Deregulation of protein synthesis and ER stress/unfolded protein response (ER stress/UPR) have been reported in astrocytes. However, the relationships between protein synthesis deregulation and ER stress/UPR, as well as their role in the altered homeostatic support of Alzheimer's disease (AD) astrocytes remain poorly understood. Previously, we reported that in astrocytic cell lines from 3xTg-AD mice (3Tg-iAstro) protein synthesis was impaired and ER-mitochondria distance was reduced. Here we show that impaired protein synthesis in 3Tg-iAstro is associated with an increase of p-eIF2α and downregulation of GADD34. Although mRNA levels of ER stress/UPR markers were increased two-three-fold, we found neither activation of PERK nor downstream induction of ATF4 protein. Strikingly, the overexpression of a synthetic ER-mitochondrial linker (EML) resulted in a reduced protein synthesis and augmented p-eIF2α without any effect on ER stress/UPR marker genes. In vivo, in hippocampi of 3xTg-AD mice, reduced protein synthesis, increased p-eIF2α and downregulated GADD34 protein were found, while no increase of p-PERK or ATF4 proteins was observed, suggesting that in AD astrocytes, both in vitro and in vivo, phosphorylation of eIF2α and impairment of protein synthesis are PERK-independent. Next, we investigated the ability of 3xTg-AD astrocytes to support metabolism and function of other cells of the central nervous system. Astrocyte-conditioned medium (ACM) from 3Tg-iAstro cells significantly reduced protein synthesis rate in primary hippocampal neurons. When added as a part of pericyte/endothelial cell (EC)/astrocyte 3D co-culture, 3Tg-iAstro, but not WT-iAstro, severely impaired formation and ramification of tubules, the effect, replicated by EML overexpression in WT-iAstro cells. Finally, a chemical chaperone 4-phenylbutyric acid (4-PBA) rescued protein synthesis, p-eIF2α levels in 3Tg-iAstro cells and tubulogenesis in pericyte/EC/3Tg-iAstro co-culture. Collectively, our results suggest that a PERK-independent, p-eIF2α-associated impairment of protein synthesis compromises astrocytic homeostatic functions, and this may be caused by the altered ER-mitochondria interaction.

Protein synthesis inhibition and loss of homeostatic functions in astrocytes from an Alzheimer's disease mouse model: a role for ER-mitochondria interaction

Tapella, Laura;Dematteis, Giulia;Moro, Marianna;Pistolato, Beatrice;Vanella, Virginia Vita;Giustina, Daniele;La Forgia, Aleida;Barberis, Elettra;Villani, Salvatore;Del Grosso, Erika;Grilli, Mariagrazia;Manfredi, Marcello;Corazzari, Marco;Grolla, Ambra;Genazzani, Armando;Lim, Dmitry
2022-01-01

Abstract

Deregulation of protein synthesis and ER stress/unfolded protein response (ER stress/UPR) have been reported in astrocytes. However, the relationships between protein synthesis deregulation and ER stress/UPR, as well as their role in the altered homeostatic support of Alzheimer's disease (AD) astrocytes remain poorly understood. Previously, we reported that in astrocytic cell lines from 3xTg-AD mice (3Tg-iAstro) protein synthesis was impaired and ER-mitochondria distance was reduced. Here we show that impaired protein synthesis in 3Tg-iAstro is associated with an increase of p-eIF2α and downregulation of GADD34. Although mRNA levels of ER stress/UPR markers were increased two-three-fold, we found neither activation of PERK nor downstream induction of ATF4 protein. Strikingly, the overexpression of a synthetic ER-mitochondrial linker (EML) resulted in a reduced protein synthesis and augmented p-eIF2α without any effect on ER stress/UPR marker genes. In vivo, in hippocampi of 3xTg-AD mice, reduced protein synthesis, increased p-eIF2α and downregulated GADD34 protein were found, while no increase of p-PERK or ATF4 proteins was observed, suggesting that in AD astrocytes, both in vitro and in vivo, phosphorylation of eIF2α and impairment of protein synthesis are PERK-independent. Next, we investigated the ability of 3xTg-AD astrocytes to support metabolism and function of other cells of the central nervous system. Astrocyte-conditioned medium (ACM) from 3Tg-iAstro cells significantly reduced protein synthesis rate in primary hippocampal neurons. When added as a part of pericyte/endothelial cell (EC)/astrocyte 3D co-culture, 3Tg-iAstro, but not WT-iAstro, severely impaired formation and ramification of tubules, the effect, replicated by EML overexpression in WT-iAstro cells. Finally, a chemical chaperone 4-phenylbutyric acid (4-PBA) rescued protein synthesis, p-eIF2α levels in 3Tg-iAstro cells and tubulogenesis in pericyte/EC/3Tg-iAstro co-culture. Collectively, our results suggest that a PERK-independent, p-eIF2α-associated impairment of protein synthesis compromises astrocytic homeostatic functions, and this may be caused by the altered ER-mitochondria interaction.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11579/146580
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