The most frequent genetic causes of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) determined so far are mutations occurring in the gene coding for copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu,Zn-SOD). The mechanism may involve the formation of hydroxyl radicals or malfunctioning of the SOD protein. Wild-type SOD1 was constructed into a transcription-translation expression vector to examine the SOD1 production in vitro. Wild-type SOD1 was highly expressed in Escherichia coli. Active SOD1 was expressed in a metal-dependent manner. To investigate the possible roles of genetic causes of ALS, a human Cu,Zn-SOD gene was fused with a gene fragment encoding the nine amino acid transactivator of transcription (Tat) protein transduction domain (RKKRRQRRR) of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 in a bacterial expression vector to produce a genetic in-frame Tat-SOD1 fusion protein. The expressed and purified Tat-SOD1 fusion proteins in E. coli can enter PC12 neural cells to observe the cellular consequences. Denatured Tat-SOD1 was successfully transduced into PC12 cells and retained its activity via protein refolding. Three point mutations, E21K, D90V, and D101G, were cloned by site-directed mutagenesis and showed lower SOD1 activity. In undifferentiated PC12 cells, wild-type Tat-SOD1 could prevent DNA fragmentation due to superoxide anion attacks generated by 35 mM paraquat, whereas mutant Tat-D101G enhanced cell death. Our results demonstrate that exogenous human Cu,Zn-SOD fused with Tat protein can be directly transduced into cells, and the delivered enzymatically active Tat-SOD exhibits a cellular protective function against oxidative stress.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Copper/zinc superoxide dismutase (Cu,Zn-SOD)
- Transactivator of transcription (Tat) protein
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- History and Philosophy of Science