Browsing by Subject "MANF"

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  • Valkonen, Konsta Valentin (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common adult-onset motoneuron disease. ALS is characterized by a progressive loss of upper and lower motoneurons, resulting in muscle atrophy, paralysis and ultimately in death. Approximately 30,000 people die of ALS annually. There is no cure for ALS, and only two drugs - riluzole and edavarone - have been approved for the treatment of the disease. The complex pathology of ALS contributes to the lack of effective treatments. Several cellular pathologies have been suggested to contribute to the pathogenesis, including ER stress, disruption of calcium homeostasis, oxidative stress and excitotoxicity. Here we describe the cytoprotective effects of C-terminal fragments of the novel proteins with neurotrophic factor properties MANF (mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor) and CDNF (cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor) on a toxin model of ALS in vitro. Unlike the classical neurotrophic factors, MANF and CDNF are predominantly localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and have been shown to alleviate ER stress by keeping the unfolded protein response (UPR) transducers inactive. ER stress is a major component in many neurodegenerative diseases, including ALS, and is a promising therapeutic target for MANF and CDNF. However, the potential of these proteins in ALS treatment remains to be insufficiently described. We used differentiated motoneuron-like NSC-34 cells treated with a range of toxins, modelling different cellular pathologies linked to ALS. After the toxin addition, we treated the cells with MANF and CDNF variants and riluzole and measured the cell viability. The toxin panel consists of tunicamycin, ionomycin and staurosporine. Tunicamycin causes cell death by activating proapoptotic branches of the UPR. Ionomycin is an ionophore and depletes the ER of calcium, thus inducing both UPR-dependent and UPR-independent apoptosis. Less is known about the mechanisms of staurosporine, but it has been shown to induce caspase-3-dependent apoptosis, increase intracellular calcium levels and cause oxidative stress. We hypothesized that both MANF and CDNF variants protect the cells against UPR-dependent apoptosis but not against UPR-independent cell death. We show that MANF and CDNF variants protect the cells against apoptosis induced by tunicamycin, ionomycin and staurosporine. Interestingly, the protein variants mediated the highest protection against ionomycin-induced stress, and they exhibited mild protective effects against staurosporine as well. These findings suggest that MANF and CDNF variants might have a role in maintaining intracellular calcium homeostasis. However, it is possible that staurosporine induces ER stress as well, which would explain the protection conferred by the protein variant. We report that the CDNF variant mediates higher protection at lower concentrations compared to the MANF variant in every toxin assay, whereas the MANF variant mediates higher protection at the highest tested concentration compared to the CDNF variant. We also show that the CDNF variant-mediated protection against staurosporine-induced stress peaked at lower concentrations, and the highest concentration provided distinctively lower, yet significant effect. These data lead us to hypothesize that the protein variants may have a slightly different mode of action, and that they might provide an additive effect when administered simultaneously. We tested a combination of MANF and CDNF variants in cells treated with tunicamycin, ionomycin and staurosporine. However, the combination treatment did not increase the viability more than MANF and CDNF variants independently did. The results answered our questions as well as raised new ones. In the future, the putative calcium-regulating effects of the protein variants should be investigated. The UPR-modifying effects of the drug candidates and toxins need to be assessed by quantifying changes in the UPR marker mRNA and protein expression levels. If it is revealed that the variants have a different mode of action, the possible additive protective effects must be assessed. Finally, a wider toxin panel is needed to fully explore the potential of MANF and CDNF variants in ALS treatment. This study demonstrates the potential of MANF and CDNF variants in protecting motoneurons against several pathological pathways contributing to ALS pathology. However, the mechanisms of action of the variants need further investigation to fully understood their therapeutic potential.
  • Pakarinen, Emmi; Lindholm, Paivi; Saarma, Mart; Lindahl, Maria (2022)
    Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) and mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) display cytoprotective effects in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases. These endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident proteins belong to the same protein family and function as ER stress regulators. The relationship between CDNF and MANF function, as well as their capability for functional compensation, is unknown. We aimed to investigate these questions by generating mice lacking both CDNF and MANF. Results showed that CDNF-deficient Manf(-/-) mice presented the same phenotypes of growth defect and diabetes as Manf(-/-) mice. In the muscle, CDNF deficiency resulted in increased activation of unfolded protein response (UPR), which was aggravated when MANF was ablated. In the brain, the combined loss of CDNF and MANF did not exacerbate UPR activation caused by the loss of MANF alone. Consequently, CDNF and MANF deficiency in the brain did not cause degeneration of dopamine neurons. In conclusion, CDNF and MANF present functional redundancy in the muscle, but not in the other tissues examined here. Thus, they regulate the UPR in a tissue-specific manner.
