ALS-linked protein disulfide isomerase variants cause motor dysfunction

Ute Woehlbier, Alicia Colombo, Mirva J. Saaranen, Viviana Pérez, Jorge Ojeda, Fernando J. Bustos, Catherine I. Andreu, Mauricio Torres, Vicente Valenzuela, Danilo B. Medinas, Pablo Rozas, Rene L. Vidal, Rodrigo Lopez-Gonzalez, Johnny Salameh, Sara Fernandez-Collemann, Natalia Muñoz, Soledad Matus, Ricardo Armisen, Alfredo Sagredo, Karina PalmaThergiory Irrazabal, Sandra Almeida, Paloma Gonzalez-Perez, Mario Campero, Fen Biao Gao, Pablo Henny, Brigitte Van Zundert, Lloyd W. Ruddock, Miguel L. Concha, Juan P. Henriquez, Robert H. Brown, Claudio Hetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Disturbance of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) proteostasis is a common feature of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Protein disulfide isomerases (PDIs) are ER foldases identified as possible ALS biomarkers, as well as neuroprotective factors. However, no functional studies have addressed their impact on the disease process. Here, we functionally characterized four ALS-linked mutations recently identified in two major PDI genes, PDIA1 and PDIA3/ERp57. Phenotypic screening in zebrafish revealed that the expression of these PDI variants induce motor defects associated with a disruption of motoneuron connectivity. Similarly, the expression of mutant PDIs impaired dendritic outgrowth in motoneuron cell culture models. Cellular and biochemical studies identified distinct molecular defects underlying the pathogenicity of these PDI mutants. Finally, targeting ERp57 in the nervous system led to severe motor dysfunction in mice associated with a loss of neuromuscular synapses. This study identifies ER proteostasis imbalance as a risk factor for ALS, driving initial stages of the disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-865
Number of pages21
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2016


  • ERp57
  • PDIA1
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • protein disulfide isomerase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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