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PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e58116. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058116. Epub 2013 Mar 5.

Unfolded protein response and activated degradative pathways regulation in GNE myopathy.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Qilu Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan, China.


Although intracellular beta amyloid (Aβ) accumulation is known as an early upstream event in the degenerative course of UDP-N-acetylglucosamine 2-epimerase/N-acetylmannosamine kinase (GNE) myopathy, the process by which Aβdeposits initiate various degradative pathways, and their relationship have not been fully clarified. We studied the possible secondary responses after amyloid beta precursor protein (AβPP) deposition including unfolded protein response (UPR), ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) activation and its correlation with autophagy system. Eight GNE myopathy patients and five individuals with normal muscle morphology were included in this study. We performed immunofluorescence and immunoblotting to investigate the expression of AβPP, phosphorylated tau (p-tau) and endoplasmic reticulum molecular chaperones. Proteasome activities were measured by cleavage of fluorogenic substrates. The expression of proteasome subunits and linkers between proteasomal and autophagy systems were also evaluated by immunoblotting and relative quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Four molecular chaperones, glucose-regulated protein 94 (GRP94), glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78), calreticulin and calnexin and valosin containing protein (VCP) were highly expressed in GNE myopathy. 20S proteasome subunits, three main proteasome proteolytic activities, and the factors linking UPS and autophagy system were also increased. Our study suggests that AβPP deposition results in endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) and highly expressed VCP deliver unfolded proteins from endoplasmic reticulum to proteosomal system which is activated in endoplasmic reticulum associated degradation (ERAD) in GNE myopathy. Excessive ubiquitinated unfolded proteins are exported by proteins that connect UPS and autophagy to autophagy system, which is activated as an alternative pathway for degradation.

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