Pantothenate kinase (PanK) is the first enzyme in the coenzyme A (CoA) biosynthetic pathway. The differential expression of the four-active mammalian PanK isoforms regulates CoA levels in different tissues and PANK2 mutations lead to Pantothenate Kinase Associated Neurodegeneration (PKAN). The molecular mechanisms that potentially underlie PKAN pathophysiology are investigated in a mouse model of CoA deficiency in the central nervous system (CNS). Both PanK1 and PanK2 contribute to brain CoA levels in mice and so a mouse model with a systemic deletion of Pank1 together with neuronal deletion of Pank2 was generated. Neuronal Pank2 expression in double knockout mice decreased starting at P9-11 triggering a significant brain CoA deficiency. The depressed brain CoA in the mice correlates with abnormal forelimb flexing and weakness that, in turn, contributes to reduced locomotion and abnormal gait. Biochemical analysis reveals a reduction in short-chain acyl-CoAs, including acetyl-CoA and succinyl-CoA. Comparative gene expression analysis reveals that the CoA deficiency in brain is associated with a large elevation of Hif3a transcript expression and significant reduction of gene transcripts in heme and hemoglobin synthesis. Reduction of brain heme levels is associated with the CoA deficiency. The data suggest a response to oxygen/glucose deprivation and indicate a disruption of oxidative metabolism arising from a CoA deficiency in the CNS.
Keywords: Coenzyme A; Mouse model; Neurodegeneration; PKAN; Pantothenate kinase.
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