  • Huttunen, Henri J.; Saarma, Mart (2019)
    Neurotrophic factors (NTF) are a subgroup of growth factors that promote survival and differentiation of neurons. Due to their neuroprotective and neurorestorative properties, their therapeutic potential has been tested in various neurodegenerative diseases. Bioavailability of NTFs in the target tissue remains a major challenge for NTF-based therapies. Various intracerebral delivery approaches, both protein and gene transfer-based, have been tested with varying outcomes. Three growth factors, glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), neurturin (NRTN) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF-BB) have been tested in clinical trials in Parkinson?s Disease (PD) during the past 20 years. A new protein can now be added to this list, as cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) has recently entered clinical trials. Despite their misleading names, CDNF, together with its closest relative mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF), form a novel family of unconventional NTF that are both structurally and mechanistically distinct from other growth factors. CDNF and MANF are localized mainly to the lumen of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and their primary function appears to be modulation of the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway. Prolonged ER stress, via the UPR signaling pathways, contributes to the pathogenesis in a number of chronic degenerative diseases, and is an important target for therapeutic modulation. Intraputamenally administered recombinant human CDNF has shown robust neurorestorative effects in a number of small and large animal models of PD, and had a good safety profile in preclinical toxicology studies. Intermittent monthly bilateral intraputamenal infusions of CDNF are currently being tested in a randomized placebo-controlled phase I?II clinical study in moderately advanced PD patients. Here, we review the history of growth factor-based clinical trials in PD, and discuss how CDNF differs from the previously tested growth factors.
  • Almeida, Sérgio (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) and mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) form a novel neurotrophic factor family due to their unique structure and different mode of action when compared to classical neurotrophic factors. CDNF and MANF have shown to protect dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease animal models and therefore they are considered potential therapy agents. However, their target molecules, i.e., putative receptor(s) and signalling pathways are still unknown. 78 kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78) member of the heat shock protein (HSP) family is a major chaperone that under Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER) stress conditions is up-regulated and prevents protein aggregation as well as facilitates degradation of misfolded proteins. It locates mainly in the ER but location can change in different conditions. In cancer research, GRP78 has been found highly expressed on the surface of cancer cells where it regulates critical oncogenic signalling pathways. For example, it was recently shown that Par-4 (Prostate apoptosis response-4) induces apoptosis via activation of caspase-3 by binding to GRP78, expressed at the surface of cancer cells. GRP78 has been shown capable of relocating extracellularly also in neurons. Especially, it was recently shown that accumulating extracellular α-synuclein induces an increase in surface-exposed GRP78 in cultured neurons. α-synuclein interacts with cell surface GRP78 and activates a signalling cascade affecting the morphology and dynamics of actin cytoskeleton. Our group has recent, yet unpublished data suggesting that CDNF and MANF interact with GRP78 protein. The emerging role for GRP78 also in the neurodegeneration requests further investigation on its possible interaction with CDNF and MANF and on the biological meaning of that interaction. In order to test whether CDNF and MANF would interact with cell surface GRP78 and possibly compete with par-4 for the binding and in this way prevent apoptosis, we built a plasmid that would guide the expression and extracellular localization of GRP78 in the transfected cells. We transfected HEK293 cells with this plasmid and incubated them for 24h with two concentrations of par-4. We could see a trend of increasing apoptosis in PAR-4 –treated cells, but this was not enhanced in the cells expressing GRP78 extracellularly, as we had hypothesised. Thus we did not continue further with testing CDNF and MANF on this setting. Transfected HEK293 cells were incubated with alkaline phosphatase tagged MANF or CDNF (AP-MANF or AP-CDNF) and using the alkaline phosphatase substrate pNitrophenylphosphate (pNPP), we were able to study the binding between GRP78 and CDNF and MANF. Even though we could not prove the cell surface GRP78 interaction with MANF with this method, we show a high affinity binding between cell surface GRP78 and CDNF when transfected cells are incubated with different concentrations of AP-CDNF.
  • Lindahl, Maria; Chalazonitis, Alcmene; Palm, Erik; Pakarinen, Emmi; Danilova, Tatiana; Pham, Tuan D.; Setlik, Wanda; Rao, Meenakshi; Voikar, Vootele; Huotari, Jatta; Kopra, Jaakko; Andressoo, Jaan-Olle; Piepponen, Petteri T.; Airavaara, Mikko; Panhelainen, Anne; Gershon, Michael D.; Saarma, Mart (2020)
    Cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) is neuroprotective for nigrostriatal dopamine neurons and restores dopaminergic function in animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD). To understand the role of CDNF in mammals, we generated CDNF knockout mice (Cdnf(-/-)), which are viable, fertile, and have a normal life-span. Surprisingly, an age-dependent loss of enteric neurons occurs selectively in the submucosal but not in the myenteric plexus. This neuronal loss is a consequence not of increased apoptosis but of neurodegeneration and autophagy. Quantitatively, the neurodegeneration and autophagy found in the submucosal plexus in duodenum, ileum and colon of the Cdnf(-/-) mouse are much greater than in those of Cdnf(+/+) mice. The selective vulnerability of submucosal neurons to the absence of CDNF is reminiscent of the tendency of pathological abnormalities to occur in the submucosal plexus in biopsies of patients with PD. In contrast, the number of substantia nigra dopamine neurons and dopamine and its metabolite concentrations in the striatum are unaltered in Cdnf(-/-) mice; however, there is an age-dependent deficit in the function of the dopamine system in Cdnf(-/-) male mice analyzed. This is observed as D-amphetamine-induced hyperactivity, aberrant dopamine transporter function, and as increased D-amphetamine-induced dopamine release demonstrating that dopaminergic axon terminal function in the striatum of the Cdnf(-/-) mouse brain is altered. The deficiencies of Cdnf(-/-) mice, therefore, are reminiscent of those seen in early stages of Parkinson's disease.
