Limiting multiple sclerosis related axonopathy by blocking Nogo receptor and CRMP-2 phosphorylation

Steven Petratos, Ezgi Ozturk, Michael F Azari, Rachel Kenny, Jae Young Lee, Kylie A Magee, Alan R Harvey, Courtney McDonald, Kasra Taghian, Leon Moussa, Pei Mun Aui, Christopher Siatskas, Sara Alejandra Litwak, Michael G Fehlings, Stephen M Strittmatter, Claude CA Bernard

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    103 Citations (Scopus)


    Multiple sclerosis involves demyelination and axonal degeneration of the central nervous system. The molecular mechanisms of axonal degeneration are relatively unexplored in both multiple sclerosis and its mouse model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. We previously reported that targeting the axonal growth inhibitor, Nogo-A, may protect against neurodegeneration in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; however, the mechanism by which this occurs is unclear. We now show that the collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP-2), an important tubulin-associated protein that regulates axonal growth, is phosphorylated and hence inhibited during the progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in degenerating axons. The phosphorylated form of CRMP-2 (pThr555CRMP-2) is localized to spinal cord neurons and axons in chronic-active multiple sclerosis lesions. Specifically, pThr555CRMP-2 is implicated to be Nogo-66 receptor 1 (NgR1)-dependent, since myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)(35-55)-induced NgR1 knock-out (ngr1(-)(/)(-)) mice display a reduced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis disease progression, without a deregulation of ngr1(-)(/)(-) MOG(35-55)-reactive lymphocytes and monocytes. The limitation of axonal degeneration/loss in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis-induced ngr1(-)(/)(-) mice is associated with lower levels of pThr555CRMP-2 in the spinal cord and optic nerve during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Furthermore, transduction of retinal ganglion cells with an adeno-associated viral vector encoding a site-specific mutant T555ACRMP-2 construct, limits optic nerve axonal degeneration occurring at peak stage of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Therapeutic administration of the anti-Nogo(623-640) antibody during the course of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, associated with an improved clinical outcome, is demonstrated to abrogate the protein levels of pThr555CRMP-2 in the spinal cord and improve pathological outcome. We conclude that phosphorylation of CRMP-2 may be downstream of NgR1 activation and play a role in axonal degeneration in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis. Blockade of Nogo-A/NgR1 interaction may serve as a viable therapeutic target in multiple sclerosis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1794 - 1818
    Number of pages25
    Issue numberPt 6
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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