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FASEB J. 2012 Apr;26(4):1526-34. doi: 10.1096/fj.11-198317. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

Chorein-sensitive polymerization of cortical actin and suicidal cell death in chorea-acanthocytosis.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

Abstract

Chorea-acanthocytosis is an inevitably lethal genetic disease characterized by a progressive hyperkinetic movement disorder and cognitive and behavioral abnormalities as well as acanthocytosis. The disease is caused by loss-of-function mutations of the gene encoding vacuolar protein sorting-associated protein 13A (VPS13A) or chorein, a protein with unknown function expressed in various cell types. How chorein deficiency leads to the pathophysiology of chorea-acanthocytosis remains enigmatic. Here we show decreased phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)-p85-subunit phosphorylation, ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) activity, and p21 protein-activated kinase 1 (PAK1) phosphorylation as well as depolymerized cortical actin in erythrocytes from patients with chorea-acanthocytosis and in K562-erythrocytic cells following chorein silencing. Pharmacological inhibition of PI3K, Rac1, or PAK1 similarly triggered actin depolymerization. Moreover, in K562 cells, both chorein silencing and PAK1 inhibition with IPA-3 decreased phosphorylation of Bad, a Bcl2-associated protein, promoting apoptosis by forming mitochondrial pores, followed by mitochondrial depolarization, DNA fragmentation, and phosphatidylserine exposure at the cell surface, all hallmarks of apoptosis. Our observations reveal chorein as a novel powerful regulator of cytoskeletal architecture and cell survival, thus explaining erythrocyte misshape and possibly neurodegeneration in chorea-acanthocytosis.

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