UBC Faculty Research and Publications

ALS-linked misfolded SOD1 species have divergent impacts on mitochondria Pickles, Sarah; Semmler, Sabrina; Broom, Helen R; Destroismaisons, Laurie; Legroux, Laurine; Arbour, Nathalie; Meiering, Elizabeth; Cashman, Neil R; Vande Velde, Christine


Approximately 20 % of familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is caused by mutations in superoxide dismutase (SOD1), which leads to misfolding of the SOD1 protein, resulting in a toxic gain of function. Several conformation-restricted antibodies have been generated that specifically recognize misfolded SOD1 protein, and have been used as therapeutics in pre-clinical models. Misfolded SOD1 selectively associates with spinal cord mitochondria in SOD1 rodent models. Using the SOD1G93A rat model, we find that SOD1 conformational specific antibodies AMF7-63 and DSE2-3H1 labeled a fibrillar network concentrated in the anterior horn; while A5C3, B8H10, C4F6 and D3H5 labeled motor neurons as well as puncta in the neuropil. There is a time-dependent accumulation of misfolded SOD1 at the surface of spinal cord mitochondria with AMF7-63-labeled mitochondria having increased volume in contrast to a mitochondrial subset labeled with B8H10. In spinal cord homogenates and isolated mitochondria, AMF7-63, DSE2-3H1 and B8H10 detect misfolded SOD1 aggregates. SOD1 that lacks its metal cofactors has an increased affinity for naïve mitochondria and misfolded SOD1 antibodies B8H10 and DSE2-3H1 readily detect demetalated mutant and wild-type SOD1. Together, these data suggest that multiple non-native species of misfolded SOD1 may exist, some of which are associated with mitochondrial damage. Conformational antibodies are invaluable tools to identify and characterize the variation in misfolded SOD1 species with regards to biochemical characteristics and toxicity. This information is highly relevant to the further development of these reagents as therapeutics.

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