Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the most common motor neuron disease, usually occurs in middle-aged people. However, the molecular basis of age-related cumulative stress in ALS pathogenesis remains elusive. Here, we found that mice deficient in NPGPx (GPx7), an oxidative stress sensor, develop ALS-like phenotypes, including paralysis, muscle denervation, and motor neurons loss. Unlike normal spinal motor neurons that exhibit elevated O-GlcNAcylation against age-dependent oxidative stress, NPGPx-deficient spinal motor neurons fail to boost O-GlcNAcylation and exacerbate ROS accumulation, leading to cell death. Mechanistically, stress-activated NPGPx inhibits O-GlcNAcase (OGA) through disulfide bonding to fine-tune global O-GlcNAcylation. Pharmacological inhibition of OGA rescues spinal motor neuron loss in aged NPGPx-deficient mice. Furthermore, expression of NPGPx in ALS patients is significantly lower than in unaffected adults. These results suggest that NPGPx modulates O-GlcNAcylation by inhibiting OGA to cope with age-dependent oxidative stress and protect motor neurons from degeneration, providing a potential therapeutic axis for ALS. Hsieh et al. uncover an adaptive mechanism mediated by NPGPx in modulating O-GlcNAcylation to cope with chronic oxidative stress in aging. Stress-activated NPGPx restrains OGA activity through disulfide bonding and elevates O-GlcNAcylation to protect motor neurons from degeneration.
- motor neuron
- oxidative stress
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)