ResearchPad - amyotrophic-lateral-sclerosis https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Differences in splicing defects between the grey and white matter in myotonic dystrophy type 1 patients]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14627 Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a multi-system disorder caused by CTG repeats in the myotonic dystrophy protein kinase (DMPK) gene. This leads to the sequestration of splicing factors such as muscleblind-like 1/2 (MBNL1/2) and aberrant splicing in the central nervous system. We investigated the splicing patterns of MBNL1/2 and genes controlled by MBNL2 in several regions of the brain and between the grey matter (GM) and white matter (WM) in DM1 patients using RT-PCR. Compared with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, as disease controls), the percentage of spliced-in parameter (PSI) for most of the examined exons were significantly altered in most of the brain regions of DM1 patients, except for the cerebellum. The splicing of many genes was differently regulated between the GM and WM in both DM1 and ALS. In 7 out of the 15 examined splicing events, the level of PSI change between DM1 and ALS was significantly higher in the GM than in the WM. The differences in alternative splicing between the GM and WM may be related to the effect of DM1 on the WM of the brain.

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<![CDATA[Dysregulated biodynamics in metabolic attractor systems precede the emergence of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd64c8bc4-d849-4cf6-88a9-792b4ee4d346

Evolutionarily conserved mechanisms maintain homeostasis of essential elements, and are believed to be highly time-variant. However, current approaches measure elemental biomarkers at a few discrete time-points, ignoring complex higher-order dynamical features. To study dynamical properties of elemental homeostasis, we apply laser ablation inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to tooth samples to generate 500 temporally sequential measurements of elemental concentrations from birth to 10 years. We applied dynamical system and Information Theory-based analyses to reveal the longest-known attractor system in mammalian biology underlying the metabolism of nutrient elements, and identify distinct and consistent transitions between stable and unstable states throughout development. Extending these dynamical features to disease prediction, we find that attractor topography of nutrient metabolism is altered in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), as early as childhood, suggesting these pathways are involved in disease risk. Mechanistic analysis was undertaken in a transgenic mouse model of ALS, where we find similar marked disruptions in elemental attractor systems as in humans. Our results demonstrate the application of a phenomological analysis of dynamical systems underlying elemental metabolism, and emphasize the utility of these measures in characterizing risk of disease.

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<![CDATA[Introducing chaotic codes for the modulation of code modulated visual evoked potentials (c-VEP) in normal adults for visual fatigue reduction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897745d5eed0c4847d28a9

Code modulated Visual Evoked Potentials (c-VEP) based BCI studies usually employ m-sequences as a modulating codes for their broadband spectrum and correlation property. However, subjective fatigue of the presented codes has been a problem. In this study, we introduce chaotic codes containing broadband spectrum and similar correlation property. We examined whether the introduced chaotic codes could be decoded from EEG signals and also compared the subjective fatigue level with m-sequence codes in normal subjects. We generated chaotic code from one-dimensional logistic map and used it with conventional 31-bit m-sequence code. In a c-VEP based study in normal subjects (n = 44, 21 females) we presented these codes visually and recorded EEG signals from the corresponding codes for their four lagged versions. Canonical correlation analysis (CCA) and spatiotemporal beamforming (STB) methods were used for target identification and comparison of responses. Additionally, we compared the subjective self-declared fatigue using VAS caused by presented m-sequence and chaotic codes. The introduced chaotic code was decoded from EEG responses with CCA and STB methods. The maximum total accuracy values of 93.6 ± 11.9% and 94 ± 14.4% were achieved with STB method for chaotic and m-sequence codes for all subjects respectively. The achieved accuracies in all subjects were not significantly different in m-sequence and chaotic codes. There was significant reduction in subjective fatigue caused by chaotic codes compared to the m-sequence codes. Both m-sequence and chaotic codes were similar in their accuracies as evaluated by CCA and STB methods. The chaotic codes significantly reduced subjective fatigue compared to the m-sequence codes.

