Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Publications michael-coleman

Title / Authors / Details Open Access Download

A closer look at neuron interaction with track-etched microporous membranes.
George JH, Nagel D, Waller S, Hill E, Parri HR, Coleman MD, Cui Z, Ye H

Microporous membranes support the growth of neurites into and through micro-channels, providing a different type of neural growth platform to conventional dish cultures. Microporous membranes are used to support various types of culture, however, the role of pore diameter in relation to neurite growth through the membrane has not been well characterised. In this study, the human cell line (SH-SY5Y) was differentiated into neuron-like cells and cultured on track-etched microporous membranes with pore and channel diameters selected to accommodate neurite width (0.8 µm to 5 µm). Whilst neurites extended through all pore diameters, the extent of neurite coverage on the non-seeded side of the membranes after 5 days in culture was found to be directly proportional to channel diameter. Neurite growth through membrane pores reduced significantly when neural cultures were non-confluent. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that neurites bridged pores and circumnavigated pore edges - such that the overall likelihood of a neurite entering a pore channel was decreased. These findings highlight the role of pore diameter, cell sheet confluence and contact guidance in directing neurite growth through pores and may be useful in applications that seek to use physical substrates to maintain separate neural populations whilst permitting neurite contact between cultures.

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Scientific reports, 8, 2045-2322, 15552, 2018

PMID: 30341335

Open Access

P7C3-A20 neuroprotection is independent of Wallerian degeneration in primary neuronal culture.
Hill CS, Menon DK, Coleman MP

The antiapoptotic, neuroprotective compound P7C3-A20 reduces neurological deficits when administered to murine in-vivo models of traumatic brain injury. P7C3-A20 is thought to exert its activity through small-molecule activation of the enzyme nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase. This enzyme converts nicotinamide to nicotinamide mononucleotide, the precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide synthesis. Alterations to this bioenergetic pathway have been shown to induce Wallerian degeneration (WD) of the distal neurite following injury. This study aimed to establish whether P7C3-A20, through induction of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase activity, would affect the rate of WD. The model systems used were dissociated primary cortical neurons, dissociated superior cervical ganglion neurons and superior cervical ganglion explants. P7C3-A20 failed to show any protection against WD induced by neurite transection or vincristine administration. Furthermore, there was a concentration-dependent neurotoxicity. These findings are important in understanding the mechanism by which P7C3-A20 mediates its effects - a key step before moving to human clinical trials.This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CCBY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

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Neuroreport, , 1473-558X, , 2018

PMID: 30334859

Low levels of NMNAT2 compromise axon development and survival.
Gilley J, Mayer P, Yu G, Coleman MP

NMNAT2 is an endogenous axon maintenance factor that preserves axon health by blocking Wallerian-like axon degeneration. Mice lacking NMNAT2 die at birth with severe axon defects in both the PNS and CNS so a complete absence of NMNAT2 in humans is likely to be similarly harmful, but probably rare. However, there is evidence of widespread natural variation in human NMNAT2 mRNA expression so it is important to establish whether reduced levels of NMNAT2 have consequences that impact health. Whilst mice that express reduced levels of NMNAT2, either those heterozygous for a silenced Nmnat2 allele, or compound heterozygous for one silenced and one partially silenced Nmnat2 allele, remain overtly normal into old age, we now report that Nmnat2 compound heterozygote mice present with early and age-dependent peripheral nerve axon defects. Compound heterozygote mice already have reduced numbers of myelinated sensory axons at 1.5 months and lose more axons, likely motor axons, between 18 and 24 months and, crucially, these changes correlate with early temperature insensitivity and a later-onset decline in motor performance. Slower neurite outgrowth and increased sensitivity to axonal stress are also evident in primary cultures of Nmnat2 compound heterozygote superior cervical ganglion neurons. These data reveal that reducing NMNAT2 levels below a particular threshold compromises the development of peripheral axons and increases their vulnerability to stresses. We discuss the implications for human neurological phenotypes where axons are longer and have to be maintained over a much longer lifespan.

