Brain water homeostasis is essential for the appropriate control of neuronal activity. Furthermore, the encasement of the central nervous system (CNS) by a hard structure, greatly limits its tolerance for the volume changes occurring with acute brain edema, which quickly leads to severe damage or death.The recent discovery of the extended isoform of AQP4 (AQP4ex), generated by translational readthrough, revealed a potential new mechanism of water transport regulation and polarization at the blood-brain-barrier level.In the present study we used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to generate an AQP4ex-/- mouse model and evaluate the effect on the overall AQP4 expression, polarization, supramolecular organization in orthogonal arrays of particles (OAPs) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO-IgG) autoantibodies binding.AQP4ex removal did not cause a decrease in total AQP4 protein expression but completely suppressed the specific location of AQP4 at the astrocyte endfeet. Without AQP4ex, AQP4 was mislocalized and α-syntrophin expression, the selective partner for AQP4 localization, was partially altered. The supramolecular organization of AQP4 in OAPs was subtly altered. Indeed, the absence of AQP4ex reduced the size of AQP4-OAPs but the number of AQP4-OAP pools remained largely the same. More importantly, AQP4ex resulted critical for the binding of pathogenic human NMO-IgG autoantibodies to the brain. Indeed, the absence of AQP4ex completely abolished the binding of NMO-IgG at the perivascular astrocyte endfeet.This study provides the first direct evidence in vivo on the specific role of AQP4ex in AQP4 perivascular OAPs assembly and confinement and reveals AQP4ex as new and important player in neuromyelitis optica.

AQP4ex is crucial for the anchoring of AQP4 at the astrocyte end-feet and for neuromyelitis optica antibody binding

Palazzo, Claudia;Buccoliero, Cinzia;Mola, Maria Grazia;Nicchia, Grazia Paola;Trojano, Maria;Frigeri, Antonio
2019

Abstract

Brain water homeostasis is essential for the appropriate control of neuronal activity. Furthermore, the encasement of the central nervous system (CNS) by a hard structure, greatly limits its tolerance for the volume changes occurring with acute brain edema, which quickly leads to severe damage or death.The recent discovery of the extended isoform of AQP4 (AQP4ex), generated by translational readthrough, revealed a potential new mechanism of water transport regulation and polarization at the blood-brain-barrier level.In the present study we used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to generate an AQP4ex-/- mouse model and evaluate the effect on the overall AQP4 expression, polarization, supramolecular organization in orthogonal arrays of particles (OAPs) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO-IgG) autoantibodies binding.AQP4ex removal did not cause a decrease in total AQP4 protein expression but completely suppressed the specific location of AQP4 at the astrocyte endfeet. Without AQP4ex, AQP4 was mislocalized and α-syntrophin expression, the selective partner for AQP4 localization, was partially altered. The supramolecular organization of AQP4 in OAPs was subtly altered. Indeed, the absence of AQP4ex reduced the size of AQP4-OAPs but the number of AQP4-OAP pools remained largely the same. More importantly, AQP4ex resulted critical for the binding of pathogenic human NMO-IgG autoantibodies to the brain. Indeed, the absence of AQP4ex completely abolished the binding of NMO-IgG at the perivascular astrocyte endfeet.This study provides the first direct evidence in vivo on the specific role of AQP4ex in AQP4 perivascular OAPs assembly and confinement and reveals AQP4ex as new and important player in neuromyelitis optica.
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