Étude de modèles murins du syndrome de Werner : Impact de la vitamine C sur l'état de santé de souris synthétisant une protéine Wrn mutante, mal-localisée, impliquée dans le syndrome de Werner

Authors: Aumailley, Lucie
Advisor: Lebel, Michel
Abstract: For an aging individual, the gradual buildup of a huge number of molecular tiny faults combined with repair defects lead to the possible appearance of various age-related pathologies. Segmental progeroid syndromes like the Werner syndrome partly phenocopy the observations collected from classical aging process of individuals. To date, 83 different mutations affecting the WRN gene are known and result in premature onset of cataracts, graying and hair loss, osteoporosis, type II diabetes and atherosclerosis. Even if the WRN protein plays a major role in the metabolism nuclear genome, the links which relate the loss of a functional WRN protein to the development of ageassociated diseases are not clearly defined. The existence of a mice orthologue of the WRN protein has made possible the genesis of two Werner syndrome mice models. Even without any synthesis of the Wrn protein, Wrn-/- mice do not display any severe pathologies or a shorter lifespan. In contrast, WrnΔhel/Δhel mice produced a Wrn protein lacking part of the helicase domain, the WrnΔhel protein. These mice exhibit many phenotypic features of the Werner syndrome which result in the reduction of their lifespan. The research project associated to this doctoral thesis aimed to characterise different stresses and dysfunctions which differentiate these two mice models and which may explain the dichotomy between their health status. The discovery of the complete loss of enzymatic functions of the WrnΔhel protein, but also its subcellular mislocalization, is a key outcome of the project. Thus, unlike Wrn-/- mice, beside losing a nuclear Wrn protein, WrnΔhel/Δhel mice gain a mutated WrnΔhel protein that is potentially toxic for the proper function of cytoplasmic compartments such as peroxisomes and the endoplasmic reticulum. At the age of four/five months, the mislocalized WrnΔhel protein leads to proteome changes and oxidative stress into the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes which response through some key actors of the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR). Interestingly, one previous study has shown that, despite their ability to produce their own ascorbate thanks to the gulonolactone oxidase (Gulo), an additional ascorbate supplementation (0.4% (w/v) added to drinking water of WrnΔhel/Δhel mice since weaning, prevents the emergence of pathologies and extends the lifespan of mice. This doctoral thesis has given evidence that, even if this exogenous ascorbate supplementation did not change the quantity and mislocalization of the WrnΔhel protein, the higher availability of this anti-oxidant and this co-factor succeeds to fill all subcellular requirements in order to fight efficiently against oxidative stress and to contribute to the acquisition of a functional proteome. Since patients from Werner syndrome do not synthesize de novo ascorbate and because this endogenous synthesis in WrnΔhel/Δhel mice makes the assessment of ascorbate on the health of mice difficult to precisely decipher, another objective from this research project was to generate a new mice model which relies entirely on exogenous vitamin C source because of the knockout of the mouse Gulo gene. The gain of a mislocalized WrnΔhel protein and the inability to produce ascorbate drastically impact on the lifespan, metabolic and immune profile of WrnΔhel/Δhel/Gulo-/- mice treated with 0.01% vitamin C. Moreover, these mice are sterile, display testicular hypogonadism and suffer from profound osteopenia like patients with the Werner syndrome. The increased vitamin C requirements of these mice lead to an hypovitaminosis C which is even more severe than Gulo-/- mice under the same ascorbate treatment. This deficiency is reflected at subcellular level in the outbreak of a pronounced hepatic oxidative stress and the exacerbated activation of actors of the UPR. The 0.4% vitamin C supplementation delivered to WrnΔhel/Δhel/Gulo-/- mice succeeded to extend their lifespan and to counteract subcellular stresses but intriguingly established, at the age of four/five months, a metabolic profile reminiscent to the one observed in 20 months old WT mice. Overall, the results from this doctoral project unravel the impact of vitamin C on health status of mice models for the Werner syndrome.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 7 March 2019
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/33973
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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