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Human molecular genetics, , 1460-2083, , 2018

PMID: 30304512

Publisher Correction: TDP-43 gains function due to perturbed autoregulation in a Tardbp knock-in mouse model of ALS-FTD.
White MA, Kim E, Duffy A, Adalbert R, Phillips BU, Peters OM, Stephenson J, Yang S, Massenzio F, Lin Z, Andrews S, Segonds-Pichon A, Metterville J, Saksida LM, Mead R, Ribchester RR, Barhomi Y, Serre T, Coleman MP, Fallon JR, Bussey TJ, Brown RH, Sreedharan J

In the version of this article initially published, the footnote number 17 was missing from the author list for the two authors who contributed equally. Also, the authors have added a middle initial for author Justin R. Fallon and an acknowledgement to the Babraham Institute Imaging Facility and Sequencing Core Facility. The errors have been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.

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Nature neuroscience, , 1546-1726, , 2018

PMID: 29872124

Interaction between a MAPT variant causing frontotemporal dementia and mutant APP affects axonal transport.
Adalbert R, Milde S, Durrant C, Ando K, Stygelbout V, Yilmaz Z, Gould S, Brion JP, Coleman MP

In Alzheimer's disease, many indicators point to a central role for poor axonal transport, but the potential for stimulating axonal transport to alleviate the disease remains largely untested. Previously, we reported enhanced anterograde axonal transport of mitochondria in 8- to 11-month-old MAPT knockin mice, a genetic model of frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism-17T. In this study, we further characterized the axonal transport of mitochondria in younger MAPT mice crossed with the familial Alzheimer's disease model, TgCRND8, aiming to test whether boosting axonal transport in young TgCRND8 mice can alleviate axonal swelling. We successfully replicated the enhancement of anterograde axonal transport in young MAPT knockin animals. Surprisingly, we found that in the presence of the amyloid precursor protein mutations, MAPT impaired anterograde axonal transport. The numbers of plaque-associated axonal swellings or amyloid plaques in TgCRND8 brains were unaltered. These findings suggest that amyloid-β promotes an action of mutant tau that impairs axonal transport. As amyloid-β levels increase with age even without amyloid precursor protein mutation, we suggest that this rise could contribute to age-related decline in frontotemporal dementia.

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Neurobiology of aging, 68, 1558-1497, 68-75, 2018

PMID: 29729423

Open Access

TDP-43 gains function due to perturbed autoregulation in a Tardbp knock-in mouse model of ALS-FTD.
White MA, Kim E, Duffy A, Adalbert R, Phillips BU, Peters OM, Stephenson J, Yang S, Massenzio F, Lin Z, Andrews S, Segonds-Pichon A, Metterville J, Saksida LM, Mead R, Ribchester RR, Barhomi Y, Serre T, Coleman MP, Fallon J, Bussey TJ, Brown RH, Sreedharan J

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-frontotemporal dementia (ALS-FTD) constitutes a devastating disease spectrum characterized by 43-kDa TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) pathology. Understanding how TDP-43 contributes to neurodegeneration will help direct therapeutic efforts. Here we have created a TDP-43 knock-in mouse with a human-equivalent mutation in the endogenous mouse Tardbp gene. TDP-43mice demonstrate cognitive dysfunction and a paucity of parvalbumin interneurons. Critically, TDP-43 autoregulation is perturbed, leading to a gain of TDP-43 function and altered splicing of Mapt, another pivotal dementia-associated gene. Furthermore, a new approach to stratify transcriptomic data by phenotype in differentially affected mutant mice revealed 471 changes linked with improved behavior. These changes included downregulation of two known modifiers of neurodegeneration, Atxn2 and Arid4a, and upregulation of myelination and translation genes. With one base change in murine Tardbp, this study identifies TDP-43 misregulation as a pathogenic mechanism that may underpin ALS-FTD and exploits phenotypic heterogeneity to yield candidate suppressors of neurodegenerative disease.