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<![CDATA[Assessment of complementarity of WGCNA and NERI results for identification of modules associated to schizophrenia spectrum disorders]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c62d5eed0c484bd2043

Psychiatric disorders involve both changes in multiple genes as well different types of variations. As such, gene co-expression networks allowed the comparison of different stages and parts of the brain contributing to an integrated view of genetic variation. Two methods based on co-expression networks presents appealing results: Weighted Gene Correlation Network Analysis (WGCNA) and Network-Medicine Relative Importance (NERI). By selecting two different gene expression databases related to schizophrenia, we evaluated the biological modules selected by both WGCNA and NERI along these databases as well combining both WGCNA and NERI results (WGCNA-NERI). Also we conducted a enrichment analysis for the identification of partial biological function of each result (as well a replication analysis). To appraise the accuracy of whether both algorithms (as well our approach, WGCNA-NERI) were pointing to genes related to schizophrenia and its complex genetic architecture we conducted the MSET analysis, based on a reference gene list of schizophrenia database (SZDB) related to DNA Methylation, Exome, GWAS as well as copy number variation mutation studies. The WGCNA results were more associated with inflammatory pathways and immune system response; NERI obtained genes related with cellular regulation, embryological pathways e cellular growth factors. Only NERI were able to provide a statistical meaningful results to the MSET analysis (for Methylation and de novo mutations data). However, combining WGCNA and NERI provided a much more larger overlap in these two categories and additionally on Transcriptome database. Our study suggests that using both methods in combination is better for establishing a group of modules and pathways related to a complex disease than using each method individually. NERI is available at: https://bitbucket.org/sergionery/neri.

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<![CDATA[Researchers’ attitudes to the 3Rs—An upturned hierarchy?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b8acdd940307c144d0de04f

Animal use in biomedical research is generally justified by its potential benefits to the health of humans, or other animals, or the environment. However, ethical acceptability also requires scientists to limit harm to animals in their research. Training in laboratory animal science (LAS) helps scientists to do this by promoting best practice and the 3Rs. This study evaluated scientists’ awareness and application of the 3Rs, and their approach to other ethical issues in animal research. It was based on an online survey of participants in LAS courses held in eight venues in four European countries: Portugal (Porto, Braga), Germany (Munich, Heidelberg), Switzerland (Basel, Lausanne, Zurich), and Denmark (Copenhagen). The survey questions were designed to assess general attitudes to animal use in biomedical research, Replacement alternatives, Reduction and Refinement conflicts, and harm-benefit analysis. The survey was conducted twice: immediately before the course (‘BC’, N = 310) and as a follow-up six months after the course (‘AC’, N = 127). While courses do appear to raise awareness of the 3Rs, they had no measurable effect on the existing low level of belief that animal experimentation can be fully replaced by non-animal methods. Most researchers acknowledged ethical issues with their work and reported that they discussed these with their peers. The level of an animal’s welfare, and especially the prevention of pain, was regarded as the most pressing ethical issue, and as more important than the number of animals used or the use of animals as such. Refinement was considered more feasible than Replacement, as well as more urgent, and was also favoured over Reduction. Respondents in the survey reversed the ‘hierarchy’ of the 3Rs proposed by their architects, Russell and Burch, prioritizing Refinement over Reduction, and Reduction over Replacement. This ordering may conflict with the expectations of the public and regulators.

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<![CDATA[VGF Protein and Its C-Terminal Derived Peptides in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Human and Animal Model Studies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da89ab0ee8fa60b9d296

VGF mRNA is widely expressed in areas of the nervous system known to degenerate in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), including cerebral cortex, brainstem and spinal cord. Despite certain VGF alterations are reported in animal models, little information is available with respect to the ALS patients. We addressed VGF peptide changes in fibroblast cell cultures and in plasma obtained from ALS patients, in parallel with spinal cord and plasma samples from the G93A-SOD1 mouse model. Antisera specific for the C-terminal end of the human and mouse VGF proteins, respectively, were used in immunohistochemistry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), while gel chromatography and HPLC/ESI-MS/MS were used to identify the VGF peptides present. Immunoreactive VGF C-terminus peptides were reduced in both fibroblast and plasma samples from ALS patients in an advanced stage of the disease. In the G93A-SOD1 mice, the same VGF peptides were also decreased in plasma in the late-symptomatic stage, while showing an earlier down-regulation in the spinal cord. In immunohistochemistry, a large number of gray matter structures were VGF C-terminus immunoreactive in control mice (including nerve terminals, axons and a few perikarya identified as motoneurons), with a striking reduction already in the pre-symptomatic stage. Through gel chromatography and spectrometry analysis, we identified one form likely to be the VGF precursor as well as peptides containing the NAPP- sequence in all tissues studied, while in the mice and fibroblasts, we revealed also AQEE- and TLQP- peptides. Taken together, selective VGF fragment depletion may participate in disease onset and/or progression of ALS.

