Is the primate-specific protein pLG72 affecting SOD1 functionality and superoxide formation?

Free Radic Res. 2020 Jun;54(6):419-430. doi: 10.1080/10715762.2020.1791335. Epub 2020 Jul 21.


pLG72 is a primate-specific protein of enigmatic function that was proposed to modulate mitochondria fragmentation and the activity of the peroxisomal enzyme D-amino acid oxidase (DAAO). DAAO is deputed to degradation of the NMDA receptor co-agonist D-serine in human brain and the R199W substitution in DAAO was identified in a familial case of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A recent work reported that U87 glioblastoma cells ectopically expressing pLG72 showed a lower proliferation, produced superoxide radicals, induced SOD1 aggregation and decreased its activity. Because of the role of SOD1 in eliminating ROS species and its relevance in ALS we evaluated the link between pLG72 and SOD1 using both wild-type pLG72 and its R30K variant related to schizophrenia susceptibility. In vitro studies on recombinant proteins excluded the establishment of a stable complex and that pLG72 could affect SOD1 activity and stability. At cellular level, ectopic expression of pLG72 in glioblastoma U87 cells did not affect cell viability and ROS/superoxide production: only caspase activity (a marker of apoptosis) was slightly increased in cells expressing the R30K pLG72 variant. SOD1 and pLG72 did not colocalize in transfected U87 glioblastoma cells: pLG72 largely localised to mitochondria and SOD1 was largely cytosolic. Moreover, the ectopic expression of pLG72 appeared not to alter the expression of SOD1 and its aggregation. Altogether, the combination of biochemical and cellular studies allow to exclude that pLG72 modulates SOD1 function and aggregation, thus that it could play a role in ALS susceptibility.

Keywords: Reactive oxygen species (ROS); amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; copper zinc-superoxide dismutase; stress; superoxide dismutase.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1 / genetics*
  • Superoxides / metabolism*
  • Transfection


  • DAOA protein, human
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Superoxides
  • Superoxide Dismutase-1