Year of publication
- 2010 (2) (remove)
- 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.
- Modulation of the glyoxalase system in the aging model Podospora anserina: effects on growth and lifespan (2010)
- The eukaryotic glyoxalase system consists of two enzymatic components, glyoxalase I (lactoylglutathionelyase) and glyoxalase II (hydroxyacylglutathione hydrolase). These enzymes are dedicated to the removal of toxic alpha-oxoaldehydes like methylglyoxal (MG). MG is formed as a by-product of glycolysis and MG toxicity results from its damaging capability leading to modifications of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. An efficient removal of MG appears to be essential to ensure cellular functionality and viability. Here we study the effects of the genetic modulation of genes encoding the components of the glyoxalase system in the filamentous ascomycete and aging model Podospora anserina. Overexpression of PaGlo1 leads to a lifespan reduction on glucose rich medium, probably due to depletion of reduced glutathione. Deletion of PaGlo1 leads to hypersensitivity against MG added to the growth medium. A beneficial effect on lifespan is observed when both PaGlo1 and PaGlo2 are overexpressed and the corresponding strains are grown on media containing increased glucose concentrations. Notably, the double mutant has a ‘healthy’ phenotype without physiological impairments. Moreover, PaGlo1/PaGlo2_OEx strains are not long-lived on media containing standard glucose concentrations suggesting a tight correlation between the efficiency and capacity to remove MG within the cell, the level of available glucose and lifespan. Overall, our results identify the up-regulation of both components of the glyoxalase system as an effective intervention to increase lifespan in P. anserina. Key words: Podospora anserina, aging, lifespan, glycation, glucose, methylglyoxal, advanced glycation end products