Mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) localized protein that regulates ER homeostasis and unfolded protein response (UPR). The biology of endogenous MANF in the mammalian brain is unknown and therefore we studied the brain phenotype of MANF-deficient female and male mice at different ages focusing on the midbrain dopamine system and cortical neurons. We show that a lack of MANF from the brain led to the chronic activation of UPR by upregulation of the endoribonuclease activity of the inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α) pathway. Furthermore, in the aged MANF-deficient mouse brain in addition the protein kinase-like ER kinase (PERK) and activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6) branches of the UPR pathways were activated. Neuronal loss in neurodegenerative diseases has been associated with chronic ER stress. In our mouse model, increased UPR activation did not lead to neuronal cell loss in the substantia nigra (SN), decrease of striatal dopamine or behavioral changes of MANF-deficient mice. However, cortical neurons lacking MANF were more vulnerable to chemical induction of additional ER stress in vitro We conclude that embryonic neuronal deletion of MANF does not cause the loss of midbrain dopamine neurons in mice. However, endogenous MANF is needed for maintenance of neuronal ER homeostasis both in vivo and in vitro.
Keywords: CNS; ER stress; MANF; dopamine; knock-out mice; unfolded protein response.
Copyright © 2020 Pakarinen et al.