Mutant copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) induces protein secretion pathway alterations and exosome release in astrocytes: Implications for disease spreading and motor neuron pathology in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Manuela Basso, Silvia Pozzi, Massimo Tortarolo, Fabio Fiordaliso, Cinzia Bisighini, Laura Pasetto, Gabriella Spaltro, Dario Lidonnici, Francesco Gensano, Elisa Battaglia, Caterina Bendotti, Valentina Bonetto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is the most common motor neuron disease and is still incurable. The mechanisms leading to the selective motor neuron vulnerability are still not known. The interplay between motor neurons and astrocytes is crucial in the outcome of the disease. We show that mutant copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (SOD1) overexpression in primary astrocyte cultures is associated with decreased levels of proteins involved in secretory pathways. This is linked to a general reduction of total secreted proteins, except for specific enrichment in a number of proteins in the media, such as mutant SOD1 and valosin-containing protein (VCP)/p97. Because there was also an increase in exosome release, we can deduce that astrocytes expressing mutant SOD1 activate unconventional secretory pathways, possibly as a protective mechanism. This may help limit the formation of intracellular aggregates and overcome mutant SOD1 toxicity. We also found that astrocyte-derived exosomes efficiently transfer mutant SOD1 to spinal neurons and induce selective motor neuron death. We conclude that the expression of mutant SOD1 has a substantial impact on astrocyte protein secretion pathways, contributing to motor neuron pathology and disease spread.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15699-15711
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume288
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 31 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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