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<![CDATA[Predicting Speech Intelligibility Decline in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Based on the Deterioration of Individual Speech Subsystems]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9ebab0ee8fa60b6c942

Purpose

To determine the mechanisms of speech intelligibility impairment due to neurologic impairments, intelligibility decline was modeled as a function of co-occurring changes in the articulatory, resonatory, phonatory, and respiratory subsystems.

Method

Sixty-six individuals diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) were studied longitudinally. The disease-related changes in articulatory, resonatory, phonatory, and respiratory subsystems were quantified using multiple instrumental measures, which were subjected to a principal component analysis and mixed effects models to derive a set of speech subsystem predictors. A stepwise approach was used to select the best set of subsystem predictors to model the overall decline in intelligibility.

Results

Intelligibility was modeled as a function of five predictors that corresponded to velocities of lip and jaw movements (articulatory), number of syllable repetitions in the alternating motion rate task (articulatory), nasal airflow (resonatory), maximum fundamental frequency (phonatory), and speech pauses (respiratory). The model accounted for 95.6% of the variance in intelligibility, among which the articulatory predictors showed the most substantial independent contribution (57.7%).

Conclusion

Articulatory impairments characterized by reduced velocities of lip and jaw movements and resonatory impairments characterized by increased nasal airflow served as the subsystem predictors of the longitudinal decline of speech intelligibility in ALS. Declines in maximum performance tasks such as the alternating motion rate preceded declines in intelligibility, thus serving as early predictors of bulbar dysfunction. Following the rapid decline in speech intelligibility, a precipitous decline in maximum performance tasks subsequently occurred.

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<![CDATA[Angiogenin Levels and ANG Genotypes: Dysregulation in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db0cab0ee8fa60bca7a2

Objective

To determine whether 5 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associate with ALS in 3 different populations. We also assessed the contribution of genotype to angiogenin levels in plasma and CSF.

Methods

Allelic association statistics were calculated for polymorphisms in the ANG gene in 859 patients and 1047 controls from Sweden, Ireland and Poland. Plasma, serum and CSF angiogenin levels were quantified and stratified according to genotypes across the ANG gene. The contribution of SNP genotypes to variance in circulating angiogenin levels was estimated in patients and controls.

Results

All SNPs showed association with ALS in the Irish group. The SNP rs17114699 replicated in the Swedish cohort. No SNP associated in the Polish cohort. Age- and sex-corrected circulating angiogenin levels were significantly lower in patients than in controls (p<0.001). An allele dose-dependent regulation of angiogenin levels was observed in controls. This regulation was attenuated in the ALS cohort. A significant positive correlation between CSF plasma angiogenin levels was present in controls and abolished in ALS.

Conclusions

ANG variants associate with ALS in the Irish and Swedish populations, but not in the Polish. There is evidence of dysregulation of angiogenin expression in plasma and CSF in sporadic ALS. Angiogenin expression is likely to be important in the pathogenesis of ALS.

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<![CDATA[Iron Accumulation in Deep Cortical Layers Accounts for MRI Signal Abnormalities in ALS: Correlating 7 Tesla MRI and Pathology]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db05ab0ee8fa60bc8068

