The cellular prion protein (PrPC) is an ubiquitous cell surface protein mostly expressed in neurons, where it localizes to both pre- and post-synaptic membranes. PrPC aberrant conformers are the major components of mammalian prions, the infectious agents responsible for incurable neurodegenerative disorders. PrPC was also proposed to bind aggregated misfolded proteins/peptides, and to mediate their neurotoxic signal. In spite of long-lasting research, a general consensus on the precise pathophysiologic mechanisms of PrPC has not yet been reached. Here we review our recent data, obtained by comparing primary neurons from PrP-expressing and PrP-knockout mice, indicating a central role of PrPC in synaptic transmission and Ca2+ homeostasis. Indeed, by controlling gene expression and signaling cascades, PrPC is able to optimize glutamate secretion and regulate Ca2+ entry via store-operated channels and ionotropic glutamate receptors, thereby protecting neurons from threatening Ca2+ overloads and excitotoxicity. We will also illustrate and discuss past and unpublished results demonstrating that Aβ oligomers perturb Ca2+ homeostasis and cause abnormal mitochondrial accumulation of reactive oxygen species by possibly affecting the PrP-dependent downregulation of Fyn kinase activity.

The Link of the Prion Protein with Ca2+ Metabolism and ROS Production, and the Possible Implication in Aβ Toxicity

De Mario A.;Peggion C.;Massimino M. L.;Norante R. P.;Zulian A.;Bertoli A.;Sorgato M. C.
2019

Abstract

The cellular prion protein (PrPC) is an ubiquitous cell surface protein mostly expressed in neurons, where it localizes to both pre- and post-synaptic membranes. PrPC aberrant conformers are the major components of mammalian prions, the infectious agents responsible for incurable neurodegenerative disorders. PrPC was also proposed to bind aggregated misfolded proteins/peptides, and to mediate their neurotoxic signal. In spite of long-lasting research, a general consensus on the precise pathophysiologic mechanisms of PrPC has not yet been reached. Here we review our recent data, obtained by comparing primary neurons from PrP-expressing and PrP-knockout mice, indicating a central role of PrPC in synaptic transmission and Ca2+ homeostasis. Indeed, by controlling gene expression and signaling cascades, PrPC is able to optimize glutamate secretion and regulate Ca2+ entry via store-operated channels and ionotropic glutamate receptors, thereby protecting neurons from threatening Ca2+ overloads and excitotoxicity. We will also illustrate and discuss past and unpublished results demonstrating that Aβ oligomers perturb Ca2+ homeostasis and cause abnormal mitochondrial accumulation of reactive oxygen species by possibly affecting the PrP-dependent downregulation of Fyn kinase activity.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3310795
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