Disease-specific interactome alterations via epichaperomics: the case for Alzheimer's disease
The increasingly appreciated prevalence of complicated stressor-to-phenotype associations in human disease requires a greater understanding of how specific stressors affect systems or interactome properties. Many currently untreatable diseases arise due to variations in, and through a combination of, multiple stressors of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental nature. Unfortunately, how such stressors lead to a specific disease phenotype or inflict a vulnerability to some cells and tissues but not others remains largely unknown and unsatisfactorily addressed. Analysis of cell- and tissue-specific interactome networks may shed light on organization of biological systems and subsequently to disease vulnerabilities. However, deriving human interactomes across different cell and disease contexts remains a challenge. To this end, this opinion article links stressor-induced protein interactome network perturbations to the formation of pathologic scaffolds termed epichaperomes, revealing a viable and reproducible experimental solution to obtaining rigorous context-dependent interactomes. This article presents our views on how a specialized 'omics platform called epichaperomics may complement and enhance the currently available conventional approaches and aid the scientific community in defining, understanding, and ultimately controlling interactome networks of complex diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. Ultimately, this approach may aid the transition from a limited single-alteration perspective in disease to a comprehensive network-based mindset, which we posit will result in precision medicine paradigms for disease diagnosis and treatment.
Correction to: Profiling Basal Forebrain Cholinergic Neurons Reveals a Molecular Basis for Vulnerability Within the Ts65Dn Model of Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease
The penalty of stress - Epichaperomes negatively reshaping the brain in neurodegenerative disorders
Adaptation to acute and chronic stress and/or persistent stressors is a subject of wide interest in central nervous system disorders. In this context, stress is an effector of change in organismal homeostasis and the response is generated when the brain perceives a potential threat. Herein, we discuss a nuanced and granular view whereby a wide variety of genotoxic and environmental stressors, including aging, genetic risk factors, environmental exposures, and age- and lifestyle-related changes, act as direct insults to cellular, as opposed to organismal, homeostasis. These two concepts of how stressors impact the central nervous system are not mutually exclusive. We discuss how maladaptive stressor-induced changes in protein connectivity through epichaperomes, disease-associated pathologic scaffolds composed of tightly bound chaperones, co-chaperones, and other factors, impact intracellular protein functionality altering phenotypes, that in turn disrupt and remodel brain networks ranging from intercellular to brain connectome levels. We provide an evidence-based view on how these maladaptive changes ranging from stressor to phenotype provide unique precision medicine opportunities for diagnostic and therapeutic development, especially in the context of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's disease where treatment options are currently limited.
Pharmacologically controlling protein-protein interactions through epichaperomes for therapeutic vulnerability in cancer
Cancer cell plasticity due to the dynamic architecture of interactome networks provides a vexing outlet for therapy evasion. Here, through chemical biology approaches for systems level exploration of protein connectivity changes applied to pancreatic cancer cell lines, patient biospecimens, and cell- and patient-derived xenografts in mice, we demonstrate interactomes can be re-engineered for vulnerability. By manipulating epichaperomes pharmacologically, we control and anticipate how thousands of proteins interact in real-time within tumours. Further, we can essentially force tumours into interactome hyperconnectivity and maximal protein-protein interaction capacity, a state whereby no rebound pathways can be deployed and where alternative signalling is supressed. This approach therefore primes interactomes to enhance vulnerability and improve treatment efficacy, enabling therapeutics with traditionally poor performance to become highly efficacious. These findings provide proof-of-principle for a paradigm to overcome drug resistance through pharmacologic manipulation of proteome-wide protein-protein interaction networks.
Expression and proteolytic processing of the amyloid precursor protein is unaffected by the expression of the three human apolipoprotein E alleles in the brains of mice
The 3 human apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene alleles modify an individual's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD): compared to the risk-neutral APOE Îµ3 allele, the Îµ4 allele (APOE4) is strongly associated with increased AD risk while the Îµ2 allele is protective. Multiple mechanisms have been shown to link APOE4 expression and AD risk, including the possibility that APOE4 increases the expression of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) (Y-W.A. Huang, B. Zhou, A.M. Nabet, M. Wernig, T.C. SÃ¼dhof, 2019). In this study, we investigated the impact of APOE genotype on the expression, and proteolytic processing of endogenously expressed APP in the brains of mice humanized for the 3 APOE alleles. In contrast to prior studies using neuronal cultures, we found in the brain that both App gene expression, and the levels of APP holoprotein were not affected by APOE genotype. Additionally, our analysis of APP fragments showed that APOE genotype does not impact APP processing in the brain: the levels of both Î±- and Î²-cleaved soluble APP fragments (sAPPs) were similar across genotypes, as were the levels of the membrane-associated Î±- and Î²-cleaved C-terminal fragments (CTFs) of APP. Lastly, APOE genotype did not impact the level of soluble amyloid beta (AÎ²). These findings argue that the APOE-allele-dependent AD risk is independent of the brain expression and processing of APP.