  • Galli, Emilia; Lindholm, Päivi; Kontturi, Leena-Stiina; Saarma, Mart; Urtti, Arto; Yliperttula, Marjo (2019)
    Cerebral Dopamine Neurotrophic Factor (CDNF) shows beneficial effects in rodent models of Parkinson?s and Alzheimer?s disease. The brain is a challenging target for protein therapy due to its exclusive blood?brain barrier. Hence, the therapeutic protein should be delivered directly to the brain parenchyma. Implantation of encapsulated mammalian cells that constantly secrete CDNF is a potential approach for targeted and long-term protein delivery to the brain. In this study, we generated several CDNF-secreting cell clones derived from human retinal pigment epithelial cell line ARPE-19, and studied CDNF secretion from the clones maintained as monolayers and in polymeric microcapsules. The secretion of wild type (wt) CDNF transgene was low and the majority of the produced protein remained intracellular, locating mainly to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). The secretion of wtCDNF decreased to even lower levels when the clones were in a non-dividing state, as in the microcapsules. Both codon optimization and deletion of the putative ER-retrieval signal (four last amino acids: KTEL) improved CDNF secretion. More importantly, the secretion of KTEL-deleted CDNF remained constant in the non-dividing clones. Thus, cells expressing KTEL-deleted CDNF, in contrast to wtCDNF, can be considered for cell encapsulation applications if the KTEL-deleted CDNF is proven to be biologically active in vivo.
  • Huotarinen, Antti; Penttinen, Anna-Maija; Bäck, Susanne; Voutilainen, Merja H.; Julku, Ulrika; Piepponen, T. Petteri; Männistö, Pekka T.; Saarma, Mart; Tuominen, Raimo; Laakso, Aki; Airavaara, Mikko (2018)
    Several neurotrophic factors ( NTF) are shown to be neuroprotective and neurorestorative in pre-clinical animal models for Parkinson's disease ( PD), particularly in models where striatal dopamine neuron innervation partially exists. The results of clinical trials on late-stage patients have been modest. Subthalamic deep brain stimulation ( STN DBS) is a proven treatment for a selected group of advanced PD patients. The cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor ( CDNF) is a promising therapeutic protein, but its effects in animal models of late-stage PD have remained under-researched. The interactions of NTF and STN DBS treatments have not been studied before. We found that a nigral CDNF protein alone had only a marginal effect on the behavioral deficits in a late-stage hemiparkinsonian rat model ( 6-OHDA MFB). However, CDNF improved the effect of acute STN DBS on front limb use asymmetry at 2 and 3 weeks after CDNF injection. STN lesion-modeling chronic stimulation-had an additive effect in reducing front limb use in the cylinder test and apomorphine-induced rotation. The combination of CDNF and acute STN DBS had a favorable effect on striatal tyrosine hydroxylase. This study presents a novel additive beneficial effect of NTF and STN DBS, which might be explained by the interaction of DBS-induced endogenous NTFs and exogenously injected CDNF. SNpc can be reached via similar trajectories used in clinical STN DBS, and this interaction is an important area for future studies. (C) 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of IBRO. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
  • Sket, Tina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is caused by the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the ER, which leads to the activation of unfolded protein response (UPR) through three transmembrane protein sensors located in the ER membrane. The sensors correspond to three branches of the UPR, namely protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK), activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6), and inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1) branches. Upon ER stress, IRE1 dimerizes and oligomerizes, and its endonuclease domain is activated. It specifically targets X-box-binding protein 1 (XBP1) mRNA, from which a 26 nt intron is spliced. This allows a complete translation of spliced XBP1 mRNA into a functional protein that acts as a transcription factor. Together with the other pathways, the UPR leads to a decrease in the protein folding load by causing a reduction in the general level of protein translation, and by inducing the expression of protein folding machinery. However, if the UPR is activated continuously for a long time, the apoptotic pathway will be triggered, and the cell will die. ER stress and UPR are associated with various disorders, such as some types of cancer, diabetes, chronic inflammatory syndromes, and particularly neurodegeneration. For example, in Parkinson’s disease, it was suggested that prolonged ER stress induces the extensive apoptosis of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra pars compacta region of the midbrain. This hinders the normal functioning of the nigrostriatal pathway, and hence results in the progressive development of Parkinson’s motor symptoms. In order to study the regulation or IRE1 branch of the UPR, and to identify the ER-stress-modulating compounds, a human luciferase reporter cell line (XBP1-NLuc) was created in this work. The reporter was expressed when IRE1 splicing was activated, since the XBP1 intron fragment was fused to the Nano luciferase gene. The expression of the reporter was observed with luciferase assay at several time points during treatments. The treatments were done with ER stress inducers thapsigargin and tunicamycin, and with IRE1 inhibitors KIRA6 and 4μ8c, or the combination of those. