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Role of Mesencephalic Astrocyte-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Cellular Antioxidant Defense and Mitochondrial Respiration

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Title: Role of Mesencephalic Astrocyte-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Cellular Antioxidant Defense and Mitochondrial Respiration
Author(s): Sandelin, Amanda
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine
Degree program: Master's Programme in Translational Medicine
Specialisation: Neuroscience and psychobiology
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2022
Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) is an evolutionarily conserved protein with pleiotropic therapeutic effects in several disease models, including Parkinson’s disease (PD), diabetes and stroke. PD is characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta and many GWAS-based genes predisposing for PD are involved in oxidative stress. MANF has been shown to alleviate oxidative stress in PD models, however, the role of MANF in the antioxidant defense and mitochondrial respiration is not fully understood. By performing bulk RNA sequencing on wildtype and MANF knockout (MANF-KO) human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), we uncovered several genes involved in antioxidant defense to be up- or downregulated in MANF-KO hESC. Here we report that MANF-KO hESCs do not express the evolutionary conserved antioxidant enzyme catalase. We show that the loss of catalase makes the MANF-KO hESCs more vulnerable to hydrogen peroxide indued oxidative stress, and that MANF-KO hESCs have a reduced maximal respiration and spare respiratory capacity. Additionally, we examined if the loss of catalase in MANF-KO hESCs inhibits the differentiation of the cells to human dopaminergic neurons in vitro. We show that MANF-KO hESCs differentiate to TH+/MAP2+ cells despite a sustained deficiency of catalase, but the MANF-KO DA cultures tend to have a reduced spare respiratory capacity and higher basal glycolytic activity. To elucidate the structure-to-function relationship of MANF we utilize molecular dynamics simulations in combination with spin relaxation data from nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. By examining the two-domain nature of MANF in different intracellular conditions we provide insight of the biological relevance of MANF interactions. Here we show that MANF conformational ensemble is more compact than previously reported. By simulating MANF in the presence of calcium and ATP, in neutral and low pH, we observed competitive binding of ATP and calcium to MANF. This study provides novel evidence of a regulatory role of MANF in the cellular antioxidant defense and explores the biological relevance of ATP and calcium binding to MANF.
Keyword(s): MANF catalase MD NMR stem cells dopaminergic neurons bioenergetics

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