Fragmentation of the Golgi apparatus in neurodegenerative diseases and cell death

J Neurol Sci. 2006 Jul 15;246(1-2):21-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2006.01.019. Epub 2006 Mar 20.


Fragmentation of the neuronal Golgi apparatus (GA) was reported in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), corticobasal degeneration, Alzheimer's and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease, and in spinocerebelar ataxia type 2 (SCA2). In transgenic mice expressing the G93A mutant of Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) of familial ALS (fALS), fragmentation of the GA of spinal cord motor neurons and aggregation of mutant protein were detected months before the onset of paralysis. Moreover, cells that expressed the G93A and G85R mutants of SOD1 showed fragmentation of the GA and decreased viability without apoptosis. We summarize here mechanisms involved in Golgi fragmentation implicating: (a) the dysregulation by mutant SOD1of the microtubule-destabilizing protein Stathmin, (b) the disruption by mutant SOD1of the neuronal cytoplasmic dynein, (c) the coprecipitation of mutant SOD1 with Hsp25 and Hsp27, (d) the reduction of detyrosinated microtubules by aggregated tau which resulted in non-apoptotic cell death and (e) the disruption by mutant growth hormone of the trafficking from the rough endoplasmic reticulum to the GA. The data indicate that neuronal Golgi fragmentation is an early and probably irreversible lesion in neurodegeneration, caused by a variety of mechanisms. Golgi fragmentation is not secondary to apoptosis but it may "trigger" apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Death
  • Golgi Apparatus / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology*
  • Organelles / pathology


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins