Methyl pyruvate rescues mitochondrial damage caused by SIGMAR1 mutation related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Hideaki Tagashira, Yasuharu Shinoda, Norifumi Shioda, Kohji Fukunaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


Background Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a disease caused by motor neuron degeneration. Recently, a novel SIGMAR1 gene variant (p.E102Q) was discovered in some familial ALS patients.

Methods We address mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration caused by the mutation using Neuro2A cells overexpressing σ1RE102Q, a protein of a SIGMAR1 gene variant (p.E102Q) and evaluate potential amelioration by ATP production via methyl pyruvate (MP) treatment.

Results σ1RE102Qoverexpression promoted dissociation of the protein from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane and cytoplasmic aggregation, which in turn impaired mitochondrial ATP production and proteasome activity. Under ER stress conditions, overexpression of wild-type σ1R suppressed ER stress-induced mitochondrial injury, whereas σ1RE102Qoverexpression aggravated mitochondrial damage and induced autophagic cell death. Moreover, σ1RE102Q-overexpressing cells showed aberrant extra-nuclear localization of the TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43), a condition exacerbated by ER stress. Treatment of cells with the mitochondrial Ca2 +transporter inhibitor Ru360 mimicked the effects of σ1RE102Qoverexpression, indicating that aberrant σ1R-mediated mitochondrial Ca2 +transport likely underlies TDP-43 extra-nuclear localization, segregation in inclusion bodies, and ubiquitination. Finally, enhanced ATP production promoted by methyl pyruvate (MP) treatment rescued proteasome impairment and TDP-43 extra-nuclear localization caused by σ1RE102Qoverexpression.

Conclusions Our observations suggest that neurodegeneration seen in some forms of ALS are due in part to aberrant mitochondrial ATP production and proteasome activity as well as TDP-43 mislocalization resulting from the SIGMAR1 mutation.

General significance ATP supplementation by MP represents a potential therapeutic strategy to treat ALS caused by SIGMAR1 mutation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3320-3334
Number of pages15
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec


  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Autophagy
  • Endoplasmic reticulum stress
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Sigma-1 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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