Analysis of RNA Expression Profiles Identifies Dysregulated Vesicle Trafficking Pathways in Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Anna Bartoletti-Stella, Patrizia Corrado, Nicola Mometto, Simone Baiardi, Pascal F. Durrenberger, Thomas Arzberger, Richard Reynolds, Hans Kretzschmar, Sabina Capellari, Piero Parchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Functional genomics applied to the study of RNA expression profiles identified several abnormal molecular processes in experimental prion disease. However, only a few similar studies have been carried out to date in a naturally occurring human prion disease. To better characterize the transcriptional cascades associated with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common human prion disease, we investigated the global gene expression profile in samples from the frontal cortex of 10 patients with sCJD and 10 non-neurological controls by microarray analysis. The comparison identified 333 highly differentially expressed genes (hDEGs) in sCJD. Functional enrichment Gene Ontology analysis revealed that hDEGs were mainly associated with synaptic transmission, including GABA (q value = 0.049) and glutamate (q value = 0.005) signaling, and the immune/inflammatory response. Furthermore, the analysis of cellular components performed on hDEGs showed a compromised regulation of vesicle-mediated transport with mainly up-regulated genes related to the endosome (q value = 0.01), lysosome (q value = 0.04), and extracellular exosome (q value < 0.01). A targeted analysis of the retromer core component VPS35 (vacuolar protein sorting-associated protein 35) showed a down-regulation of gene expression (p value= 0.006) and reduced brain protein levels (p value= 0.002). Taken together, these results confirm and expand previous microarray expression profile data in sCJD. Most significantly, they also demonstrate the involvement of the endosomal-lysosomal system. Since the latter is a common pathogenic pathway linking together diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, it might be the focus of future studies aimed to identify new therapeutic targets in neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018


  • Genome-wide expression
  • Human prion
  • Membrane trafficking
  • Retromer
  • Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • VPS35

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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