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cortical and spinal motor neuron dysfunction. Routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies have previously shown hypointense signal in the motor cortex on T2-weighted images in some ALS patients, however, the cause of this finding is unknown. To investigate the utility of this MR signal change as a marker of cortical motor neuron degeneration, signal abnormalities on 3T and 7T MR images of the brain were compared, and pathology was obtained in two ALS patients to determine the origin of the motor cortex hypointensity. Nineteen patients with clinically probable or definite ALS by El Escorial criteria and 19 healthy controls underwent 3T MRI. A 7T MRI scan was carried out on five ALS patients who had motor cortex hypointensity on the 3T FLAIR sequence and on three healthy controls. Postmortem 7T MRI of the brain was performed in one ALS patient and histological studies of the brains and spinal cords were obtained post-mortem in two patients. The motor cortex hypointensity on 3T FLAIR images was present in greater frequency in ALS patients. Increased hypointensity correlated with greater severity of upper motor neuron impairment. Analysis of 7T T2*-weighted gradient echo imaging localized the signal alteration to the deeper layers of the motor cortex in both ALS patients. Pathological studies showed increased iron accumulation in microglial cells in areas corresponding to the location of the signal changes on the 3T and 7T MRI of the motor cortex. These findings indicate that the motor cortex hypointensity on 3T MRI FLAIR images in ALS is due to increased iron accumulation by microglia.

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<![CDATA[A Technique for Performing Electrical Impedance Myography in the Mouse Hind Limb: Data in Normal and ALS SOD1 G93A Animals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa0ab0ee8fa60ba55b8

Objective

To test a method for performing electrical impedance myography (EIM) in the mouse hind limb for the assessment of disease status in neuromuscular disease models.

Methods

An impedance measuring device consisting of a frame with electrodes embedded within an acrylic head was developed. The head was rotatable such that data longitudinal and transverse to the major muscle fiber direction could be obtained. EIM measurements were made with this device on 16 healthy mice and 14 amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) animals. Repeatability was assessed in both groups.

Results

The technique was easy to perform and provided good repeatability in both healthy and ALS animals, with intra-session repeatability (mean ± SEM) of 5% ±1% and 12% ±2%, respectively. Significant differences between healthy and ALS animals were also identified (e.g., longitudinal mean 50 kHz phase was 18±0.6° for the healthy animals and 14±1.0° for the ALS animals, p = 0.0025).

Conclusions

With this simple device, the EIM data obtained is highly repeatable and can differentiate healthy from ALS animals.

Significance

EIM can now be applied to mouse models of neuromuscular disease to assess disease status and the effects of therapy.

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<![CDATA[Vitamin D3 Deficiency Differentially Affects Functional and Disease Outcomes in the G93A Mouse Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e1ab0ee8fa60b69b73

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neuromuscular disease characterized by motor neuron death in the central nervous system. Vitamin D supplementation increases antioxidant activity, reduces inflammation and improves motor neuron survival. We have previously demonstrated that vitamin D3 supplementation at 10× the adequate intake improves functional outcomes in a mouse model of ALS.

Objective

To determine whether vitamin D deficiency influences functional and disease outcomes in a mouse model of ALS.

Methods

At age 25 d, 102 G93A mice (56 M, 46 F) were divided into two vitamin D3 groups: 1) adequate (AI; 1 IU D3/g feed) and 2) deficient (DEF; 0.025 IU D3/g feed). At age 113 d, tibialis anterior (TA), quadriceps (quads) and brain were harvested from 42 mice (22 M and 20 F), whereas the remaining 60 mice (34 M and 26 F) were followed to endpoint.

Results

During disease progression, DEF mice had 25% (P = 0.022) lower paw grip endurance AUC and 19% (P = 0.017) lower motor performance AUC vs. AI mice. Prior to disease onset (CS 2), DEF mice had 36% (P = 0.016) lower clinical score (CS) vs. AI mice. DEF mice reached CS 2 six days later vs. AI mice (P = 0.004), confirmed by a logrank test which revealed that DEF mice reached CS 2 at a 43% slower rate vs. AI mice (HR = 0.57; 95% CI: 0.38, 1.74; P = 0.002). Body weight-adjusted TA (AI: r = 0.662, P = 0.001; DEF: r = 0.622, P = 0.006) and quads (AI: r = 0.661, P = 0.001; DEF: r = 0.768; P<0.001) weights were strongly correlated with age at CS 2.

Conclusion

Vitamin D3 deficiency improves early disease severity and delays disease onset, but reduces performance in functional outcomes following disease onset, in the high-copy G93A mouse.

