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Tübingen, Germany

Nguyen D.,University of California at San Diego | Alavi M.V.,Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz | Kim K.-Y.,University of California at San Diego | Kang T.,University of California at San Diego | And 8 more authors.
Cell Death and Disease | Year: 2011

Glutamate excitotoxicity leads to fragmented mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases, mediated by nitric oxide and S-nitrosylation of dynamin-related protein 1, a mitochondrial outer membrane fission protein. Optic atrophy gene 1 (OPA1) is an inner membrane protein important for mitochondrial fusion. Autosomal dominant optic atrophy (ADOA), caused by mutations in OPA1, is a neurodegenerative disease affecting mainly retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). Here, we showed that OPA1 deficiency in an ADOA model influences N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor expression, which is involved in glutamate excitotoxicity and oxidative stress. Opa1 enu/+ mice show a slow progressive loss of RGCs, activation of astroglia and microglia, and pronounced mitochondrial fission in optic nerve heads as found by electron tomography. Expression of NMDA receptors (NR1, 2A, and 2B) in the retina of Opa1 enu/+ mice was significantly increased as determined by western blot and immunohistochemistry. Superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2) expression was significantly decreased, the apoptotic pathway was activated as Bax was increased, and phosphorylated Bad and BcL-xL were decreased. Our results conclusively demonstrate that not only glutamate excitotoxicity and/or oxidative stress alters mitochondrial fission/fusion, but that an imbalance in mitochondrial fission/fusion in turn leads to NMDA receptor upregulation and oxidative stress. Therefore, we propose a new vicious cycle involved in neurodegeneration that includes glutamate excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dynamics. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Achilli A.,University of Perugia | Iommarini L.,University of Bologna | Olivieri A.,University of Pavia | Pala M.,University of Pavia | And 25 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited blinding disorder, which in over 90% of cases is due to one of three primary mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) point mutations (m.11778G>A, m.3460G>A and m.14484T>C, respectively in MT-ND4, MT-ND1 and MT-ND6 genes). However, the spectrum of mtDNA mutations causing the remaining 10% of cases is only partially and often poorly defined. Methodology/Principal Findings: In order to improve such a list of pathological variants, we completely sequenced the mitochondrial genomes of suspected LHON patients from Italy, France and Germany, lacking the three primary common mutations. Phylogenetic and conservation analyses were performed. Sixteen mitochondrial genomes were found to harbor at least one of the following nine rare LHON pathogenic mutations in genes MT-ND1 (m.3700G>A/p.A132T, m.3733G>A-C/p.E143K-Q, m.4171C>A/p.L289M), MT-ND4L (m.10663T>C/p.V65A) and MT-ND6 (m.14459G>A/p.A72V, m.14495A>G/p.M64I, m.14482C>A/p.L60S, and m.14568C>T/p.G36S). Phylogenetic analyses revealed that these substitutions were due to independent events on different haplogroups, whereas interspecies comparisons showed that they affected conserved amino acid residues or domains in the ND subunit genes of complex I. Conclusions/Significance: Our findings indicate that these nine substitutions are all primary LHON mutations. Therefore, despite their relative low frequency, they should be routinely tested for in all LHON patients lacking the three common mutations. Moreover, our sequence analysis confirms the major role of haplogroups J1c and J2b (over 35% in our probands versus 6% in the general population of Western Europe) and other putative synergistic mtDNA variants in LHON expression. © 2012 Achilli et al.

Carretero L.,University of Oviedo | Carretero L.,Kings College London | Llavona P.,University of Oviedo | Llavona P.,University Clinics Tuebingen | And 7 more authors.
Cellular Signalling | Year: 2015

