Autophagy-mediated degradation of synaptic components maintains synaptic homeostasis but also constitutes a mechanism of neurodegeneration. It is unclear how autophagy of synaptic vesicles and components of presynaptic active zones is regulated. Here, we show that Pleckstrin homology containing family member 5 (Plekhg5) modulates autophagy of synaptic vesicles in axon terminals of motoneurons via its function as a guanine exchange factor for Rab26, a small GTPase that specifically directs synaptic vesicles to preautophagosomal structures. Plekhg5 gene inactivation in mice results in a late-onset motoneuron disease, characterized by degeneration of axon terminals. Plekhg5-depleted cultured motoneurons show defective axon growth and impaired autophagy of synaptic vesicles, which can be rescued by constitutively active Rab26. These findings define a mechanism for regulating autophagy in neurons that specifically targets synaptic vesicles. Disruption of this mechanism may contribute to the pathophysiology of several forms of motoneuron disease.
Recommended CitationLüningschrör, Patrick; Binotti, Beyenech; Dombert, Benjamin; Heimann, Peter; Perez-Lara, Angel; Slotta, Carsten; Thau-Habermann, Nadine; von Collenberg, Cora R.; Karl, Franziska; Damme, Markus; Horowitz, Arie; Maystadt, Isabelle; Füchtbauer, Annette; Füchtbauer, Ernst-Martin; Jablonka, Sibylle; Blum, Robert; Üçeyler, Nurcan; Petri, Susanne; Kaltschmidt, Barbara; Jahn, Reinhard; Kaltschmidt, Christian; and Sendtner, Michael, "Plekhg5-regulated autophagy of synaptic vesicles reveals a pathogenic mechanism in motoneuron disease." (2017). Department of Medicine Faculty Papers. Paper 220.
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