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Nature neuroscience, , 1546-1726, , 2018

PMID: 29556029

Neuronal Cell Death.
Fricker M, Tolkovsky AM, Borutaite V, Coleman M, Brown GC

Neuronal cell death occurs extensively during development and pathology, where it is especially important because of the limited capacity of adult neurons to proliferate or be replaced. The concept of cell death used to be simple as there were just two or three types, so we just had to work out which type was involved in our particular pathology and then block it. However, we now know that there are at least a dozen ways for neurons to die, that blocking a particular mechanism of cell death may not prevent the cell from dying, and that non-neuronal cells also contribute to neuronal death. We review here the mechanisms of neuronal death by intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis, oncosis, necroptosis, parthanatos, ferroptosis, sarmoptosis, autophagic cell death, autosis, autolysis, paraptosis, pyroptosis, phagoptosis, and mitochondrial permeability transition. We next explore the mechanisms of neuronal death during development, and those induced by axotomy, aberrant cell-cycle reentry, glutamate (excitoxicity and oxytosis), loss of connected neurons, aggregated proteins and the unfolded protein response, oxidants, inflammation, and microglia. We then reassess which forms of cell death occur in stroke and Alzheimer's disease, two of the most important pathologies involving neuronal cell death. We also discuss why it has been so difficult to pinpoint the type of neuronal death involved, if and why the mechanism of neuronal death matters, the molecular overlap and interplay between death subroutines, and the therapeutic implications of these multiple overlapping forms of neuronal death.

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Physiological reviews, 98, 1522-1210, 813-880, 2018

PMID: 29488822

Sarm1 Deletion, but Not Wld(S), Confers Lifelong Rescue in a Mouse Model of Severe Axonopathy.
Gilley J, Ribchester RR, Coleman MP

Studies with the Wld(S) mutant mouse have shown that axon and synapse pathology in several models of neurodegenerative diseases are mechanistically related to injury-induced axon degeneration (Wallerian degeneration). Crucially, an absence of SARM1 delays Wallerian degeneration as robustly as Wld(S), but their relative capacities to confer long-term protection against related, non-injury axonopathy and/or synaptopathy have not been directly compared. While Sarm1 deletion or Wld(S) can rescue perinatal lethality and widespread Wallerian-like axonopathy in young NMNAT2-deficient mice, we report that an absence of SARM1 enables these mice to survive into old age with no overt phenotype, whereas those rescued by Wld(S) invariantly develop a progressive neuromuscular defect in their hindlimbs from around 3 months of age. We therefore propose Sarm1 deletion as a more reliable tool than Wld(S) for investigating Wallerian-like mechanisms in disease models and suggest that SARM1 blockade may have greater therapeutic potential than WLD(S)-related strategies.

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Cell reports, 21, 2211-1247, 10-16, 2017

PMID: 28978465

Open Access

NMN Deamidase Delays Wallerian Degeneration and Rescues Axonal Defects Caused by NMNAT2 Deficiency In Vivo.
Di Stefano M, Loreto A, Orsomando G, Mori V, Zamporlini F, Hulse RP, Webster J, Donaldson LF, Gering M, Raffaelli N, Coleman MP, Gilley J, Conforti L

Axons require the axonal NAD-synthesizing enzyme NMNAT2 to survive. Injury or genetically induced depletion of NMNAT2 triggers axonal degeneration or defective axon growth. We have previously proposed that axonal NMNAT2 primarily promotes axon survival by maintaining low levels of its substrate NMN rather than generating NAD; however, this is still debated. NMN deamidase, a bacterial enzyme, shares NMN-consuming activity with NMNAT2, but not NAD-synthesizing activity, and it delays axon degeneration in primary neuronal cultures. Here we show that NMN deamidase can also delay axon degeneration in zebrafish larvae and in transgenic mice. Like overexpressed NMNATs, NMN deamidase reduces NMN accumulation in injured mouse sciatic nerves and preserves some axons for up to three weeks, even when expressed at a low level. Remarkably, NMN deamidase also rescues axonal outgrowth and perinatal lethality in a dose-dependent manner in mice lacking NMNAT2. These data further support a pro-degenerative effect of accumulating NMN in axons in vivo. The NMN deamidase mouse will be an important tool to further probe the mechanisms underlying Wallerian degeneration and its prevention.