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used to validate the expression of the reporter and to monitor the expression of the other branches of the UPR. Additionally, the oligomerization of IRE1 was observed with IRE1-GFP cell line that was treated identically to the XBP1-NLuc cell line, fixed, stained for nuclei, and imaged with fluorescent microscopy. After imaging, the IRE1-GFP clusters were analysed and quantified with CellProfiller and CellAnalyst softwares. Both cell lines were used to test the effect of neurotrophic factors CDNF, MANF, and MANF mutant isomers on the UPR with and without tunicamycin treatment. Collectively, the experiments confirmed that XBP1-NLuc cell line was created successfully and that it accurately reports IRE1 splicing activity. As expected, ER stress treatment increased the reporter expression, while IRE1 inhibitors decreased the expression of the reporter. qPCR revealed that the other observed UPR markers were activated as well upon thapsigargin treatment, however, they were not decreased with the treatment with IRE1 specific inhibitors. In line with XBP1-NLuc cell line, the IRE1-GFP cell line demonstrated an increased oligomerization of IRE1 upon ER stress induction. The KIRA6 inhibitor of IRE1, which prevents IRE1 oligomerization, decreased the formation of IRE1-GFP clusters. Additionally, the IRE1-endonuclease-activity inhibitor 4μ8c induced the formation of IRE1-GFP clusters. Curiously, the distribution of the intensity of IRE1-GFP clusters was bimodal and could point to two manners of IRE1 clustering and/or activation. Together, the experiments done with cells transfected with CDNF, MANF or MANF mutants, suggested that the tested neurotrophic factors decreased IRE1 oligomerization and its activation. However, there were substantial problems in the quantification of viable cells, which should be considered in the interpretation of these results. No significant difference among the tested neurotrophic factors was observed. In conclusion, the XBP1-NLuc reporter cell line provided a reliable reporter of IRE1 endonuclease activity, whose expression is increased during the ER stress. Together with IRE1-GFP cell line, it revealed the amount of IRE1 oligomerization and activation under various treatments and at different time points relative to treatments. Due to the effectiveness and accuracy, the XBP1-NLuc cell line can be further used in studying the regulation and activation of IRE1, as well as for the identification of ER-stress modulating molecules, which can be used for development of novel treatments for ER stress associated diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.
  • Walkowicz, Lucyna; Kijak, Ewelina; Krzeptowski, Wojciech; Gorska-Andrzejak, Jolanta; Stratoulias, Vassilis; Woznicka, Olga; Chwastek, Elzbieta; Heino, Tapio I.; Pyza, Elzbieta M. (2017)
    In Drosophila melanogaster, mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor(DmMANF) is an evolutionarily conserved ortholog of mammalian MANF and cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF), which have been shown to promote the survival of dopaminergic neurons in the brain. We observed especially high levels of DmMANF in the visual system of Drosophil a, particularly in the first optic neuropil (lamina). In the lamina, DmMANF was found in glial cells (surface and epithelial glia), photoreceptors and interneurons. Interestingly, silencing of DmMANF in all neurons or specifically in photoreceptors or L2 interneurons had no impact on the structure of the visual system. However, downregulation of DmMANF in glial cells induced degeneration of the lamina. Remarkably, this degeneration in the form of holes and/or tightly packed membranes was observed only in the lamina epithelial glial cells. Those membranes seem to originate from the endoplasmic reticulum, which forms autophagosome membranes. Moreover, capitate projections, the epithelial glia invaginations into photoreceptor terminals that are involved in recycling of the photoreceptor neurotransmitter histamine, were less numerous after DmMANF silencing either in neurons or glial cells. The distribution of the alpha subunit of Na+/K+-ATPase protein in the lamina cell membranes was also changed. At the behavioral level, silencing of DmMANF either in neurons or glial cells affected the daily activity/sleep pattern, and flies showed less activity during the day but higher activity during the night than did controls. In the case of silencing in glia, the lifespan of flies was also shortened. The obtained results showed that DmMANF regulates many functions in the brain, particularly those dependent on glial cells.