The transduction pathway mediating the inhibitory effect that TRH exerts on r-ERG channels has been thoroughly studied in GH3 rat pituitary cells but some elements have yet to be discovered, including those involved in a phosphorylation event(s). Using a quantitative phosphoproteomic approach we studied the changes in phosphorylation caused by treatment with 1μM TRH for 5min in GH3 cells. The activating residues of Erk2 and Erk1 undergo phosphorylation increases of 5.26 and 4.87 fold, respectively, in agreement with previous reports of ERK activation by TRH in GH3 cells. Thus, we studied the possible involvement of ERK pathway in the signal transduction from TRH receptor to r-ERG channels. The MEK inhibitor U0126 at 0.5μM caused no major blockade of the basal r-ERG current, but impaired the TRH inhibitory effect on r-ERG. Indeed, the TRH effect on r-ERG was also reduced when GH3 cells were transfected with siRNAs against either Erk1 or Erk2. Using antibodies, we found that TRH treatment also causes activating phosphorylation of Rsk. The TRH effect on r-ERG current was also impaired when cells were transfected with any of two different siRNAs mixtures against Rsk1. However, treatment of GH3 cells with 20nM EGF for 5min, which causes ERK and RSK activation, had no effect on the r-ERG currents. Therefore, we conclude that in the native GH3 cell system, ERK and RSK are involved in the pathway linking TRH receptor to r-ERG channel inhibition, but additional components must participate to cause such inhibition. © 2015 Elsevier Inc.

Shaikh R.S.,Bahauddin Zakariya University | Reuter P.,University Clinics Tuebingen | Sisk R.A.,Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Research Foundation | Kausar T.,Bahauddin Zakariya University | And 8 more authors.
European Journal of Human Genetics | Year: 2015

We assessed a large consanguineous Pakistani family (PKAB157) segregating early onset low vision problems. Funduscopic and electroretinographic evaluation of affected individuals revealed juvenile cone-rod dystrophy (CRD) with maculopathy. Other clinical symptoms included loss of color discrimination, photophobia and nystagmus. Whole-exome sequencing, segregation and haplotype analyses demonstrated that a transition variant (c.955T>C; p.(Cys319Arg)) in CNGA3 co-segregated with the CRD phenotype in family PKAB157. The ability of CNGA3 channel to influx calcium in response to agonist, when expressed either alone or together with the wild-type CNGB3 subunit in HEK293 cells, was completely abolished due to p.Cys319Arg variant. Western blotting and immunolocalization studies suggest that a decreased channel density in the HEK293 cell membrane due to impaired folding and/or trafficking of the CNGA3 protein is the main pathogenic effect of the p.Cys319Arg variant. Mutant alleles of the human cone photoreceptor cyclic nucleotide-gated channel (CNGA3) are frequently associated with achromatopsia. In rare cases, variants in CNGA3 are also associated with cone dystrophy, Leber's congenital amaurosis and oligo cone trichromacy. The identification of predicted p.(Cys319Arg) missense variant in CNGA3 expands the repertoire of the known genetic causes of CRD and phenotypic spectrum of CNGA3 alleles. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Grau T.,University Clinics Tuebingen | Artemyev N.O.,University of Iowa | Rosenberg T.,Kennedy Center | Rosenberg T.,The Gordon Norrie Center for Genetic Eye Disease | And 11 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2011

Mutations in the gene encoding the catalytic subunit of the cone photoreceptor phosphodiesterase (PDE6C) have been recently reported in patients with autosomal recessive inherited achromatopsia (ACHM) and early-onset cone photoreceptor dysfunction. Here we present the results of a comprehensive study on PDE6C mutations including the mutation spectrum, its prevalence in a large cohort of ACHM/cone dysfunction patients, the clinical phenotype and the functional characterization of mutant PDE6C proteins. Twelve affected patients from seven independent families segregating PDE6C mutations were identified in our total patient cohort of 492 independent families. Eleven different PDE6C mutations were found including two nonsense mutations, three mutations affecting transcript splicing as shown by minigene assays, one 1 bp-insertion and five missense mutations. We also performed a detailed functional characterization of six missense mutations applying the baculovirus system to express recombinant mutant and wildtype chimeric PDE6C/PDE5 proteins in Sf9 insect cells. Purified proteins were analyzed using Western blotting, phosphodiesterase (PDE) activity measurements as well as inhibition assays by zaprinast and PΓ. Four of the six PDE6C missense mutations led to baseline PDE activities and most likely represent functional null alleles. For two mutations, p.E790K and p.Y323N, we observed reduction in PDE activity of approximately 60% and 80%, respectively. We also observed differences for PΓ inhibition. The p.E790K mutant, with an IC50 value of 2.7 nm is 20.7-fold more sensitive for PΓ inhibition, whereas the p.Y323N mutant with an IC50 of 158 nm is 3-fold less sensitive when compared with the wildtype control. © The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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