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Current biology : CB, , 1879-0445, , 2017

PMID: 28262487

Open Access

KIF1A mediates axonal transport of BACE1 and identification of independently moving cargoes in living SCG neurons.
Hung CO, Coleman MP

Neurons rely heavily on axonal transport to deliver materials from the sites of synthesis to the axon terminals over distances that can be many centimetres long. KIF1A is the neuron-specific kinesin with the fastest reported anterograde motor activity. Previous studies have shown that KIF1A transports a subset of synaptic proteins, neurofilaments and dense-core vesicles. Using two-colour live imaging, we showed that BACE1-mCherry moves together with KIF1A-GFP in both the anterograde and retrograde directions in SCG neurons. We confirmed that KIF1A is functionally required for BACE1 transport by using KIF1A siRNA and a KIF1A mutant construct (KIF1A-T312M) to impair its motor activity. We further identified several cargoes that have little or no co-migration with KIF1A-GFP and also move independently from BACE1-mCherry. Together, these findings support a primary role for KIF1A in the anterograde transport of BACE1 and suggest that axonally transported cargoes are sorted into different classes of carrier vesicles in the cell body and are transported by cargo-specific motor proteins through the axon.

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Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark), , 1600-0854, , 2016

PMID: 27484852

Open Access

Synaptophysin depletion and intraneuronal Aβ in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures from huAPP transgenic mice.
Harwell CS, Coleman MP

To date, there are no effective disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer's disease (AD). In order to develop new therapeutics for stages where they are most likely to be effective, it is important to identify the first pathological alterations in the disease cascade. Changes in Aβ concentration have long been reported as one of the first steps, but understanding the source, and earliest consequences, of pathology requires a model system that represents all major CNS cell types, is amenable to repeated observation and sampling, and can be readily manipulated. In this regard, long term organotypic hippocampal slice cultures (OHSCs) from neonatal amyloid mice offer an excellent compromise between in vivo and primary culture studies, largely retaining the cellular composition and neuronal architecture of the in vivo hippocampus, but with the in vitro advantages of accessibility to live imaging, sampling and intervention.

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Molecular neurodegeneration, 11, 1750-1326, 44, 2016

PMID: 27287430

Open Access

Application of virtual screening to the discovery of novel nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) inhibitors with potential for the treatment of cancer and axonopathies.
Clark DE, Waszkowycz B, Wong M, Lockey PM, Adalbert R, Gilley J, Clark J, Coleman MP

NAMPT may represent a novel target for drug discovery in various therapeutic areas, including oncology and inflammation. Additionally, recent work has suggested that targeting NAMPT has potential in treating axon degeneration. In this work, publicly available X-ray co-crystal structures of NAMPT and the structures of two known NAMPT inhibitors were used as the basis for a structure- and ligand-based virtual screening campaign. From this, two novel series of NAMPT inhibitors were identified, one of which showed a statistically significant protective effect when tested in a cellular model of axon degeneration.

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Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters, , 1464-3405, , 2016

PMID: 27158141

Open Access

Traumatic Axonal Injury: Mechanisms and Translational Opportunities.
Hill CS, Coleman MP, Menon DK

Traumatic axonal injury (TAI) is an important pathoanatomical subgroup of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and a major driver of mortality and functional impairment. Experimental models have provided insights into the effects of mechanical deformation on the neuronal cytoskeleton and the subsequent processes that drive axonal injury. There is also increasing recognition that axonal or white matter loss may progress for years post-injury and represent one mechanistic framework for progressive neurodegeneration after TBI. Previous trials of novel therapies have failed to make an impact on clinical outcome, in both TBI in general and TAI in particular. Recent advances in understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of injury have the potential to translate into novel therapeutic targets.

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Trends in neurosciences, 39, 1878-108X, 311-24, 2016

PMID: 27040729

Open Access

Mislocalization of neuronal tau in the absence of tangle pathology in phosphomutant tau knockin mice.
Gilley J, Ando K, Seereeram A, Rodríguez-Martín T, Pooler AM, Sturdee L, Anderton BH, Brion JP, Hanger DP, Coleman MP

Hyperphosphorylation and fibrillar aggregation of the microtubule-associated protein tau are key features of Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. To investigate the involvement of tau phosphorylation in the pathological process, we generated a pair of complementary phosphomutant tau knockin mouse lines. One exclusively expresses phosphomimetic tau with 18 glutamate substitutions at serine and/or threonine residues in the proline-rich and first microtubule-binding domains to model hyperphosphorylation, whereas its phosphodefective counterpart has matched alanine substitutions. Consistent with expected effects of genuine phosphorylation, association of the phosphomimetic tau with microtubules and neuronal membranes is severely disrupted in vivo, whereas the phosphodefective mutations have more limited or no effect. Surprisingly, however, age-related mislocalization of tau is evident in both lines, although redistribution appears more widespread and more pronounced in the phosphomimetic tau knockin. Despite these changes, we found no biochemical or immunohistological evidence of pathological tau aggregation in mice of either line up to at least 2 years of age. These findings raise important questions about the role of tau phosphorylation in driving pathology in human tauopathies.

