GSK3ß-dependent dysregulation of neurodevelopment in SPG11-patient induced pluripotent stem cell model

Ann Neurol. 2016 May;79(5):826-840. doi: 10.1002/ana.24633.


Objective: Mutations in the spastic paraplegia gene 11 (SPG11), encoding spatacsin, cause the most frequent form of autosomal-recessive complex hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) and juvenile-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS5). When SPG11 is mutated, patients frequently present with spastic paraparesis, a thin corpus callosum, and cognitive impairment. We previously delineated a neurodegenerative phenotype in neurons of these patients. In the current study, we recapitulated early developmental phenotypes of SPG11 and outlined their cellular and molecular mechanisms in patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cortical neural progenitor cells (NPCs).

Methods: We generated and characterized iPSC-derived NPCs and neurons from 3 SPG11 patients and 2 age-matched controls.

Results: Gene expression profiling of SPG11-NPCs revealed widespread transcriptional alterations in neurodevelopmental pathways. These include changes in cell-cycle, neurogenesis, cortical development pathways, in addition to autophagic deficits. More important, the GSK3ß-signaling pathway was found to be dysregulated in SPG11-NPCs. Impaired proliferation of SPG11-NPCs resulted in a significant diminution in the number of neural cells. The decrease in mitotically active SPG11-NPCs was rescued by GSK3 modulation.

Interpretation: This iPSC-derived NPC model provides the first evidence for an early neurodevelopmental phenotype in SPG11, with GSK3ß as a potential novel target to reverse the disease phenotype. Ann Neurol 2016;79:826-840.