Tokyo Metropolitan Neurological Hospital Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo Metropolitan Neurological Hospital Tokyo

Tokyo, Japan
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PubMed | Tokyo Metropolitan Neurological Hospital Tokyo
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in cellular neuroscience | Year: 2014

Prion-like propagation has recently been proposed for disease spread in Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1)-linked familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Pathological SOD1 conformers are presumed to propagate via cell-to-cell transmission. In this model, the risk-based kinetics of neuronal cell loss over time appears to be represented by a sigmoidal function that reflects the kinetics of intercellular transmission. Here, we describe an alternative view of prion-like propagation in SOD1-linked ALS - its relation to disease prognosis under the protective-aggregation hypothesis. Nucleation-dependent polymerization has been widely accepted as the molecular mechanism of prion propagation. If toxic species of misfolded SOD1, as soluble oligomers, are formed as on-pathway intermediates of nucleation-dependent polymerization, further fibril extension via sequential addition of monomeric mutant SOD1 would be protective against neurodegeneration. This is because the concentration of unfolded mutant SOD1 monomers, which serve as precursor of nucleation and toxic species of mutant SOD1, would decline in proportion to the extent of aggregation. The nucleation process requires that native conformers exist in an unfolded state that may result from escaping the cellular protein quality control machinery. However, prion-like propagation-SOD1 aggregated form self-propagates by imposing its altered conformation on normal SOD1-appears to antagonize the protective role of aggregate growth. The cross-seeding reaction with normal SOD1 would lead to a failure to reduce the concentration of unfolded mutant SOD1 monomers, resulting in continuous nucleation and subsequent generation of toxic species, and influence disease prognosis. In this alternative view, the kinetics of neuronal loss appears to be represented by an exponential function, with decreasing risk reflecting the protective role of aggregate and the potential for cross-seeding reactions between mutant SOD1 and normal SOD1.

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