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Neurobiology of aging, 39, 1558-1497, 1-18, 2016

PMID: 26923397

Open Access

Reduced number of axonal mitochondria and tau hypophosphorylation in mouse P301L tau knockin neurons.
Rodríguez-Martín T, Pooler AM, Lau DH, Mórotz GM, De Vos KJ, Gilley J, Coleman MP, Hanger DP

Expression of the frontotemporal dementia-related tau mutation, P301L, at physiological levels in adult mouse brain (KI-P301L mice) results in overt hypophosphorylation of tau and age-dependent alterations in axonal mitochondrial transport in peripheral nerves. To determine the effects of P301L tau expression in the central nervous system, we examined the kinetics of mitochondrial axonal transport and tau phosphorylation in primary cortical neurons from P301L knock-in (KI-P301L) mice. We observed a significant 50% reduction in the number of mitochondria in the axons of cortical neurons cultured from KI-P301L mice compared to wild-type neurons. Expression of murine P301L tau did not change the speed, direction of travel or likelihood of movement of mitochondria. Notably, the angle that defines the orientation of the mitochondria in the axon, and the volume of individual moving mitochondria, were significantly increased in neurons expressing P301L tau. We found that murine tau phosphorylation in KI-P301L mouse neurons was diminished and the ability of P301L tau to bind to microtubules was also reduced compared to tau in wild-type neurons. The P301L mutation did not influence the ability of murine tau to associate with membranes in cortical neurons or in adult mouse brain. We conclude that P301L tau is associated with mitochondrial changes and causes an early reduction in murine tau phosphorylation in neurons coupled with impaired microtubule binding of tau. These results support the association of mutant tau with detrimental effects on mitochondria and will be of significance for the pathogenesis of tauopathies.

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Neurobiology of disease, 85, 1095-953X, 1-10, 2015

PMID: 26459111

Open Access

Short-term diabetic hyperglycemia suppresses celiac ganglia neurotransmission, thereby impairing sympathetically mediated glucagon responses.
Mundinger TO, Cooper E, Coleman MP, Taborsky GJ

Short-term hyperglycemia suppresses superior cervical ganglia neurotransmission. If this ganglionic dysfunction also occurs in the islet sympathetic pathway, sympathetically mediated glucagon responses could be impaired. Our objectives were 1) to test for a suppressive effect of 7 days of streptozotocin (STZ) diabetes on celiac ganglia (CG) activation and on neurotransmitter and glucagon responses to preganglionic nerve stimulation, 2) to isolate the defect in the islet sympathetic pathway to the CG itself, and 3) to test for a protective effect of the WLD(S) mutation. We injected saline or nicotine in nondiabetic and STZ-diabetic rats and measured fos mRNA levels in whole CG. We electrically stimulated the preganglionic or postganglionic nerve trunk of the CG in nondiabetic and STZ-diabetic rats and measured portal venous norepinephrine and glucagon responses. We repeated the nicotine and preganglionic nerve stimulation studies in nondiabetic and STZ-diabetic WLD(S) rats. In STZ-diabetic rats, the CG fos response to nicotine was suppressed, and the norepinephrine and glucagon responses to preganglionic nerve stimulation were impaired. In contrast, the norepinephrine and glucagon responses to postganglionic nerve stimulation were normal. The CG fos response to nicotine, and the norepinephrine and glucagon responses to preganglionic nerve stimulation, were normal in STZ-diabetic WLD(S) rats. In conclusion, short-term hyperglycemia's suppressive effect on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors of the CG impairs sympathetically mediated glucagon responses. WLD(S) rats are protected from this dysfunction. The implication is that this CG dysfunction may contribute to the impaired glucagon response to insulin-induced hypoglycemia seen early in type 1 diabetes.

