Alexander Disease (AxD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by mutations in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), which supports the structural integrity of astrocytes. Over 70 GFAP missense mutations cause AxD, but the mechanism linking different mutations to disease-relevant phenotypes remains unknown. We used AxD patient brain tissue and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived astrocytes to investigate the hypothesis that AxD-causing mutations perturb key post-translational modifications (PTMs) on GFAP. Our findings reveal selective phosphorylation of GFAP-Ser13 in patients who died young, independently of the mutation they carried. AxD iPSC-astrocytes accumulated pSer13-GFAP in cytoplasmic aggregates within deep nuclear invaginations, resembling the hallmark Rosenthal fibers observed in vivo. Ser13 phosphorylation facilitated GFAP aggregation and was associated with increased GFAP proteolysis by caspase-6. Furthermore, caspase-6 was selectively expressed in young AxD patients, and correlated with the presence of cleaved GFAP. We reveal a novel PTM signature linking different GFAP mutations in infantile AxD.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for mass spec results in Figure 1 and Supplemental Figure 6.
- Natasha T Snider
- Natasha T Snider
- Rachel A Battaglia
- Natasha T Snider
- Victoria J Madden
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Kang Shen, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University, United States
© 2019, Battaglia et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Automating the extraction of meaningful temporal information from sequences of microscopy images represents a major challenge to characterize dynamical biological processes. So far, strong limitations in the ability to quantitatively analyze single-cell trajectories have prevented large-scale investigations to assess the dynamics of entry into replicative senescence in yeast. Here, we have developed DetecDiv, a microfluidic-based image acquisition platform combined with deep learning-based software for high-throughput single-cell division tracking. We show that DetecDiv can automatically reconstruct cellular replicative lifespans with high accuracy and performs similarly with various imaging platforms and geometries of microfluidic traps. In addition, this methodology provides comprehensive temporal cellular metrics using time-series classification and image semantic segmentation. Last, we show that this method can be further applied to automatically quantify the dynamics of cellular adaptation and real-time cell survival upon exposure to environmental stress. Hence, this methodology provides an all-in-one toolbox for high-throughput phenotyping for cell cycle, stress response, and replicative lifespan assays.
Apicomplexan parasites cause persistent mortality and morbidity worldwide through diseases including malaria, toxoplasmosis, and cryptosporidiosis. Ca2+ signaling pathways have been repurposed in these eukaryotic pathogens to regulate parasite-specific cellular processes governing the replicative and lytic phases of the infectious cycle, as well as the transition between them. Despite the presence of conserved Ca2+-responsive proteins, little is known about how specific signaling elements interact to impact pathogenesis. We mapped the Ca2+-responsive proteome of the model apicomplexan T. gondii via time-resolved phosphoproteomics and thermal proteome profiling. The waves of phosphoregulation following PKG activation and stimulated Ca2+ release corroborate known physiological changes but identify specific proteins operating in these pathways. Thermal profiling of parasite extracts identified many expected Ca2+-responsive proteins, such as parasite Ca2+-dependent protein kinases. Our approach also identified numerous Ca2+-responsive proteins that are not predicted to bind Ca2+, yet are critical components of the parasite signaling network. We characterized protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) as a Ca2+-responsive enzyme that relocalized to the parasite apex upon Ca2+ store release. Conditional depletion of PP1 revealed that the phosphatase regulates Ca2+ uptake to promote parasite motility. PP1 may thus be partly responsible for Ca2+-regulated serine/threonine phosphatase activity in apicomplexan parasites.