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<![CDATA[Analysis of neurodegenerative Mendelian genes in clinically diagnosed Alzheimer Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab173bf463d7e58d56d1e0d

Alzheimer disease (AD), Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTD), Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson disease (PD) have a certain degree of clinical, pathological and molecular overlap. Previous studies indicate that causative mutations in AD and FTD/ALS genes can be found in clinical familial AD. We examined the presence of causative and low frequency coding variants in the AD, FTD, ALS and PD Mendelian genes, in over 450 families with clinical history of AD and over 11,710 sporadic cases and cognitive normal participants from North America. Known pathogenic mutations were found in 1.05% of the sporadic cases, in 0.69% of the cognitively normal participants and in 4.22% of the families. A trend towards enrichment, albeit non-significant, was observed for most AD, FTD and PD genes. Only PSEN1 and PINK1 showed consistent association with AD cases when we used ExAC as the control population. These results suggest that current study designs may contain heterogeneity and contamination of the control population, and that current statistical methods for the discovery of novel genes with real pathogenic variants in complex late onset diseases may be inadequate or underpowered to identify genes carrying pathogenic mutations.

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<![CDATA[The Effect of PRMT1-Mediated Arginine Methylation on the Subcellular Localization, Stress Granules, and Detergent-Insoluble Aggregates of FUS/TLS]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da81ab0ee8fa60b9a826

Fused in sarcoma/translocated in liposarcoma (FUS/TLS) is one of causative genes for familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In order to identify binding partners for FUS/TLS, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screening and found that protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1) is one of binding partners primarily in the nucleus. In vitro and in vivo methylation assays showed that FUS/TLS could be methylated by PRMT1. The modulation of arginine methylation levels by a general methyltransferase inhibitor or conditional over-expression of PRMT1 altered slightly the nucleus-cytoplasmic ratio of FUS/TLS in cell fractionation assays. Although co-localized primarily in the nucleus in normal condition, FUS/TLS and PRMT1 were partially recruited to the cytoplasmic granules under oxidative stress, which were merged with stress granules (SGs) markers in SH-SY5Y cell. C-terminal truncated form of FUS/TLS (FUS-dC), which lacks C-terminal nuclear localization signal (NLS), formed cytoplasmic inclusions like ALS-linked FUS mutants and was partially co-localized with PRMT1. Furthermore, conditional over-expression of PRMT1 reduced the FUS-dC-mediated SGs formation and the detergent-insoluble aggregates in HEK293 cells. These findings indicate that PRMT1-mediated arginine methylation could be implicated in the nucleus-cytoplasmic shuttling of FUS/TLS and in the SGs formation and the detergent-insoluble inclusions of ALS-linked FUS/TLS mutants.

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<![CDATA[Decreased Peak Expiratory Flow Associated with Muscle Fiber-Type Switching in Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafbab0ee8fa60bc4a67

The aim of this study was to characterize the respiratory function profile of subjects with spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), and to explore the underlying pathological mechanism by comparing the clinical and biochemical indices of this disease with those of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We enrolled male subjects with SBMA (n = 40) and ALS (n = 25) along with 15 healthy control subjects, and assessed their respiratory function, motor function, and muscle strength. Predicted values of peak expiratory flow (%PEF) and forced vital capacity were decreased in subjects with SBMA compared with controls. In SBMA, both values were strongly correlated with the trunk subscores of the motor function tests and showed deterioration relative to disease duration. Compared with activities of daily living (ADL)-matched ALS subjects, %PEF, tongue pressure, and grip power were substantially decreased in subjects with SBMA. Both immunofluorescence and RT-PCR demonstrated a selective decrease in the expression levels of the genes encoding the myosin heavy chains specific to fast-twitch fibers in SBMA subjects. The mRNA levels of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta were up-regulated in SBMA compared with ALS and controls. In conclusion, %PEF is a disease-specific respiratory marker for the severity and progression of SBMA. Explosive muscle strength, including %PEF, was selectively affected in subjects with SBMA and was associated with activation of the mitochondrial biogenesis-related molecular pathway in skeletal muscles.