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American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism, 309, 1522-1555, E246-55, 2015

PMID: 26037249

Absence of SARM1 rescues development and survival of NMNAT2-deficient axons.
Gilley J, Orsomando G, Nascimento-Ferreira I, Coleman MP

SARM1 function and nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase 2 (NMNAT2) loss both promote axon degeneration, but their relative relationship in the process is unknown. Here, we show that NMNAT2 loss and resultant changes to NMNAT metabolites occur in injured SARM1-deficient axons despite their delayed degeneration and that axon degeneration specifically induced by NMNAT2 depletion requires SARM1. Strikingly, SARM1 deficiency also corrects axon outgrowth in mice lacking NMNAT2, independently of NMNAT metabolites, preventing perinatal lethality. Furthermore, NAMPT inhibition partially restores outgrowth of NMNAT2-deficient axons, suggesting that the NMNAT substrate, NMN, contributes to this phenotype. NMNAT2-depletion-dependent degeneration of established axons and restricted extension of developing axons are thus both SARM1 dependent, and SARM1 acts either downstream of NMNAT2 loss and NMN accumulation in a linear pathway or in a parallel branch of a convergent pathway. Understanding the pathway will help establish relationships with other modulators of axon survival and facilitate the development of effective therapies for axonopathies.

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Cell reports, 10, 2211-1247, 1974-81, 2015

PMID: 25818290

Open Access

Axonal transport declines with age in two distinct phases separated by a period of relative stability.
Milde S, Adalbert R, Elaman MH, Coleman MP

Axonal transport is critical for supplying newly synthesized proteins, organelles, mRNAs, and other cargoes from neuronal cell bodies into axons. Its impairment in many neurodegenerative conditions appears likely to contribute to pathogenesis. Axonal transport also declines during normal aging, but little is known about the timing of these changes, or about the effect of aging on specific cargoes in individual axons. This is important for understanding mechanisms of age-related axon loss and age-related axonal disorders. Here we use fluorescence live imaging of peripheral nerve and central nervous system tissue explants to investigate vesicular and mitochondrial axonal transport. Interestingly, we identify 2 distinct periods of change, 1 period during young adulthood and the other in old age, separated by a relatively stable plateau during most of adult life. We also find that after tibial nerve regeneration, even in old animals, neurons are able to support higher transport rates of each cargo for a prolonged period. Thus, the age-related decline in axonal transport is not an inevitable consequence of either aging neurons or an aging systemic milieu.

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Neurobiology of aging, , 1558-1497, , 2014

PMID: 25443288

Open Access

The Axon-Protective WLD(S) Protein Partially Rescues Mitochondrial Respiration and Glycolysis After Axonal Injury.
Godzik K, Coleman MP

The axon-protective Wallerian degeneration slow (WLD(S)) protein can ameliorate the decline in axonal ATP levels after neurite transection. Here, we tested the hypothesis that this effect is associated with maintenance of mitochondrial respiration and/or glycolysis. We used isolated neurites of superior cervical ganglion (SCG) cultures in the Seahorse XF-24 Metabolic Flux Analyser to determine mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis under different conditions. We observed that both mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis declined significantly during the latent phase of Wallerian degeneration. WLD(S) partially reduced the decline both in glycolysis and in mitochondrial respiration. In addition, we found that depleting NAD levels in uncut cultures led to changes in mitochondrial respiration and glycolysis similar to those rescued by WLD(S) after cut, suggesting that the maintenance of NAD levels in Wld (S) neurites after axonal injury at least partially underlies the maintenance of ATP levels. However, by using another axon-protective mutation (Sarm1 (-/-)), we could demonstrate that rescue of basal ECAR (and hence probably glycolysis) rather than basal OCR (mitochondrial respiration) may be part of the protective phenotype to delay Wallerian degeneration. These findings open new routes to study glycolysis and the connection between NAD and ATP levels in axon degeneration, which may help to eventually develop therapeutic strategies to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

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Journal of molecular neuroscience : MN, , 1559-1166, , 2014

