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The ALS-linked E102Q mutation in Sigma receptor-1 leads to ER stress-mediated defects in protein homeostasis and dysregulation of RNA-binding proteins

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andreas Roos



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2017. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by the selective degeneration of motor neurons (MNs) and their target muscles. Misfolded proteins which often form intracellular aggregates are a pathological hallmark of ALS. Disruption of the functional interplay between protein degradation (ubiquitin proteasome system and autophagy) and RNA-binding protein homeostasis has recently been suggested as an integrated model that merges several ALS-associated proteins into a common pathophysiological pathway. The E102Q mutation in one such candidate gene, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperone Sigma receptor-1 (SigR1), has been reported to cause juvenile ALS. Although loss of SigR1 protein contributes to neurodegeneration in several ways, the molecular mechanisms underlying E102Q-SigR1-mediated neurodegeneration are still unclear. In the present study, we showed that the E102Q-SigR1 protein rapidly aggregates and accumulates in the ER and associated compartments in transfected cells, leading to structural alterations of the ER, nuclear envelope and mitochondria and to subsequent defects in proteasomal degradation and calcium homeostasis. ER defects and proteotoxic stress generated by E102Q-SigR1 aggregates further induce autophagy impairment, accumulation of stress granules and cytoplasmic aggregation of the ALS-linked RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) matrin-3, FUS, and TDP-43. Similar ultrastructural abnormalities as well as altered protein degradation and misregulated RBP homeostasis were observed in primary lymphoblastoid cells (PLCs) derived from E102Q-SigR1 fALS patients. Consistent with these findings, lumbar α-MNs of both sALS as well as fALS patients showed cytoplasmic matrin-3 aggregates which were not co-localized with pTDP-43 aggregates. Taken together, our results support the notion that E102Q-SigR1-mediated ALS pathogenesis comprises a synergistic mechanism of both toxic gain and loss of function involving a vicious circle of altered ER function, impaired protein homeostasis and defective RBPs.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dreser A, Vollrath JT, Sechi A, Johann S, Roos A, Yamoah A, Katona I, Bohlega S, Wiemuth D, Tian Y, Schmidt A, Vervoorts J, Dohmen M, Beyer C, Anink J, Aronica E, Troost D, Weis J, Goswami A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cell Death and Differentiation

Year: 2017

Volume: 24

Issue: 10

Pages: 1655-1671

Print publication date: 01/10/2017

Online publication date: 16/06/2017

Acceptance date: 22/03/2017

Date deposited: 10/10/2017

ISSN (print): 1350-9047

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5403

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/cdd.2017.88


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