  • Singh, Abhishek (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Neurotrophic factors (NTFs) play an important role in regulating the survival, differentiation and maturation of developing neurons. Based on strong pre-clinical evidences, some of NTFs have been suggested to be efficient therapeutic agents for treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD). PD is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by loss of dopamine (DA) neurons from nigrostriatal pathway resulting in motor symptoms of the disease. A hallmark of the disease is the presence of Lewy bodies in the brain and they comprise majorly of aggregated alpha-synuclein (aSyn) protein. MANF, an unconventional NTF, was discovered over a decade ago and differs from traditional NTFs. Removal of MANF has been shown to trigger unfolded protein response in cells. Evidences indicate that increased endogenous level of aSyn may have a role in enhancing the process of aggregation of aSyn into Lewy body. Determining the initiation event of aSyn aggregation is an important step in Lewy body pathology and it is still under investigation. In the first part of this study, I aimed to elucidate if MANF knockout can trigger any change in endogenous level of aSyn. Transmission of Lewy bodies from cell to cell has been well studied by researchers and is suggested to spread across brain in a prion like fashion. CDNF has been neuroprotective and restorative for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons in a toxin-based models of PD. However, presently exists no study which has evaluated the effects of CDNF on propagation of aSyn aggregates in vivo. In the second part of this study, I aimed at evaluating effects of long-term intrastriatal infusion of CDNF at two concentrations (1.5 μg/24h or 3 μg/24h) on propagation of endogenous phosphorylated aSyn inclusions in vivo. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated MANF knockout in SH-SY5Y cells did not yield any significant changes in the endogenous level of aSyn. Additionally, brain samples derived from MANF knockout mice yielded similar non-significant difference in level of aSyn compared to wild-type mice. MANF knockout primary DA neurons when inoculated either with only pre-formed fibrils (PFFs) or with a combination of PFFs and aSyn overexpression, showed no significant difference in the number of Lewy body like aggregates, suggesting no change in endogenous aSyn levels. Rats were injected with PFFs and then chronically infused with CDNF, 1 month and 2 months after PFFs at 2 different concentrations (1.5 μg/24h or 3 μg/24h). Immunohistochemical analysis of substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) derived from rats showed similar numbers of endogenous phosphorylated aSyn inclusions in animals treated chronically with either CDNF or PBS. In summary, only MANF knockout from cells or animals has no direct effect on endogenous level of aSyn. But external stressors may perhaps trigger upregulation of aSyn in MANF knockout cells. Furthermore, chronic infusion of CDNF either 1 month or 2 months after PFF injection doesn’t reduce the total number of phosphorylated aSyn inclusions in SNpc compared to control. Nevertheless, we need more data to corroborate this evidence.
  • Poyhonen, Suvi; Er, Safak; Domanskyi, Andrii; Airavaara, Mikko (2019)
    Astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and microglia are abundant cell types found in the central nervous system and have been shown to play crucial roles in regulating both normal and disease states. An increasing amount of evidence points to the critical importance of glia in mediating neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases (AD, PD), and in ischemic stroke, where microglia are involved in initial tissue clearance, and astrocytes in the subsequent formation of a glial scar. The importance of these cells for neuronal survival has previously been studied in co-culture experiments and the search for neurotrophic factors (NTFs) initiated after finding that the addition of conditioned media from astrocyte cultures could support the survival of primary neurons in vitro. This led to the discovery of the potent dopamine neurotrophic factor, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). In this review, we focus on the relationship between glia and NTFs including neurotrophins, GDNF-family ligands, CNTF family, and CDNF/MANF-family proteins. We describe their expression in astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and their precursors (NG2-positive cells, OPCs), and microglia during development and in the adult brain. Furthermore, we review existing data on the glial phenotypes of NTF knockout mice and follow NTF expression patterns and their effects on glia in disease models such as AD, PD, stroke, and retinal degeneration.
  • Danilova, Tatiana; Lindahl, Maria (2018)
    Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) was originally identified as a secreted trophic factor for dopamine neurons in vitro. It protects and restores damaged cells in rodent models of Parkinson's disease, brain and heart ischemia, spinocerebellar ataxia and retina in vivo. However, its exact mechanism of action is not known. MANF is widely expressed in most human and mouse organs with high levels in secretory tissues. Intracellularly, MANF localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and ER stress increases it's expression in cells and tissues. Furthermore, increased MANF levels has been detected in the sera of young children with newly diagnosed Type 1 (T1D) diabetes and Type 2 (T2D) diabetic patients. ER stress is caused by the accumulation of misfolded and aggregated proteins in the ER. It activates a cellular defense mechanism, the unfolded protein response (UPR), a signaling cascade trying to restore ER homeostasis. However, if prolonged, unresolved ER stress leads to apoptosis. Unresolved ER stress contributes to the progressive death of pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells in both T1D and T2D. Diabetes mellitus is characterized by hyperglycemia, caused by the inability of the beta cells to maintain sufficient levels of circulating insulin. The current medications, insulin and antidiabetic drugs, alleviate diabetic symptoms but cannot reconstitute physiological insulin secretion which increases the risk of devastating vascular complications of the disease. Thus, one of the main strategies in improving current diabetes therapy is to define and validate novel approaches to protect beta cells from stress as well as activate their regeneration. Embryonic deletion of the Manf gene in mice led to gradual postnatal development of insulin-deficient diabetes caused by reduced beta cell proliferation and increased beta cell death due to increased and sustained ER stress. In vitro, recombinant MANF partly protected mouse and human beta cells from ER stress-induced beta cell death and potentiated mouse and human beta cell proliferation. Importantly, in vivo overexpression of MANF in the pancreas of T1D mice led to increased beta cell proliferation and decreased beta cell death, suggesting that MANF could be a new therapeutic candidate for beta cell protection and regeneration in diabetes.
