DNA damage accumulates and responses are engaged in human ALS brain and spinal motor neurons and DNA repair is activatable in iPSC-derived motor neurons with SOD1 mutations

Byung Woo Kim, Ye Eun Jeong, Margaret Wong, Lee J. Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

DNA damage is implicated in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, relationships between DNA damage accumulation, DNA damage response (DDR), and upper and lower motor neuron vulnerability in human ALS are unclear; furthermore, it is unknown whether epigenetic silencing of DNA repair pathways contributes to ALS pathogenesis. We tested the hypotheses that DNA damage accumulates in ALS motor neurons along with diminished DDR, and that DNA repair genes undergo hypermethylation. Human postmortem CNS tissue was obtained from ALS cases (N = 34) and age-matched controls without neurologic disease (N = 15). Compared to age-matched controls, abasic sites accumulated in genomic DNA of ALS motor cortex and laser capture microdissection-acquired spinal motor neurons but not in motor neuron mitochondrial DNA. By immunohistochemistry, DNA damage accumulated significantly in upper and lower motor neurons in ALS cases as single-stranded DNA and 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine (OHdG) compared to age-matched controls. Significant DDR was engaged in ALS motor neurons as evidenced by accumulation of c-Abl, nuclear BRCA1, and ATM activation. DNA damage and DDR were present in motor neurons at pre-attritional stages and throughout the somatodendritic attritional stages of neurodegeneration. Motor neurons with DNA damage were also positive for activated p53 and cleaved caspase-3. Gene-specific promoter DNA methylation pyrosequencing identified the DNA repair genes Ogg1, Apex1, Pnkp and Aptx as hypomethylated in ALS. In human induced-pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived motor neurons with familial ALS SOD1 mutations, DNA repair capacity was similar to isogenic control motor neurons. Our results show that vulnerable neurons in human ALS accumulate DNA damage, and contrary to our hypothesis, strongly activate and mobilize response effectors and DNA repair genes. This DDR in ALS motor neurons involves recruitment of c-Abl and BRCA1 to the nucleus in vivo, and repair of DNA double-strand breaks in human ALS motor neurons with SOD1 mutations in cell culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 31 2020

Keywords

  • ATM
  • Apoptosis
  • Base excision repair
  • DNA N-glycosylase
  • Motor cortex
  • Motor neuron
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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