, and these feed on snails and worms, respectively. Here, we report the mitochondrial genome sequence of the fish-hunting cone snail Conus consors and describe a novel putative control region (CR) which seems to be absent in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of other cone snail species. This possible CR spans about 700 base pairs (bp) and is located between the genes encoding the transfer RNA for phenylalanine (tRNA-Phe, trnF) and cytochrome c oxidase subunit III (cox3). The novel putative CR contains several sequence motifs that suggest a role in mitochondrial replication and transcription.
- 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.
- Venomous secretions from marine snails of the Terebridae family target acetylcholine receptors (2013)
- Venoms from cone snails (Conidae) have been extensively studied during the last decades, but those from other members of the suborder Toxoglossa, such as of Terebridae and Turridae superfamilies attracted less interest so far. Here, we report the effects of venom and gland extracts from three species of the superfamily Terebridae. By 2-electrode voltage-clamp technique the gland extracts were tested on Xenopus oocytes expressing nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) of rat neuronal (α3β2, α3β4, α4β2, α4β4, α7) and muscle subtypes (α1β1γδ), and expressing potassium (Kv1.2 and Kv1.3) and sodium channels (Nav1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6). The extracts were shown to exhibit remarkably high inhibitory activities on almost all nAChRs tested, in particular on the α7 subtype suggesting the presence of peptides of the A-superfamily from the venom of Conus species. In contrast, no effects on the potassium and sodium channels tested were observed. The venoms of terebrid snails may offer an additional source of novel biologically active peptides.
- Memory Concerns, Memory Performance and Risk of Dementia in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (2014)
- Background: Concerns about worsening memory (“memory concerns”; MC) and impairment in memory performance are both predictors of Alzheimer's dementia (AD). The relationship of both in dementia prediction at the pre-dementia disease stage, however, is not well explored. Refined understanding of the contribution of both MC and memory performance in dementia prediction is crucial for defining at-risk populations. We examined the risk of incident AD by MC and memory performance in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Methods: We analyzed data of 417 MCI patients from a longitudinal multicenter observational study. Patients were classified based on presence (n = 305) vs. absence (n = 112) of MC. Risk of incident AD was estimated with Cox Proportional-Hazards regression models. Results: Risk of incident AD was increased by MC (HR = 2.55, 95%CI: 1.33–4.89), lower memory performance (HR = 0.63, 95%CI: 0.56–0.71) and ApoE4-genotype (HR = 1.89, 95%CI: 1.18–3.02). An interaction effect between MC and memory performance was observed. The predictive power of MC was greatest for patients with very mild memory impairment and decreased with increasing memory impairment. Conclusions: Our data suggest that the power of MC as a predictor of future dementia at the MCI stage varies with the patients' level of cognitive impairment. While MC are predictive at early stage MCI, their predictive value at more advanced stages of MCI is reduced. This suggests that loss of insight related to AD may occur at the late stage of MCI.