  • Li, Mingchen (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive chronic neurodegenerative disorder, which results in the selective loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). The loss of these neurons results in the dysfunction of the nigrostriatal pathway bringing forth the characteristic motor symptoms seen in PD: postural instability, rigidity, slowness of movement and resting tremors. Non-motor symptoms, such as cognitive deficits, depression and impaired olfaction, typically emerge before motor symptoms. Currently available treatments only provide symptomatic relief with diminishing returns over time and no improvements on the overall outcome of the disease. Neurotrophic factors (NTF) have been of particular interest as a possible curative treatment for PD due to their potential for neuroprotection and neurorestoration. Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) is an NTF that has shown promising results in numerous in vitro and in vivo studies of PD. However, therapy with MANF and other NTFs involves surgical intervention for local administration, as NTFs cannot cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Therefore, the therapeutic potential of a systemically administered NTF would be tremendous, as it would lead to a significantly more favorable risk-benefit ratio for the patient. The aim of the current investigation is to evaluate the efficacy of a next generation variant of MANF in the 6-hydroxydopamine toxin-induced unilateral lesion rat model of PD. Prior in vivo results suggested that subcutaneously injected MANF variant is able to penetrate the BBB. Amphetamine-induced rotational behavior (AMPH-ROTO) was used to evaluate the severity of the unilateral lesions during the experiment every other week until the end of the experiment at week eight. Animals were divided into treatment groups during week two based on their AMPH-ROTO results. Animals received MANF variant either subcutaneously through an implanted osmotic minipump at two different dosages or as a single dose divided into three separate intrastriatal injections. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunohistochemical staining was performed on brain sections collected from the striatum and SN for data analysis. In addition to AMPH-ROTO results, the efficacy of treatment was determined via the optical density of TH-positive striatal fibers and the number of TH-positive cells in the SN. Statistically significant differences (defined by p < 0.05 and a non-zero mean difference at a 95 % confidence interval) were observed only in the number of TH-positive cells in the SN favoring intrastriatal MANF variant treatment over both intrastriatal MANF and the vehicle treatment. The main concern regarding the validity of the results was related to the heterogeneous lesion sizes in different treatment groups possibly resulting in unsuccessful randomization due to excessive baseline differences. The inadvertent negative effects of this was further exacerbated by low a priori statistical power, which in the end had likely caused inflated effect sizes. Thus, assessment of the definitions of the used statistical parameters and the limitations of the experimental design suggest that presently, the efficacy of the MANF variant could not be evaluated reliably, in spite of the statistically significant result.
  • Renko, Juho-Matti (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    Review of the literature: The purpose of the review is to go through what is known about mechanisms of actions of different neurotrophic factors (GDNF, neurturin, CDNF and MANF) and how they are transported within the brain. Neurotrophic factors are endogenous and secreted proteins which have a pivotal role in the development and maintenance of neurons. They support the survival of neurons and they can help them to recover from different injuries. Due to these functions neurotrophic factors might be beneficial for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's disease. There are a great deal of studies that clearly show the neuroprotective and neurorestrorative function of GDNF and neurturin on dopaminergic neurons. They are also studied in clinical studies with Parkinson's patients but the results have been partly contradictory. The signalling route of GDNF and neurturin via RET tyrosinekinasereceptor is fairly well known but the other mechanisms of action of these factors needs to be studied further. CDNF and MANF constitute a novel, evolutionarily conserved family of neurotrophic factors. They are shown to have neuroprotective and neurorestrorative actions on dopaminergic neurons both in vitro and in vivo in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease. The mechanisms of action of CDNF and MANF are not quite clear at the moment. There are two different domains in their structure both of which are likely to carry different functions. The N-terminal domains of these proteins are close to saposins, lipid and membrane binding proteins, some of which are shown to have neurotrophic and anti-apoptotic effects. The C-terminal domain of MANF, in turn, is structurally close to the SAP-domain of Ku70-protein which binds Bax in the cytoplasm and thus inhibits apoptosis mediated by Bax. CDNF and MANF might protect neurons both via intracellular mechanisms and extracellularly acting like a secreted neurotrophic factor. CDNF and GDNF are transported retrogradially from striatum to substantia nigra. MANF, unlike the others, is transported from striatum to the frontal cortex. MANF and CDNF are shown to have better diffusion properties in the brain parenchyma than GDNF. Experimental part: We studied, by means of microdialysis, the effects of CDNF, MANF and GDNF on the dopaminergic neurotransmission of naive rats within the striatum. Neurotrophic factors (10 µg) and PBS as a negative control were injected into the left striatum in stereotaxic surgery. After this rats recovered one week before the first mircodialysis. The second mircodialysis was performed three weeks after the surgery. The samples were collected from the left striatum of freely moving rats. During the microdialysis neurotransmission was stimulated by replacing the perfusion solution with hypertonic potassium solution and with amphetamine solution. The concentration of dopamine, DOPAC, HVA and 5-HIAA was measured from the dialysate samples. In vivo TH-activity experiment was carried out for three rats in each group. NSD1015 was injected i.p.after which rats were decapitated and their striatums were dissected. The concentration of L-DOPA, dopamine and metabolites on the treated and untreated hemisphere were analyzed from the tissue samples. The amount of L-DOPA in the striatum after NSD1015-treatment indicates how active TH-enzyme is. There were no significant differences in the concentrations of dopamine and metabolites during the baseline. MANF and CDNF increased the release of dopamine from the nerve terminals compared to GDNF and PBS one week after the surgery. Three weeks after the surgery there was still significant increase in the release of dopamine in MANF group compared to GDNF group. Also the dopamine-DOPAC-turnover was increased significantly in MANF group compared to GDNF and PBS groups one week after the surgery. DOPAC/HVA -ratio was significantly smaller in GDNF group than in other groups one week after the surgery. These findings suggest that MANF potentiates dopaminergic neurotransmission most drasticly. The effects of MANF seem to last longer time than the effects of other neurotrophic factors. CDNF seems to increase the release of dopamine from the nerve terminals as well. The potentiation of dopaminergic neurotransmission could be due to increased biosynthesis of dopamine or due to the potentiation of the function of nerve terminals. In the results of the TH-activity experiment there was a trend according to which L-DOPA is synthesized less after the neurotrophic factor treatment that after the PBS treatment. This suggests that neurotrophic factors might decrease the activity of TH-enzyme.
