Journal Article

Megalencephalic leukoencephalopathy with subcortical cysts protein 1 functionally cooperates with the TRPV4 cation channel to activate the response of astrocytes to osmotic stress: dysregulation by pathological mutations

Angela Lanciotti, Maria S. Brignone, Paola Molinari, Sergio Visentin, Chiara De Nuccio, Gianfranco Macchia, Chiara Aiello, Enrico Bertini, Francesca Aloisi, Tamara C. Petrucci and Elena Ambrosini

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 21, issue 10, pages 2166-2180
Published in print May 2012 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online February 2012 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/dds032
Megalencephalic leukoencephalopathy with subcortical cysts protein 1 functionally cooperates with the TRPV4 cation channel to activate the response of astrocytes to osmotic stress: dysregulation by pathological mutations

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Megalencephalic leukoencephalopathy with subcortical cysts (MLC), a rare leukodystrophy characterized by macrocephaly, subcortical fluid cysts and myelin vacuolation, has been linked to mutations in the MLC1 gene. This gene encodes a membrane protein that is highly expressed in astrocytes. Based on MLC pathological features, it was proposed that astrocyte-mediated defects in ion and fluid homeostasis could account for the alterations observed in MLC-affected brains. However, the role of MLC1 and the effects of pathological mutations on astrocyte osmoregulatory functions have still to be demonstrated. Using human astrocytoma cells stably overexpressing wild-type MLC1 or three known MLC-associated pathological mutations, we investigated MLC1 involvement in astrocyte reaction to osmotic changes using biochemical, dynamic video imaging and immunofluorescence techniques. We have found that MLC1 overexpressed in astrocytoma cells is mainly localized in the plasma membrane, is part of the Na,K-ATPase-associated molecular complex that includes the potassium channel Kir4.1, syntrophin and aquaporin-4 and functionally interacts with the calcium permeable channel TRPV4 (transient receptor potential vanilloid-4 cation channel) which mediates swelling-induced cytosolic calcium increase and volume recovery in response to hyposmosis. Pathological MLC mutations cause changes in MLC1 expression and intracellular localization as well as in the astrocyte response to osmotic changes by altering MLC1 molecular interactions with the Na,K-ATPase molecular complex and abolishing the increase in calcium influx induced by hyposmosis and treatment with the TRPV4 agonist 4αPDD. These data demonstrate, for the first time, that MLC1 plays a role in astrocyte osmo-homeostasis and that defects in intracellular calcium dynamics may contribute to MLC pathogenesis.

Journal Article.  8210 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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