Calcium Ions Promote Superoxide Dismutase 1 (SOD1) Aggregation into Non-fibrillar Amyloid A LINK TO TOXIC EFFECTS OF CALCIUM OVERLOAD IN AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS (ALS)?

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Imbalance in metal ion homeostasis is a hallmark in neurodegenerative conditions involving protein deposition, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is no exception. In particular, Ca2+ dysregulation has been shown to correlate with superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) aggregation in a cellular model of ALS. Here we present evidence that SOD1 aggregation is enhanced and modulated by Ca2+. We show that at physiological pH, Ca2+ induces conformational changes that increase SOD1 beta-sheet content, as probed by far UV CD and attenuated total reflectance- FTIR, and enhances SOD1 hydrophobicity, as probed by ANS fluorescence emission. Moreover, dynamic light scattering analysis showed that Ca2+ boosts the onset of SOD1 aggregation. In agreement, Ca2+ decreases SOD1 critical concentration and nucleation time during aggregation kinetics, as evidenced by thioflavin T fluorescence emission. Attenuated total reflectance FTIR analysis showed that Ca2+ induced aggregates consisting preferentially of antiparallel beta-sheets, thus suggesting a modulation effect on the aggregation pathway. Transmission electron microscopy and analysis with conformational anti-fibril and anti-oligomer antibodies showed that oligomers and amyloidogenic aggregates constitute the prevalent morphology of Ca2+ -induced aggregates, thus indicating that Ca2+ diverts SOD1 aggregation from fibrils toward amorphous aggregates. Interestingly, the same heterogeneity of conformations is found in ALS-derived protein inclusions. We thus hypothesize that transient variations and dysregulation of cellular Ca2+ levels contribute to the formation of SOD1 aggregates in ALS patients. In this scenario, Ca2+ may be considered as a pathogenic effector in the formation of ALS proteinaceous inclusions.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)25219-25228
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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