CMT-associated mutations in glycyl- and tyrosyl-tRNA synthetases exhibit similar pattern of toxicity and share common genetic modifiers in Drosophila
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
San Diego, Calif.
Neurobiology of disease. - San Diego, Calif.
, p. 180-189
University of Antwerp
Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are ubiquitously expressed proteins that charge tRNAs with their cognate amino acids. By ensuring the fidelity of protein synthesis, these enzymes are essential for the viability of every cell. Yet, mutations in six tRNA synthetases specifically affect the peripheral nerves and cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. The CMT-causing mutations in tyrosyl- and glycyl-tRNA synthetases (YARS and GARS, respectively) alter the activity of the proteins in a range of ways (some mutations do not impact charging function, while others abrogate it), making a loss of function in tRNA charging unlikely to be the cause of disease pathology. It is currently unknown which cellular mechanisms are triggered by the mutant enzymes and how this leads to neurodegeneration. Here, by expressing two pathogenic mutations (G240R, P234KY) in Drosophila, we generated a model for GARS-associated neuropathy. We observed compromised viability, and behavioral, electrophysiological and morphological impairment in flies expressing the cytoplasmic isoform of mutant GARS. Their features recapitulated several hallmarks of CMT pathophysiology and were similar to the phenotypes identified in our previously described Drosophila model of YARS-associated neuropathy. Furthermore, CG8316 and CG15599 - genes identified in a retinal degeneration screen to modify mutant YAKS, also modified the mutant GARS phenotypes. Our study presents genetic evidence for common mutant-specific interactions between two CMT-associated aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, lending support for a shared mechanism responsible for the synthetase-induced peripheral neuropathies. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.