  • Konovalova, Julia; Gerasymchuk, Dmytro; Arroyo, Sergio Navarette; Kluske, Sven; Mastroianni, Francesca; Pereyra, Alba Vargas; Domanskyi, Andrii (2021)
    Mesencephalic astrocyte derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) and cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) are novel evolutionary conserved trophic factors, which exhibit cytoprotective activity via negative regulation of unfolded protein response (UPR) and inflammation. Despite multiple reports demonstrating detrimental effect of MANF/CDNF downregulation, little is known about the control of their expression. miRNAs-small non-coding RNAs-are important regulators of gene expression. Their dysregulation was demonstrated in multiple pathological processes and their ability to modulate levels of other neurotrophic factors, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), was previously reported. Here, for the first time we demonstrated direct regulation of MANF and CDNF by miRNAs. Using bioinformatic tools, reporter assay and analysis of endogenous MANF and CDNF, we identified that miR-144 controls MANF expression, and miR-134 and miR-141 downregulate CDNF levels. We also demonstrated that this effect is human-specific and is executed via predicted binding sites of corresponding miRNAs. Finally, we found that miR-382 suppressed hCDNF expression indirectly. In conclusion, we demonstrate for the first time direct regulation of MANF and CDNF expression by specific miRNAs, despite the fact their binding sites are not strongly evolutionary conserved. Furthermore, we demonstrate a functional effect of miR-144 mediated regulation of MANF on ER stress response markers. These findings emphasize that (1) prediction of miRNA targets based on evolutionary conservation may miss biologically meaningful regulatory pairs; and (2) interpretation of miRNA regulatory effects in animal models should be cautiously validated.
  • Lindstrom, Riitta; Lindholm, Paivi; Palgi, Mari; Saarma, Mart; Heino, Tapio I. (2017)
    Background: Mesencephalic Astrocyte-derived Neurotrophic Factor (MANF) and Cerebral Dopamine Neurotrophic Factor (CDNF) form an evolutionarily conserved family of neurotrophic factors. Orthologues for MANF/CDNF are the only neurotrophic factors as yet identified in invertebrates with conserved amino acid sequence. Previous studies indicate that mammalian MANF and CDNF support and protect brain dopaminergic system in non-cell-autonomous manner. However, MANF has also been shown to function intracellularly in the endoplasmic reticulum. To date, the knowledge on the interacting partners of MANF/CDNF and signaling pathways they activate is rudimentary. Here, we have employed the Drosophila genetics to screen for potential interaction partners of Drosophila Manf (DmManf) in vivo. Results: We first show that DmManf plays a role in the development of Drosophila wing. We exploited this function by using Drosophila UAS-RNAi lines and discovered novel genetic interactions of DmManf with genes known to function in the mitochondria. We also found evidence of an interaction between DmManf and the Drosophila homologue encoding Ku70, the closest structural homologue of SAP domain of mammalian MANF. Conclusions: In addition to the previously known functions of MANF/CDNF protein family, DmManf also interacts with mitochondria-related genes. Our data supports the functional importance of these evolutionarily significant proteins and provides new insights for the future studies.
