Molecular Basis of the Dominant-Negative effect of a Glycine Transporter 2 Mutation Associated with Hyperekplexia [Protein Structure and Folding]

December 5th, 2014 by Arribas–Gonzalez, E., de Juan–Sanz, J., Aragon, C., Lopez–Corcuera, B.

Hyperekplexia or startle disease is a rare clinical syndrome characterized by an exaggerated startle in response to trivial tactile or acoustic stimuli. This neurological disorder can have serious consequences in neonates, provoking brain damage and/or sudden death due to apnea episodes and cardiorespiratory failure. Hyperekplexia is caused by defective inhibitory glycinergic neurotransmission. Mutations in the human SLC6A5 gene encoding the neuronal GlyT2 glycine transporter are responsible for the presynaptic form of the disease. GlyT2 mediates synaptic glycine recycling, which constitutes the main source of releasable transmitter at glycinergic synapses. Although the majority of GlyT2 mutations detected so far are recessive, a dominant-negative mutant that affects GlyT2 trafficking does exist. In this study, we explore the properties and structural alterations of the S512R mutation in GlyT2. We analyzed its dominant-negative effect that retains wild-type GlyT2 in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), preventing surface expression. We show that the presence of an arginine rather than serine 512 provoked transporter misfolding, enhanced association to the ER-chaperone calnexin, altered association with the coat-protein complex II component Sec24D, and thereby impeded ER exit. The S512R mutant formed oligomers with wild-type GlyT2 causing its retention in the ER. Overexpression of calnexin rescued wild-type GlyT2 from the dominant-negative effect of the mutant, increasing the amount of transporter that reached the plasma membrane and dampening the interaction between the wild-type and mutant GlyT2. The ability of chemical chaperones to overcome the dominant-negative effect of the disease mutation on the wild-type transporter was demonstrated in heterologous cells and primary neurons.
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