The amino acid metabolite homocysteine activates mTORC1 to inhibit autophagy and form abnormal proteins in human neurons and mice

Khoosheh Khayati, Henri Antikainen, Edward M. Bonder, Gregory F. Weber, Warren D. Kruger, Hieronim Jakubowski, Radek Dobrowolski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Themolecularmechanisms leading to andresponsible for age-related, sporadic Alzheimer'sdisease (AD) remain largelyunknown. It iswelldocumented that aging patientswith elevated levels of the amino acidmetabolite homocysteine (Hcy) are at high risk of developing AD.We investigated the impact of Hcy on molecular clearance pathways in mammalian cells, including in vitro cultured induced pluripotent stemcell-derived forebrain neurons and in vivo neurons in mouse brains. Exposure to Hcy resulted in up-regulation of the mechanistic target of rapamycincomplex 1 (mTORC1)activity, one of themajor kinases incells that is tightly linked to anabolic and catabolic pathways. Hcy is sensed by a constitutive protein complex composed of leucyl-tRNA-synthetase and folliculin, which regulates mTOR tethering to lysosomal membranes. In hyperhomocysteinemic human cells and cystathionine β-synthase-deficient mouse brains, we find an acute and chronic inhibition of the molecular clearance of protein products resulting in a buildup of abnormal proteins, including β-amyloid and phospho-Tau. Formation of these protein aggregates leads to AD-like neurodegeneration. This pathology can be prevented by inhibition of mTORC1 or by induction of autophagy. We conclude that an increase of intracellular Hcy levels predisposes neurons to develop abnormal protein aggregates, which are hallmarks of AD and its associated onset and pathophysiology with age.-Khayati, K., Antikainen, H., Bonder, E. M., Weber, G. F., Kruger, W. D., Jakubowski, H., Dobrowolski, R. The amino acid metabolite homocysteine activates mTORC1 to inhibit autophagy and form abnormal proteins in human neurons and mice. FASEB J. 31, 598-609 (2017). www.fasebj.org.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-609
Number of pages12
JournalFASEB Journal
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Lysosomal clearance
  • Metabolism
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

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