Journal Article

Mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), a cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, disrupts the recruitment of SMN, the spinal muscular atrophy protein to nuclear Cajal bodies

Shingo Kariya, Diane B. Re, Arnaud Jacquier, Katelyn Nelson, Serge Przedborski and Umrao R. Monani

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 21, issue 15, pages 3421-3434
Published in print August 2012 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online May 2012 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/dds174
Mutant superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), a cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, disrupts the recruitment of SMN, the spinal muscular atrophy protein to nuclear Cajal bodies

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Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are among the most common motor neuron diseases to afflict the human population. A deficiency of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein causes SMA and is also reported to be an exacerbating factor in the development of ALS. However, pathways linking the two diseases have yet to be defined and it is not clear precisely how the pathology of ALS is aggravated by reduced SMN or whether mutant proteins underlying familial forms of ALS interfere with SMN-related biochemical pathways to exacerbate the neurodegenerative process. In this study, we show that mutant superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1), a cause of familial ALS, profoundly alters the sub-cellular localization of the SMN protein, preventing the formation of nuclear ‘gems’ by disrupting the recruitment of the protein to Cajal bodies. Overexpressing the SMN protein in mutant SOD1 mice, a model of familial ALS, alleviates this phenomenon, most likely in a cell-autonomous manner, and significantly mitigates the loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and in culture dishes. In the mice, the onset of the neuromuscular phenotype is delayed and motor function enhanced, suggestive of a therapeutic benefit for ALS patients treated with agents that augment the SMN protein. Nevertheless, this finding is tempered by an inability to prolong survival, a limitation most likely imposed by the inexorable denervation that characterizes ALS and eventually disrupts the neuromuscular synapses even in the presence of increased SMN.

Journal Article.  8311 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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