PMID: 25352062

Open Access

A rise in NAD precursor nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) after injury promotes axon degeneration.
Di Stefano M, Nascimento-Ferreira I, Orsomando G, Mori V, Gilley J, Brown R, Janeckova L, Vargas ME, Worrell LA, Loreto A, Tickle J, Patrick J, Webster JR, Marangoni M, Carpi FM, Pucciarelli S, Ro.ssi F, Meng W, Sagasti A, Ribchester RR, Magni G, Coleman MP, Conforti L

NAD metabolism regulates diverse biological processes, including ageing, circadian rhythm and axon survival. Axons depend on the activity of the central enzyme in NAD biosynthesis, nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase 2 (NMNAT2), for their maintenance and degenerate rapidly when this activity is lost. However, whether axon survival is regulated by the supply of NAD or by another action of this enzyme remains unclear. Here we show that the nucleotide precursor of NAD, nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), accumulates after nerve injury and promotes axon degeneration. Inhibitors of NMN-synthesising enzyme NAMPT confer robust morphological and functional protection of injured axons and synapses despite lowering NAD. Exogenous NMN abolishes this protection, suggesting that NMN accumulation within axons after NMNAT2 degradation could promote degeneration. Ectopic expression of NMN deamidase, a bacterial NMN-scavenging enzyme, prolongs survival of injured axons, providing genetic evidence to support such a mechanism. NMN rises prior to degeneration and both the NAMPT inhibitor FK866 and the axon protective protein Wld(S) prevent this rise. These data indicate that the mechanism by which NMNAT and the related Wld(S) protein promote axon survival is by limiting NMN accumulation. They indicate a novel physiological function for NMN in mammals and reveal an unexpected link between new strategies for cancer chemotherapy and the treatment of axonopathies.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 17 October 2014; doi:10.1038/cdd.2014.164.

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Cell death and differentiation, , 1476-5403, , 2014

PMID: 25323584

Open Access

Identification of palmitoyltransferase and thioesterase enzymes that control the subcellular localization of axon survival factor nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase 2 (NMNAT2).
Milde S, Coleman MP

The NAD-synthesizing enzyme nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase 2 (NMNAT2) is a critical survival factor for axons and its constant supply from neuronal cell bodies into axons is required for axon survival in primary culture neurites and axon extension in vivo. Recently, we showed that palmitoylation is necessary to target NMNAT2 to post-Golgi vesicles, thereby influencing its protein turnover and axon protective capacity. Here we find that NMNAT2 is a substrate for cytosolic thioesterases APT1 and APT2 and that palmitoylation/depalmitoylation dynamics are on a time scale similar to its short half-life. Interestingly, however, depalmitoylation does not release NMNAT2 from membranes. The mechanism of palmitoylation-independent membrane attachment appears to be mediated by the same minimal domain required for palmitoylation itself. Furthermore, we identify several zDHHC palmitoyltransferases that influence NMNAT2 palmitoylation and subcellular localization, among which a role for zDHHC17 (HIP14) in neuronal NMNAT2 palmitoylation is best supported by our data. These findings shed light on the enzymatic regulation of NMNAT2 palmitoylation and highlight individual thioesterases and palmitoyltransferases as potential targets to modulate NMNAT2-dependent axon survival.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 289, 1083-351X, 32858-70, 2014

PMID: 25271157

Open Access

Age-related axonal swellings precede other neuropathological hallmarks in a knock-in mouse model of Huntington's disease.
Marangoni M, Adalbert R, Janeckova L, Patrick J, Kohli J, Coleman MP, Conforti L

Axon degeneration precedes cell body death in many age-related neurodegenerative disorders, often determining symptom onset and progression. A sensitive method for revealing axon pathology could indicate whether this is the case also in Huntington's disease (HD), a fatal, devastating neurodegenerative disorder causing progressive deterioration of both physical and mental abilities, and which brain region is affected first. We studied the spatio-temporal relationship between axon pathology, neuronal loss, and mutant Huntingtin aggregate formation in HD mouse models by crossing R6/2 transgenic and HdhQ140 knock-in mice with YFP-H mice expressing the yellow fluorescent protein in a subset of neurons. We found large axonal swellings developing age-dependently first in stria terminalis and then in corticostriatal axons of HdhQ140 mice, whereas alterations of other neuronal compartments could not be detected. Although mutant Huntingtin accumulated with age in several brain areas, inclusions in the soma did not correlate with swelling of the corresponding axons. Axon abnormalities were not a prominent feature of the rapid progressive pathology of R6/2 mice. Our findings in mice genetically similar to HD patients suggest that axon pathology is an early event in HD and indicate the importance of further studies of stria terminalis axons in man.