  • Lindström, Riitta; Lindholm, Päivi; Palgi, Mari; Saarma, Mart; Heino, Tapio I (BioMed Central, 2017)
    Abstract Background Mesencephalic Astrocyte-derived Neurotrophic Factor (MANF) and Cerebral Dopamine Neurotrophic Factor (CDNF) form an evolutionarily conserved family of neurotrophic factors. Orthologues for MANF/CDNF are the only neurotrophic factors as yet identified in invertebrates with conserved amino acid sequence. Previous studies indicate that mammalian MANF and CDNF support and protect brain dopaminergic system in non-cell-autonomous manner. However, MANF has also been shown to function intracellularly in the endoplasmic reticulum. To date, the knowledge on the interacting partners of MANF/CDNF and signaling pathways they activate is rudimentary. Here, we have employed the Drosophila genetics to screen for potential interaction partners of Drosophila Manf (DmManf) in vivo. Results We first show that DmManf plays a role in the development of Drosophila wing. We exploited this function by using Drosophila UAS-RNAi lines and discovered novel genetic interactions of DmManf with genes known to function in the mitochondria. We also found evidence of an interaction between DmManf and the Drosophila homologue encoding Ku70, the closest structural homologue of SAP domain of mammalian MANF. Conclusions In addition to the previously known functions of MANF/CDNF protein family, DmManf also interacts with mitochondria-related genes. Our data supports the functional importance of these evolutionarily significant proteins and provides new insights for the future studies.
  • Galli, Emilia; Harkonen, Taina; Sainio, Markus; Ustav, Mart; Toots, Urve; Urtti, Arto; Yliperttula, Marjo; Lindahl, Maria; Knip, Mikael; Saarma, Mart; Lindholm, Paivi (2016)
    Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) was recently shown to be essential for the survival and proliferation of pancreatic beta-cells in mice, where deletion of MANF resulted in diabetes. The current study aimed at determining whether the concentration of circulating MANF is associated with the clinical manifestation of human type 1 diabetes (T1D). MANF expression in T1D or MANF levels in serum have not been previously studied. We developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for MANF and measured serum MANF concentrations from 186 newly diagnosed children and adolescents and 20 adults with longer-term T1D alongside with age-matched controls. In healthy controls the mean serum MANF concentration was 7.0 ng/ml. High MANF concentrations were found in children 1-9 years of age close to the diagnosis of T1D. The increased MANF concentrations were not associated with diabetes-predictive autoantibodies and autoantibodies against MANF were extremely rare. Patients with conspicuously high MANF serum concentrations had lower C-peptide levels compared to patients with moderate MANF concentrations. Our data indicate that increased MANF concentrations in serum are associated with the clinical manifestation of T1D in children, but the exact mechanism behind the increase remains elusive.
  • Galli, Emilia; Planken, Anu; Kadastik-Eerme, Liis; Saarma, Mart; Taba, Pille; Lindholm, Päivi (2019)
    Background: Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) and cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) promote the survival of midbrain dopamine neurons in animal models of Parkinson's disease (PD). However, little is known about endogenous concentrations of MANF and CDNF in human PD patients, and their relation to PD pathogenesis. Our main objective was to study whether circulating concentrations of MANF and CDNF differ between PD patients and controls, and if they correlate with clinical parameters. Levels of circulating CDNF were studied for the first time. Methods: MANF and CDNF levels were measured from serum samples of 34 PD patients and 35 controls using validated in-lab-designed enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISAs). MANF and CDNF mRNA levels in whole blood samples of 60 PD patients and 30 controls were measured by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). MANF concentrations in different blood cell types were measured by ELISA. Results: Circulating MANF concentrations were significantly higher in PD patients compared to controls (P <0.001) and were positively correlated with Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) depression rating. MANF protein was present in blood cells, however, MANF mRNA levels in the blood did not differ between PD patients and controls (P = 0.44). The mean concentration of serum CDNF was 33 pg/ml in the controls. CDNF levels were not altered in PD patients (P = 0.25). Conclusion: MANF but not CDNF level was increased in the blood of PD patients. It would be interesting to examine the blood level of MANF from early stage PD patients in future studies to test whether MANF can be used as a clinical marker of PD.
  • Pakarinen, Emmi; Danilova, Tatiana; Voikar, Vootele; Chmielarz, Piotr; Piepponen, Petteri; Airavaara, Mikko; Saarma, Mart; Lindahl, Maria (2020)
    Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) localized protein that regulates ER homeostasis and unfolded protein response (UPR). The biology of endogenous MANF in the mammalian brain is unknown and therefore we studied the brain phenotype of MANF-deficient female and male mice at different ages focusing on the midbrain dopamine system and cortical neurons. We show that a lack of MANF from the brain led to the chronic activation of UPR by upregulation of the endoribonuclease activity of the inositol-requiring enzyme 1 alpha (IRE1 alpha) pathway. Furthermore, in the aged MANF-deficient mouse brain in addition the protein kinase-like ER kinase (PERK) and activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6) branches of the UPR pathways were activated. Neuronal loss in neurodegenerative diseases has been associated with chronic ER stress. In our mouse model, increased UPR activation did not lead to neuronal cell loss in the substantia nigra (SN), decrease of striatal dopamine or behavioral changes of MANF-deficient mice. However, cortical neurons lacking MANF were more vulnerable to chemical induction of additional ER stress in vitro. We conclude that embryonic neuronal deletion of MANF does not cause the loss of midbrain dopamine neurons in mice. However, endogenous MANF is needed for maintenance of neuronal ER homeostasis both in vivo and in vitro.