Hyccin, the molecule mutated in the leukodystrophy hypomyelination and congenital cataract (HCC), is a neuronal protein

Elisabetta Gazzerro, Simona Baldassari, Caterina Giacomini, Veronica Musante, Floriana Fruscione, Veronica la Padula, Roberta Biancheri, Sonia Scarfì, Valeria Prada, Federica Sotgia, Ian D. Duncan, Federico Zara, Hauke B. Werner, Michael P. Lisanti, Lucilla Nobbio, Anna Corradi, Carlo Minetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

"Hypomyelination and Congenital Cataract", HCC (MIM #610532), is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by congenital cataract and diffuse cerebral and peripheral hypomyelination. HCC is caused by deficiency of Hyccin, a protein whose biological role has not been clarified yet. Since the identification of the cell types expressing a protein of unknown function can contribute to define the physiological context in which the molecule is explicating its function, we analyzed the pattern of Hyccin expression in the central and peripheral nervous system (CNS and PNS). Using heterozygous mice expressing the b-galactosidase (LacZ) gene under control of the Hyccin gene regulatory elements, we show that the gene is primarily expressed in neuronal cells. Indeed, Hyccin-LacZ signal was identified in CA1 hippocampal pyramidal neurons, olfactory bulb, and cortical pyramidal neurons, while it did not colocalize with oligodendroglial or astrocytic markers. In the PNS, Hyccin was detectable only in axons isolated from newborn mice. In the brain, Hyccin transcript levels were higher in early postnatal development (postnatal days 2 and 10) and then declined in adult mice. In a model of active myelinogenesis, organotypic cultures of rat Schwann cells (SC)/Dorsal Root Ganglion (DRG) sensory neurons, Hyccin was detected along the neurites, while it was absent from SC. Intriguingly, the abundance of the molecule was upregulated at postnatal days 10 and 15, in the initial steps of myelinogenesis and then declined at 30 days when the process is complete. As Hyccin is primarily expressed in neurons and its mutation leads to hypomyelination in human patients, we suggest that the protein is involved in neuron-to-glia signalling to initiate or maintain myelination.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere32180
JournalPLoS One
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 26 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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