Accumulation of DNA damage has been detected in the spinal cord of patients as well as in the G93A mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Wild-type p53-induced phosphatase 1 (Wip1) is a p53-inducible serine/threonine phosphatase that terminates DNA-damage responses via dephosphorylation of DNA-damage response proteins, namely ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase, checkpoint kinase 2, and p53, thus enhancing cell proliferation. However, the role of Wip1, DNA-damage responses, and their interaction in ALS development remains to be elucidated. Here, we showed that Wip1 expression levels were substantially decreased in ALS motor neurons compared with wild-type controls both in vivo and in vitro. The DNA-damage response was activated in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) G93A-transfected cells. However, increased expression of Wip1 improved cell viability and inhibited the DNA-damage response in mutated SOD1G93A cells. Further studies demonstrated that decreased Wip1 expression reduced cell viability and further activated the DNA-damage response in chronic H2O2-treated NSC34 cells. In contrast, Wip1 promoted cell survival and suppressed DNA damage-induced apoptosis during persistent DNA damage conditions. Over-expression of Wip1 in the central nervous system (CNS) can delay the onset of disease symptoms, extended the survival, decreased MN loss improved motor function and inhibit the DNA-damage response in SOD1 G93A mice. Furthermore, homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) promoted the degradation of Wip1 via the ubiquitin-proteasome system during chronic stress. These findings indicate that persistent accumulation of DNA damage and subsequent chronic activation of the downstream DNA damage-response ATM and p53 pro-apoptotic signaling pathways may trigger neuronal dysfunction and neuronal death in ALS. Wip1 may play a protective role by targeting the DNA-damage response in ALS motor neurons. Importantly, these findings provide a novel direction for therapeutic options for patients with ALS.
Yang, Y. Q., Zheng, Y. H., Zhang, C. T., Liang, W. W., Wang, S. Y., Wang, X. D., … Feng, H. L. (2020). Wild-type p53-induced phosphatase 1 down-regulation promotes apoptosis by activating the DNA damage-response pathway in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Neurobiology of Disease, 134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2019.104648