A high priority in the prion field is to identify pre-symptomatic events and associated profile of molecular changes. In this study, we demonstrate the pre-symptomatic dysregulation of cytoskeleton assembly and its associated cofilin-1 pathway in strain and brain region-specific manners in MM1 and VV2 subtype-specific Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease at clinical and pre-clinical stage. At physiological level, PrPC interaction with cofilin-1 and phosphorylated form of cofilin (p-cofilin(Ser3)) was investigated in primary cultures of mouse cortex neurons (PCNs) of PrPC wild-type and knockout mice (PrP-/-). Short-interfering RNA downregulation of active form of cofilin-1 resulted in the redistribution/downregulation of PrPC, increase of activated form of microglia, accumulation of dense form of F-actin, and upregulation of p-cofilin(Ser3). This upregulated p-cofilin(Ser3) showed redistribution of expression predominantly in the activated form of microglia in PCNs. At pathological level, cofilin-1 expression was significantly altered in cortex and cerebellum in both humans and mice at pre-clinical stage and at early symptomatic clinical stage of the disease. Further, to better understand the possible mechanism of dysregulation of cofilin-1, we also demonstrated alterations in upstream regulators; LIM kinase isoform 1 (LIMK1), slingshot phosphatase isoform 1 (SSH1), RhoA-associated kinase (Rock2), and amyloid precursor protein (APP) in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease MM1 mice and in human MM1 and VV2 frontal cortex and cerebellum samples. In conclusion, our findings demonstrated for the first time a key pre-clinical response of cofilin-1 and the associated pathway in prion disease.
Keywords: APP; Actin; CJD; Cerebellum; Cofilin; Cortex; LIMK; MM1; Microglia; Prion protein; Rock; SSH1; VV2.