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<![CDATA[Effects of Cellular Pathway Disturbances on Misfolded Superoxide Dismutase-1 in Fibroblasts Derived from ALS Patients]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1cab0ee8fa60b7d236

Mutations in superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) are a common known cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The neurotoxicity of mutant SOD1s is most likely caused by misfolded molecular species, but disease pathogenesis is still not understood. Proposed mechanisms include impaired mitochondrial function, induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress, reduction in the activities of the proteasome and autophagy, and the formation of neurotoxic aggregates. Here we examined whether perturbations in these cellular pathways in turn influence levels of misfolded SOD1 species, potentially amplifying neurotoxicity. For the study we used fibroblasts, which express SOD1 at physiological levels under regulation of the native promoter. The cells were derived from ALS patients expressing 9 different SOD1 mutants of widely variable molecular characteristics, as well as from patients carrying the GGGGCC-repeat-expansion in C9orf72 and from non-disease controls. A specific ELISA was used to quantify soluble, misfolded SOD1, and aggregated SOD1 was analysed by western blotting. Misfolded SOD1 was detected in all lines. Levels were found to be much lower in non-disease control and the non-SOD1 C9orf72 ALS lines. This enabled us to validate patient fibroblasts for use in subsequent perturbation studies. Mitochondrial inhibition, endoplasmic reticulum stress or autophagy inhibition did not affect soluble misfolded SOD1 and in most cases, detergent-resistant SOD1 aggregates were not detected. However, proteasome inhibition led to uniformly large increases in misfolded SOD1 levels in all cell lines and an increase in SOD1 aggregation in some. Thus the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway is a principal determinant of misfolded SOD1 levels in cells derived both from patients and controls and a decline in activity with aging could be one of the factors behind the mid-to late-life onset of inherited ALS.

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<![CDATA[FUS-NLS/Transportin 1 Complex Structure Provides Insights into the Nuclear Targeting Mechanism of FUS and the Implications in ALS]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da46ab0ee8fa60b8bc42

The C-terminal nuclear localization sequence of FUsed in Sarcoma (FUS-NLS) is critical for its nuclear import mediated by transportin (Trn1). Familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) related mutations are clustered in FUS-NLS. We report here the structural, biochemical and cell biological characterization of the FUS-NLS and its clinical implications. The crystal structure of the FUS-NLS/Trn1 complex shows extensive contacts between the two proteins and a unique α-helical structure in the FUS-NLS. The binding affinity between Trn1 and FUS-NLS (wide-type and 12 ALS-associated mutants) was determined. As compared to the wide-type FUS-NLS (KD = 1.7 nM), each ALS-associated mutation caused a decreased affinity and the range of this reduction varied widely from 1.4-fold over 700-fold. The affinity of the mutants correlated with the extent of impaired nuclear localization, and more importantly, with the duration of disease progression in ALS patients. This study provides a comprehensive understanding of the nuclear targeting mechanism of FUS and illustrates the significance of FUS-NLS in ALS.

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<![CDATA[Online Adaptation of a c-VEP Brain-Computer Interface(BCI) Based on Error-Related Potentials and Unsupervised Learning]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad6ab0ee8fa60bb8328

The goal of a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is to control a computer by pure brain activity. Recently, BCIs based on code-modulated visual evoked potentials (c-VEPs) have shown great potential to establish high-performance communication. In this paper we present a c-VEP BCI that uses online adaptation of the classifier to reduce calibration time and increase performance. We compare two different approaches for online adaptation of the system: an unsupervised method and a method that uses the detection of error-related potentials. Both approaches were tested in an online study, in which an average accuracy of 96% was achieved with adaptation based on error-related potentials. This accuracy corresponds to an average information transfer rate of 144 bit/min, which is the highest bitrate reported so far for a non-invasive BCI. In a free-spelling mode, the subjects were able to write with an average of 21.3 error-free letters per minute, which shows the feasibility of the BCI system in a normal-use scenario. In addition we show that a calibration of the BCI system solely based on the detection of error-related potentials is possible, without knowing the true class labels.

