Intracellular pathways involved in cell survival are deregulated in mouse and human spinal muscular atrophy motoneurons
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a severe neuromuscular disorder caused by loss of the Survival Motor Neuron 1 gene (SMN1). Due to this depletion of the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein, the disease is characterized by the degeneration of spinal cord motoneurons (MNs), progressive muscular atrophy, and weakness. Nevertheless, the ultimate cellular and molecular mechanisms leading to cell loss in SMN-reduced MNs are only partially known. We have investigated the activation of apoptotic and neuronal survival pathways in several models of SMA cells. Even though the antiapoptotic proteins FAIM-L and XIAP were increased in SMA MNs, the apoptosis executioner cleaved-caspase-3 was also elevated in these cells, suggesting the activation of the apoptosis process. Analysis of the survival pathway PI3K/Akt showed that Akt phosphorylation was reduced in SMA MNs and pharmacological inhibition of PI3K diminished SMN and Gemin2 at transcriptional level in control MNs. In contrast, ERK phosphorylation was increased in cultured mouse and human SMA MNs. Our observations suggest that apoptosis is activated in SMA MNs and that Akt phosphorylation reduction may control cell degeneration, thereby regulating the transcription of Smn and other genes related to SMN function.
Apoptosis; Motoneurons; Spinal muscular atrophy
Sansa A, de la Fuente S, Comella JX, Garcera A, Soler RM. Intracellular pathways involved in cell survival are deregulated in mouse and human spinal muscular atrophy motoneurons. Neurobiol Dis. 2021 Jul;155:105366.
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