Profiling Basal Forebrain Cholinergic Neurons Reveals a Molecular Basis for Vulnerability Within the Ts65Dn Model of Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease
Basal forebrain cholinergic neuron (BFCN) degeneration is a hallmark of Down syndrome (DS) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Current therapeutics have been unsuccessful in slowing disease progression, likely due to complex pathological interactions and dysregulated pathways that are poorly understood. The Ts65Dn trisomic mouse model recapitulates both cognitive and morphological deficits of DS and AD, including BFCN degeneration. We utilized Ts65Dn mice to understand mechanisms underlying BFCN degeneration to identify novel targets for therapeutic intervention. We performed high-throughput, single population RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) to interrogate transcriptomic changes within medial septal nucleus (MSN) BFCNs, using laser capture microdissection to individually isolate ~500 choline acetyltransferase-immunopositive neurons in Ts65Dn and normal disomic (2N) mice at 6 months of age (MO). Ts65Dn mice had unique MSN BFCN transcriptomic profiles at ~6 MO clearly differentiating them from 2N mice. Leveraging Ingenuity Pathway Analysis and KEGG analysis, we linked differentially expressed gene (DEG) changes within MSN BFCNs to several canonical pathways and aberrant physiological functions. The dysregulated transcriptomic profile of trisomic BFCNs provides key information underscoring selective vulnerability within the septohippocampal circuit. We propose both expected and novel therapeutic targets for DS and AD, including specific DEGs within cholinergic, glutamatergic, GABAergic, and neurotrophin pathways, as well as select targets for repairing oxidative phosphorylation status in neurons. We demonstrate and validate this interrogative quantitative bioinformatic analysis of a key dysregulated neuronal population linking single population transcript changes to an established pathological hallmark associated with cognitive decline for therapeutic development in human DS and AD.
Chemical tools for epichaperome-mediated interactome dysfunctions of the central nervous system
Diseases are a manifestation of how thousands of proteins interact. In several diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease, proteome-wide disturbances in protein-protein interactions are caused by alterations to chaperome scaffolds termed epichaperomes. Epichaperome-directed chemical probes may be useful for detecting and reversing defective chaperomes. Here we provide structural, biochemical, and functional insights into the discovery of epichaperome probes, with a focus on their use in central nervous system diseases. We demonstrate on-target activity and kinetic selectivity of a radiolabeled epichaperome probe in both cells and mice, together with a proof-of-principle in human patients in an exploratory single group assignment diagnostic study (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03371420). The clinical study is designed to determine the pharmacokinetic parameters and the incidence of adverse events in patients receiving a single microdose of the radiolabeled probe administered by intravenous injection. In sum, we introduce a discovery platform for brain-directed chemical probes that specifically modulate epichaperomes and provide proof-of-principle applications in their use in the detection, quantification, and modulation of the target in complex biological systems.
Effects of early-life penicillin exposure on the gut microbiome and frontal cortex and amygdala gene expression
We have established experimental systems to assess the effects of early-life exposures to antibiotics on the intestinal microbiota and gene expression in the brain. This model system is highly relevant to human exposure and may be developed into a preclinical model of neurodevelopmental disorders in which the gut-brain axis is perturbed, leading to organizational effects that permanently alter the structure and function of the brain. Exposing newborn mice to low-dose penicillin led to substantial changes in intestinal microbiota population structure and composition. Transcriptomic alterations implicate pathways perturbed in neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. There also were substantial effects on frontal cortex and amygdala gene expression by bioinformatic interrogation, affecting multiple pathways underlying neurodevelopment. Informatic analyses established linkages between specific intestinal microbial populations and the early-life expression of particular affected genes. These studies provide translational models to explore intestinal microbiome roles in the normal and abnormal maturation of the vulnerable central nervous system.
Adiponectin Modulation by Genotype and Maternal Choline Supplementation in a Mouse Model of Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's Disease
Down syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder caused by the triplication of human chromosome 21, which results in neurological and physiological pathologies. These deficits increase during aging and are exacerbated by cognitive decline and increase of Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathology. A nontoxic, noninvasive treatment, maternal choline supplementation (MCS) attenuates cognitive decline in mouse models of DS and AD. To evaluate potential underlying mechanisms, laser capture microdissection of individual neuronal populations of MCS offspring was performed, followed by RNA sequencing and bioinformatic inquiry. Results at ~6 months of age (MO) revealed DS mice (the well-established Ts65Dn model) have significant dysregulation of select genes within the Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) signaling pathway relative to normal disomic (2N) littermates. Accordingly, we interrogated key T2DM protein hormones by ELISA assay in addition to gene and encoded protein levels in the brain. We found dysregulation of adiponectin (APN) protein levels in the frontal cortex of ~6 MO trisomic mice, which was attenuated by MCS. APN receptors also displayed expression level changes in response to MCS. APN is a potential biomarker for AD pathology and may be relevant in DS. We posit that changes in APN signaling may be an early marker of cognitive decline and neurodegeneration.
Mitovesicles are a novel population of extracellular vesicles of mitochondrial origin altered in Down syndrome
Mitochondrial dysfunction is an established hallmark of aging and neurodegenerative disorders such as Down syndrome (DS) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Using a high-resolution density gradient separation of extracellular vesicles (EVs) isolated from murine and human DS and diploid control brains, we identify and characterize a previously unknown population of double-membraned EVs containing multiple mitochondrial proteins distinct from previously described EV subtypes, including microvesicles and exosomes. We term these newly identified mitochondria-derived EVs "mitovesicles." We demonstrate that brain-derived mitovesicles contain a specific subset of mitochondrial constituents and that their levels and cargo are altered during pathophysiological processes where mitochondrial dysfunction occurs, including in DS. The development of a method for the selective isolation of mitovesicles paves the way for the characterization in vivo of biological processes connecting EV biology and mitochondria dynamics and for innovative therapeutic and diagnostic strategies.