Neuronal ablation of coa synthase causes motor deficits, iron dyshomeostasis, and mitochondrial dysfunctions in a copan mouse model

Ivano Di Meo, Chiara Cavestro, Silvia Pedretti, Tingting Fu, Simona Ligorio, Antonello Manocchio, Lucrezia Lavermicocca, Paolo Santambrogio, Maddalena Ripamonti, Sonia Levi, Sophie Ayciriex, Nico Mitro, Valeria Tiranti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


COASY protein-associated neurodegeneration (CoPAN) is a rare but devastating genetic autosomal recessive disorder of inborn error of CoA metabolism, which shares with pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN) similar features, such as dystonia, parkinsonian traits, cognitive impairment, axonal neuropathy, and brain iron accumulation. These two disorders are part of the big group of neurodegenerations with brain iron accumulation (NBIA) for which no effective treatment is available at the moment. To date, the lack of a mammalian model, fully recapitulating the human disorder, has prevented the elucidation of pathogenesis and the development of therapeutic approaches. To gain new insights into the mechanisms linking CoA metabolism, iron dyshomeostasis, and neurodegeneration, we generated and characterized the first CoPAN disease mammalian model. Since CoA is a crucial metabolite, constitutive ablation of the Coasy gene is incompatible with life. On the contrary, a conditional neuronal-specific Coasy knock-out mouse model consistently developed a severe early onset neurological phenotype characterized by sensorimotor defects and dystonia-like movements, leading to premature death. For the first time, we highlighted defective brain iron homeostasis, elevation of iron, calcium, and magnesium, together with mitochondrial dysfunction. Surprisingly, total brain CoA levels were unchanged, and no signs of neurodegeneration were present.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9707
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2 2020


  • Coenzyme A
  • CoPAN (COASY protein-associated neurodegeneration)
  • Iron
  • Mitochondria
  • Mouse model
  • NBIA (neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation)
  • Neurodegeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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