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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Aug 28;104(35):14157-62. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

Soluble misfolded subfractions of mutant superoxide dismutase-1s are enriched in spinal cords throughout life in murine ALS models.

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Department of Medical Biosciences, Umeå University, SE-901 85 Umeå, Sweden.


Mutants of superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) cause ALS by an unidentified cytotoxic mechanism. We have previously shown that the stable SOD1 mutants D90A and G93A are abundant and show the highest levels in liver and kidney in transgenic murine ALS models, whereas the unstable G85R and G127X mutants are scarce but enriched in the CNS. These data indicated that minute amounts of misfolded SOD1 enriched in the motor areas might exert the ALS-causing cytotoxicity. A hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC) protocol was developed with the aim to determine the abundance of soluble misfolded SOD1 in tissues in vivo. Most G85R and G127X mutant SOD1s bound in the assay, but only minute subfractions of the D90A and G93A mutants. The absolute levels of HIC-binding SOD1 were, however, similar and broadly inversely related to lifespans in the models. They were generally enriched in the susceptible spinal cord. The HIC-binding SOD1 was composed of disulfide-reduced subunits lacking metal ions and also subunits that apparently carried nonnative intrasubunit disulfide bonds. The levels were high from birth until death and were comparable to the amounts of SOD1 that become sequestered in aggregates in the terminal stage. The HIC-binding SOD1 species ranged from monomeric to trimeric in size. These species form a least common denominator amongst SOD1 mutants with widely different molecular characteristics and might be involved in the cytotoxicity that causes ALS.

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