Nav: Home

Collapse of mitochondria-associated membrane in ALS

November 08, 2016

Nagoya, Japan - Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an adult onset, fetal neurodegenerative disease that selectively affects motor neurons. To date, more than 20 genes are identified as a causative of inherited ALS, and many researchers investigate the pathomechanism of ALS.

A research team led by Prof. Koji Yamanaka (Nagoya University) found that collapse of the MAM is a common pathological hallmark to two distinct inherited forms of ALS: SOD1- and SIGMAR1- linked ALS. The research findings were reported in EMBO Molecular Medicine on November 7th, 2016.

The researchers focused on the mitochondria-associated membrane (MAM), which is a contacting site of mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Recent studies have revealed that the MAM plays a key role in cellular homeostasis, such as lipid synthesis, protein degradation, and energy metabolism. Intriguingly, a recessive mutation in SIGMAR1 gene, which encodes sigma 1 receptor (Sig1R), a chaperone enriched in the MAM, is causative for a juvenile ALS. In this study, the researchers identified a novel ALS-linked SIGMAR1 mutation, c.283dupC/p.L95fs in a juvenile-onset ALS case. Moreover, ALS-linked Sig1R mutant proteins were unstable and non-functional, indicating a loss-of function mechanism in SIGMAR1-linked ALS.

A loss of Sig1R function induced MAM disruption in neurons. However, it was still unknown whether the MAM alternation was also involved in the other ALS cases. To address this question, the researchers cross-bred SIGMAR1 deficient mice with the other inherited ALS mice which overexpress a mutant form of SOD1 gene. SIGMAR1 deficiency accelerated disease onset of SOD1-ALS mice by more than 20 %. In those mice, inositol triphosphate receptor type-3 (IP3R3), a MAM-enriched calcium ion (Ca2+) channel on ER, was disappeared from the MAM. The loss of proper localization of IP3R3 led to Ca2++ dysregulation to exacerbate the neurodegeneration. The researchers also found that IP3R3 was selectively enriched in motor neurons, suggesting that integrity of the MAM is crucial for the selective vulnerability in ALS.

These results provide us with new perspectives regarding future therapeutics, especially focused on preventing the MAM disruption for ALS patients. Together with the research from other groups, collapse of the MAM is widely observed in the other genetic causes of ALS, and therefore it may be applicable to sporadic ALS patients.
-end-
The article, "Collapse of mitochondria-associated membrane is a common pathomechanism in SIGMAR1- and SOD1-linked ALS" was published in EMBO Molecular Medicine at DOI: 10.15252/emmm.201606403

Nagoya University

Related Neurons Articles:

New tool to identify and control neurons
One of the big challenges in the Neuroscience field is to understand how connections and communications trigger our behavior.
Neurons that regenerate, neurons that die
In a new study published in Neuron, investigators report on a transcription factor that they have found that can help certain neurons regenerate, while simultaneously killing others.
How neurons use crowdsourcing to make decisions
When many individual neurons collect data, how do they reach a unanimous decision?
Neurons can learn temporal patterns
Individual neurons can learn not only single responses to a particular signal, but also a series of reactions at precisely timed intervals.
A turbo engine for tracing neurons
Putting a turbo engine into an old car gives it an entirely new life -- suddenly it can go further, faster.
More Neurons News and Neurons Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#535 Superior
Apologies for the delay getting this week's episode out! A technical glitch slowed us down, but all is once again well. This week, we look at the often troubling intertwining of science and race: its long history, its ability to persist even during periods of disrepute, and the current forms it takes as it resurfaces, leveraging the internet and nationalism to buoy itself. We speak with Angela Saini, independent journalist and author of the new book "Superior: The Return of Race Science", about where race science went and how it's coming back.