6-OHDA-induced dopaminergic neurodegeneration in Caenorhabditis elegans is promoted by the engulfment pathway and inhibited by the transthyretin-related protein TTR-33

Sarah-Lena Offenburger, Xue Yan Ho, Theresa Tachie-Menson, Sean Coakley, Massimo A. Hilliard, Anton Gartner (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Abstract

Oxidative stress is linked to many pathological conditions including the loss of dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease. The vast majority of disease cases appear to be caused by a combination of genetic mutations and environmental factors. We screened for genes protecting Caenorhabditis elegans dopaminergic neurons from oxidative stress induced by the neurotoxin 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) and identified the transthyretin-related gene ttr-33. The only described C. elegans transthyretin-related protein to date, TTR-52, has been shown to mediate corpse engulfment as well as axon repair. We demonstrate that TTR-52 and TTR-33 have distinct roles. TTR-33 is likely produced in the posterior arcade cells in the head of C. elegans larvae and is predicted to be a secreted protein. TTR-33 protects C. elegans from oxidative stress induced by paraquat or H2O2 at an organismal level. The increased oxidative stress sensitivity of ttr-33 mutants is alleviated by mutations affecting the KGB-1 MAPK kinase pathway, whereas it is enhanced by mutation of the JNK-1 MAPK kinase. Finally, we provide genetic evidence that the C. elegans cell corpse engulfment pathway is required for the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons after exposure to 6-OHDA. In summary, we describe a new neuroprotective mechanism and demonstrate that TTR-33 normally functions to protect dopaminergic neurons from oxidative stress-induced degeneration, potentially by acting as a secreted sensor or scavenger of oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1007125
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalPLoS Genetics
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2018

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