Altered Reactivity of Superoxide Dismutase in Familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

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Science  26 Jan 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5248, pp. 515-518
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5248.515


A subset of individuals with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS) possesses dominantly inherited mutations in the gene that encodes copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD). A4V and G93A, two of the mutant enzymes associated with FALS, were shown to catalyze the oxidation of a model substrate (spin trap 5,5′-dimethyl-1-pyrroline N-oxide) by hydrogen peroxide at a higher rate than that seen with the wild-type enzyme. Catalysis of this reaction by A4V and G93A was more sensitive to inhibition by the copper chelators diethyldithiocarbamate and penicillamine than was catalysis by wild-type CuZnSOD. The same two chelators reversed the apoptosis-inducing effect of mutant enzymes expressed in a neural cell line. These results suggest that oxidative reactions catalyzed by mutant CuZnSOD enzymes initiate the neuropathologic changes in FALS.

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