Publications by authors named "Yingzhang Chen"

3 Publications

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Senataxin mutations elicit motor neuron degeneration phenotypes and yield TDP-43 mislocalization in ALS4 mice and human patients.

Acta Neuropathol 2018 09 3;136(3):425-443. Epub 2018 May 3.

Department of Neurology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, USA.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis type 4 (ALS4) is a rare, early-onset, autosomal dominant form of ALS, characterized by slow disease progression and sparing of respiratory musculature. Dominant, gain-of-function mutations in the senataxin gene (SETX) cause ALS4, but the mechanistic basis for motor neuron toxicity is unknown. SETX is a RNA-binding protein with a highly conserved helicase domain, but does not possess a low-complexity domain, making it unique among ALS-linked disease proteins. We derived ALS4 mouse models by expressing two different senataxin gene mutations (R2136H and L389S) via transgenesis and knock-in gene targeting. Both approaches yielded SETX mutant mice that develop neuromuscular phenotypes and motor neuron degeneration. Neuropathological characterization of SETX mice revealed nuclear clearing of TDP-43, accompanied by TDP-43 cytosolic mislocalization, consistent with the hallmark pathology observed in human ALS patients. Postmortem material from ALS4 patients exhibited TDP-43 mislocalization in spinal cord motor neurons, and motor neurons from SETX ALS4 mice displayed enhanced stress granule formation. Immunostaining analysis for nucleocytoplasmic transport proteins Ran and RanGAP1 uncovered nuclear membrane abnormalities in the motor neurons of SETX ALS4 mice, and nuclear import was delayed in SETX ALS4 cortical neurons, indicative of impaired nucleocytoplasmic trafficking. SETX ALS4 mice thus recapitulated ALS disease phenotypes in association with TDP-43 mislocalization and provided insight into the basis for TDP-43 histopathology, linking SETX dysfunction to common pathways of ALS motor neuron degeneration.
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September 2018

Protein interaction analysis of senataxin and the ALS4 L389S mutant yields insights into senataxin post-translational modification and uncovers mutant-specific binding with a brain cytoplasmic RNA-encoded peptide.

PLoS One 2013 11;8(11):e78837. Epub 2013 Nov 11.

Comparative Genomics Centre, School of Pharmacy and Molecular Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia ; Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, United States of America.

Senataxin is a large 303 kDa protein linked to neuron survival, as recessive mutations cause Ataxia with Oculomotor Apraxia type 2 (AOA2), and dominant mutations cause amyotrophic lateral sclerosis type 4 (ALS4). Senataxin contains an amino-terminal protein-interaction domain and a carboxy-terminal DNA/RNA helicase domain. In this study, we focused upon the common ALS4 mutation, L389S, by performing yeast two-hybrid screens of a human brain expression library with control senataxin or L389S senataxin as bait. Interacting clones identified from the two screens were collated, and redundant hits and false positives subtracted to yield a set of 13 protein interactors. Among these hits, we discovered a highly specific and reproducible interaction of L389S senataxin with a peptide encoded by the antisense sequence of a brain-specific non-coding RNA, known as BCYRN1. We further found that L389S senataxin interacts with other proteins containing regions of conserved homology with the BCYRN1 reverse complement-encoded peptide, suggesting that such aberrant protein interactions may contribute to L389S ALS4 disease pathogenesis. As the yeast two-hybrid screen also demonstrated senataxin self-association, we confirmed senataxin dimerization via its amino-terminal binding domain and determined that the L389S mutation does not abrogate senataxin self-association. Finally, based upon detection of interactions between senataxin and ubiquitin-SUMO pathway modification enzymes, we examined senataxin for the presence of ubiquitin and SUMO monomers, and observed this post-translational modification. Our senataxin protein interaction study reveals a number of features of senataxin biology that shed light on senataxin normal function and likely on senataxin molecular pathology in ALS4.
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August 2014

Prevalence of ALDH7A1 mutations in 18 North American pyridoxine-dependent seizure (PDS) patients.

Epilepsia 2009 May 14;50(5):1167-75. Epub 2008 Oct 14.

Division of Genetics and Developmental Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, Washington 98195-6320, USA.

Purpose: Pyridoxine-dependent seizure (PDS) is a rare disorder characterized by seizures that are resistant to common anticonvulsants, and that are ultimately controlled by daily pharmacologic doses of pyridoxine (vitamin B6). Mutations of the antiquitin gene (ALDH7A1) are now recognized as the molecular basis of cases of neonatal-onset PDS.

Methods: Bidirectional DNA sequence analysis of ALDH7A1 was undertaken along with plasma pipecolic acid (PA) measurements to determine the prevalence of ALDH7A1 mutations in a cohort of 18 North American patients with PDS.

Results: In patients with neonatal-onset PDS, compound heterozygous or homozygous ALDH7A1 mutations were detected in 10 of 12 cases, and a single mutation was found in the remaining 2. In later-onset cases, mutations in ALDH7A1 were detected in three of six cases. In two patients with infantile spasms responsive to pyridoxine treatment and with good clinical outcomes, no mutations were found and PA levels were normal. In total, 13 novel mutations were identified.

Discussion: Our study advances previous findings that defects of ALDH7A1 are almost always the cause of neonatal-onset PDS and that defects in this gene are also responsible for some but not all later-onset cases. Later-onset cases of infantile spasms with good outcomes lacked evidence for antiquitin dysfunction, suggesting that this phenotype is less compelling for PDS.
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May 2009