Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive motor neuron dysfunction and loss. A portion of ALS cases are caused by mutation of the proteasome shuttle factor Ubiquilin 2 (UBQLN2), but the molecular pathway leading from UBQLN2 dysfunction to disease remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that UBQLN2 regulates the domesticated gag-pol retrotransposon 'paternally expressed gene 10' (PEG10) in human cells and tissues. In cells, the PEG10 gag-pol protein cleaves itself in a mechanism reminiscent of retrotransposon self-processing to generate a liberated 'nucleocapsid' fragment, which uniquely localizes to the nucleus and changes the expression of genes involved in axon remodeling. In spinal cord tissue from ALS patients, PEG10 gag-pol is elevated compared to healthy controls. These findings implicate the retrotransposon-like activity of PEG10 as a contributing mechanism in ALS through regulation of gene expression, and restraint of PEG10 as a primary function of UBQLN2.
Figure 6 - Source Data 1 contains the normalized counts from RNA-Seq data used to generate figures. Figure 8 - Source Data 1 contains the abundance counts from proteomics data used to generate figures. Sequencing data have been deposited in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) at GSE227789. Proteomics data is available on PRIDE at PXD031964. Analysis code for microscopy quantitation can be obtained from https://github.com/jwtay1/PEG10-image-analysis/. All other data is available in the manuscript or source materials. Correspondence and material requests should be directed to A. M. Whiteley (email@example.com).
Gene expression changes in HEK293 cells following PEG10 overexpression.NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE227789.
- Julia E Roberts
- Autumn M Matthews
- G Aaron Holling
- Elizabeth Ung
- Cristina I Lau
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Harry T Orr, University of Minnesota, United States
© 2023, Black 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.
The relative positions of viral DNA genomes to the host intranuclear environment play critical roles in determining virus fate. Recent advances in the application of chromosome conformation capture-based sequencing analysis (3 C technologies) have revealed valuable aspects of the spatiotemporal interplay of viral genomes with host chromosomes. However, to elucidate the causal relationship between the subnuclear localization of viral genomes and the pathogenic outcome of an infection, manipulative tools are needed. Rapid repositioning of viral DNAs to specific subnuclear compartments amid infection is a powerful approach to synchronize and interrogate this dynamically changing process in space and time. Herein, we report an inducible CRISPR-based two-component platform that relocates extrachromosomal DNA pieces (5 kb to 170 kb) to the nuclear periphery in minutes (CRISPR-nuPin). Based on this strategy, investigations of herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), a prototypical member of the human herpesvirus family, revealed unprecedently reported insights into the early intranuclear life of the pathogen: (I) Viral genomes tethered to the nuclear periphery upon entry, compared with those freely infecting the nucleus, were wrapped around histones with increased suppressive modifications and subjected to stronger transcriptional silencing and prominent growth inhibition. (II) Relocating HSV-1 genomes at 1 hr post infection significantly promoted the transcription of viral genes, termed an ‘Escaping’ effect. (III) Early accumulation of ICP0 was a sufficient but not necessary condition for ‘Escaping’. (IV) Subnuclear localization was only critical during early infection. Importantly, the CRISPR-nuPin tactic, in principle, is applicable to many other DNA viruses.
Impaired spermatogenesis and male infertility are common manifestations associated with mitochondrial diseases, yet the underlying mechanisms linking these conditions remain elusive. In this study, we demonstrate that mice deficient for the mitochondrial intra-membrane rhomboid protease PARL, a recently reported model of the mitochondrial encephalopathy Leigh syndrome, develop early testicular atrophy caused by a complete arrest of spermatogenesis during meiotic prophase I, followed by degeneration and death of arrested spermatocytes. This process is independent of neurodegeneration. Interestingly, genetic modifications of PINK1, PGAM5, and TTC19 – three major substrates of PARL with important roles in mitochondrial homeostasis – fail to reproduce or modify this severe phenotype, indicating that the spermatogenic arrest arises from distinct molecular pathways. We further observed severe abnormalities in mitochondrial ultrastructure in PARL-deficient spermatocytes, along with prominent electron transfer chain defects, disrupted coenzyme Q (CoQ) biosynthesis, and metabolic rewiring. These mitochondrial defects are associated with a germ cell-specific decrease in GPX4 expression leading arrested spermatocytes to ferroptosis – a regulated cell death modality characterized by uncontrolled lipid peroxidation. Our results suggest that mitochondrial defects induced by PARL depletion act as an initiating trigger for ferroptosis in primary spermatocytes through simultaneous effects on GPX4 and CoQ – two major inhibitors of ferroptosis. These findings shed new light on the potential role of ferroptosis in the pathogenesis of mitochondrial diseases and male infertility warranting further investigation.