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Brain Res. 2007 Sep 5;1167:112-7. Epub 2007 Jul 7.

Increased autophagy in transgenic mice with a G93A mutant SOD1 gene.

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Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, 2-5-1 Shikata-cho, Okayama 700-8558, Japan.


Autophagy, like the ubiquitin-proteasome system, is considered to play an important role in preventing the accumulation of abnormal proteins. Rat microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) is important for autophagy, and the conversion from LC3-I into LC3-II is accepted as a simple method for monitoring autophagy. We examined a SOD1G93A transgenic mouse model for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to consider a possible relationship between autophagy and ALS. In our study we analyzed LC3 and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a suppressor of autophagy, by immunoassays. The level of LC3-II, which is known to be correlated with the extent of autophagosome formation, was increased in SOD1G93A transgenic mice at symptomatic stage compared with non-transgenic or human wild-type SOD1 transgenic animals. Moreover, the ratio of phosphorylated mTOR/Ser2448 immunopositive motor neurons to total motor neurons was decreased in SOD1G93A-Tg mice. The present data show the possibility of increased autophagy in an animal model for ALS. And autophagy may be partially regulated by an mTOR signaling pathway in these animals.

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