JDB, Vol. 11, Pages 20: Attenuation of Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration in a C. elegans Parkinson’s Model through Regulation of Xanthine Dehydrogenase (XDH-1) Expression by the RNA Editase, ADR-2

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JDB, Vol. 11, Pages 20: Attenuation of Dopaminergic Neurodegeneration in a C. elegans Parkinson’s Model through Regulation of Xanthine Dehydrogenase (XDH-1) Expression by the RNA Editase, ADR-2

Journal of Developmental Biology doi: 10.3390/jdb11020020

Authors:
Lindsey A. Starr
Luke E. McKay
Kylie N. Peter
Lena M. Seyfarth
Laura A. Berkowitz
Kim A. Caldwell
Guy A. Caldwell

Differential RNA editing by adenosine deaminases that act on RNA (ADARs) has been implicated in several neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). Here, we report results of a RNAi screen of genes differentially regulated in adr-2 mutants, normally encoding the only catalytically active ADAR in Caenorhabditis elegans, ADR-2. Subsequent analysis of candidate genes that alter the misfolding of human α-synuclein (α-syn) and dopaminergic neurodegeneration, two PD pathologies, reveal that reduced expression of xdh-1, the ortholog of human xanthine dehydrogenase (XDH), is protective against α-synuclein-induced dopaminergic neurodegeneration. Further, RNAi experiments show that WHT-2, the worm ortholog of the human ABCG2 transporter and a predicted interactor of XDH-1, is the rate-limiting factor in the ADR-2, XDH-1, WHT-2 system for dopaminergic neuroprotection. In silico structural modeling of WHT-2 indicates that the editing of one nucleotide in the wht-2 mRNA leads to the substitution of threonine with alanine at residue 124 in the WHT-2 protein, changing hydrogen bonds in this region. Thus, we propose a model where wht-2 is edited by ADR-2, which promotes optimal export of uric acid, a known substrate of WHT-2 and a product of XDH-1 activity. In the absence of editing, uric acid export is limited, provoking a reduction in xdh-1 transcription to limit uric acid production and maintain cellular homeostasis. As a result, elevation of uric acid is protective against dopaminergic neuronal cell death. In turn, increased levels of uric acid are associated with a decrease in ROS production. Further, downregulation of xdh-1 is protective against PD pathologies because decreased levels of XDH-1 correlate to a concomitant reduction in xanthine oxidase (XO), the form of the protein whose by-product is superoxide anion. These data indicate that modifying specific targets of RNA editing may represent a promising therapeutic strategy for PD.

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