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<![CDATA[Out of Balance: R-loops in Human Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf1ab0ee8fa60bc1592

R-loops are cellular structures composed of an RNA/DNA hybrid, which is formed when the RNA hybridises to a complementary DNA strand and a displaced single-stranded DNA. R-loops have been detected in various organisms from bacteria to mammals and play crucial roles in regulating gene expression, DNA and histone modifications, immunoglobulin class switch recombination, DNA replication, and genome stability. Recent evidence suggests that R-loops are also involved in molecular mechanisms of neurological diseases and cancer. In addition, mutations in factors implicated in R-loop biology, such as RNase H and SETX (senataxin), lead to devastating human neurodegenerative disorders, highlighting the importance of correctly regulating the level of R-loops in human cells. In this review we summarise current advances in this field, with a particular focus on diseases associated with dysregulation of R-loop structures. We also discuss potential therapeutic approaches for such diseases and highlight future research directions.

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<![CDATA[Caprylic Triglyceride as a Novel Therapeutic Approach to Effectively Improve the Performance and Attenuate the Symptoms Due to the Motor Neuron Loss in ALS Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dad8ab0ee8fa60bb8d6d

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder of motor neurons causing progressive muscle weakness, paralysis, and finally death. ALS patients suffer from asthenia and their progressive weakness negatively impacts quality of life, limiting their daily activities. They have impaired energy balance linked to lower activity of mitochondrial electron transport chain enzymes in ALS spinal cord, suggesting that improving mitochondrial function may present a therapeutic approach for ALS. When fed a ketogenic diet, the G93A ALS mouse shows a significant increase in serum ketones as well as a significantly slower progression of weakness and lower mortality rate. In this study, we treated SOD1-G93A mice with caprylic triglyceride, a medium chain triglyceride that is metabolized into ketone bodies and can serve as an alternate energy substrate for neuronal metabolism. Treatment with caprylic triglyceride attenuated progression of weakness and protected spinal cord motor neuron loss in SOD1-G93A transgenic animals, significantly improving their performance even though there was no significant benefit regarding the survival of the ALS transgenic animals. We found that caprylic triglyceride significantly promoted the mitochondrial oxygen consumption rate in vivo. Our results demonstrated that caprylic triglyceride alleviates ALS-type motor impairment through restoration of energy metabolism in SOD1-G93A ALS mice, especially during the overt stage of the disease. These data indicate the feasibility of using caprylic acid as an easily administered treatment with a high impact on the quality of life of ALS patients.

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<![CDATA[Expression of a Mutant SEMA3A Protein with Diminished Signalling Capacity Does Not Alter ALS-Related Motor Decline, or Confer Changes in NMJ Plasticity after BotoxA-Induced Paralysis of Male Gastrocnemic Muscle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da39ab0ee8fa60b87459

Terminal Schwann cells (TSCs) are specialized cells that envelop the motor nerve terminal, and play a role in the maintenance and regeneration of neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). The chemorepulsive protein semaphorin 3A (SEMA3A) is selectively up-regulated in TSCs on fast-fatigable muscle fibers following experimental denervation of the muscle (BotoxA-induced paralysis or crush injury to the sciatic nerve) or in the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Re-expression of SEMA3A in this subset of TSCs is thought to play a role in the selective plasticity of nerve terminals as observed in ALS and following BotoxA-induced paralysis. Using a mouse model expressing a mutant SEMA3A with diminished signaling capacity, we studied the influence of SEMA3A signaling at the NMJ with two denervation paradigms; a motor neuron disease model (the G93A-hSOD1 ALS mouse line) and an injury model (BotoxA-induced paralysis). ALS mice that either expressed 1 or 2 mutant SEMA3A alleles demonstrated no difference in ALS-induced decline in motor behavior. We also investigated the effects of BotoxA-induced paralysis on the sprouting capacity of NMJs in the K108N-SEMA3A mutant mouse, and observed no change in the differential neuronal plasticity found at NMJs on fast-fatigable or slow muscle fibers due to the presence of the SEMA3A mutant protein. Our data may be explained by the residual repulsive activity of the mutant SEMA3A, or it may imply that SEMA3A alone is not a key component of the molecular signature affecting NMJ plasticity in ALS or BotoxA-induced paralysis. Interestingly, we did observe a sex difference in motor neuron sprouting behavior after BotoxA-induced paralysis in WT mice which we speculate may be an important factor in the sex dimorphic differences seen in ALS.

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