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Neurobiology of aging, 35, 1558-1497, 2382-93, 2014

PMID: 24906892

Open Access

Wallerian degeneration: an emerging axon death pathway linking injury and disease.
Conforti L, Gilley J, Coleman MP

Axon degeneration is a prominent early feature of most neurodegenerative disorders and can also be induced directly by nerve injury in a process known as Wallerian degeneration. The discovery of genetic mutations that delay Wallerian degeneration has provided insight into mechanisms underlying axon degeneration in disease. Rapid Wallerian degeneration requires the pro-degenerative molecules SARM1 and PHR1. Nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase 2 (NMNAT2) is essential for axon growth and survival. Its loss from injured axons may activate Wallerian degeneration, whereas NMNAT overexpression rescues axons from degeneration. Here, we discuss the roles of these and other proposed regulators of Wallerian degeneration, new opportunities for understanding disease mechanisms and intriguing links between Wallerian degeneration, innate immunity, synaptic growth and cell death.

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Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 15, 1471-0048, 394-409, 2014

PMID: 24840802

Open Access

Axonal trafficking of NMNAT2 and its roles in axon growth and survival in vivo.
Milde S, Gilley J, Coleman MP

The NAD-synthesizing enzyme NMNAT2 is critical for axon survival in primary culture and its depletion may contribute to axon degeneration in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders. Here we discuss several recent reports from our laboratory that establish a critical role for NMNAT2 in axon growth in vivo in mice and shed light on the delivery and turnover of this survival factor in axons. In the absence of NMNAT2, axons fail to extend more than a short distance beyond the cell body during embryonic development, implying a requirement for NMNAT2 in axon maintenance even during development. Furthermore, we highlight findings regarding the bidirectional trafficking of NMNAT2 in axons on a vesicle population that undergoes fast axonal transport in primary culture neurites and in mouse sciatic nerve axons in vivo. Surprisingly, loss of vesicle association boosts the axon protective capacity of NMNAT2, an effect that is at least partially mediated by a longer protein half-life of cytosolic NMNAT2 variants. Analysis of wild-type and variant NMNAT2 in mouse sciatic nerves and Drosophila olfactory receptor neuron axons supports the existence of a similar mechanism in vivo, highlighting the potential for regulation of NMNAT2 stability and turnover as a mechanism to modulate axon degeneration in vivo.

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Bioarchitecture, 3, 1949-100X, 133-40, 0

PMID: 24284888

Open Access

MEK Inhibitor U0126 Reverses Protection of Axons from Wallerian Degeneration Independently of MEK-ERK Signaling.
C Evans, SJ Cook, MP Coleman, J Gilley

Wallerian degeneration is delayed when sufficient levels of proteins with NMNAT activity are maintained within axons after injury. This has been proposed to form the basis of 'slow Wallerian degeneration' (Wld (S)), a neuroprotective phenotype conferred by an aberrant fusion protein, Wld(S). Proteasome inhibition also delays Wallerian degeneration, although much less robustly, with stabilization of NMNAT2 likely to play a key role in this mechanism. The pan-MEK inhibitor U0126 has previously been shown to reverse the axon-protective effects of proteasome inhibition, suggesting that MEK-ERK signaling plays a role in delayed Wallerian degeneration, in addition to its established role in promoting neuronal survival. Here we show that whilst U0126 can also reverse Wld(S)-mediated axon protection, more specific inhibitors of MEK1/2 and MEK5, PD184352 and BIX02189, have no significant effect on the delay to Wallerian degeneration in either situation, whether used alone or in combination. This suggests that an off-target effect of U0126 is responsible for reversion of the axon protective effects of Wld(S) expression or proteasome inhibition, rather than inhibition of MEK1/2-ERK1/2 or MEK5-ERK5 signaling. Importantly, this off-target effect does not appear to result in alterations in the stabilities of either Wld(S) or NMNAT2.

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PloS one, 8, 10, e76505, 2013

PMID: 24124570
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076505

Open Access