Ubiquitous expression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-causing mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) provokes noncell autonomous paralytic disease. By combining ribosome affinity purification and high-throughput sequencing, a cascade of mutant SOD1-dependent, cell type-specific changes are now identified. Initial mutant-dependent damage is restricted to motor neurons and includes synapse and metabolic abnormalities, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and selective activation of the PRKR-like ER kinase (PERK) arm of the unfolded protein response. PERK activation correlates with what we identify as a naturally low level of ER chaperones in motor neurons. Early changes in astrocytes occur in genes that are involved in inflammation and metabolism and are targets of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor and liver X receptor transcription factors. Dysregulation of myelination and lipid signaling pathways and activation of ETS transcription factors occur in oligodendrocytes only after disease initiation. Thus, pathogenesis involves a temporal cascade of cell type-selective damage initiating in motor neurons, with subsequent damage within glia driving disease propagation.
Keywords: ALS; RNA profiling; SOD1; bacTRAP; cell type selective toxicity.