Up-regulation of endoplasmic reticulum stress-related genes during the early phase of treatment of cultured cortical neurons by the proteasomal inhibitor lactacystin
Inhibition of proteasome degradation pathway has been implicated in neuronal cell death leading to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. We and others demonstrated that treatment of cortical neurons with the proteasomal inhibitor lactacystin leads to apoptosis. We discovered by microarray analysis that lactacystin treatment modulates the expression of both potentially neuroprotective as well as pro-apoptotic genes in neurons. However, the significance of the genes which upon transcriptional modulation contributed to proteasomal inhibition-induced apoptosis, remained unidentified. By employing microarray analysis to decipher the time-dependent changes in transcription of these genes in cultured cortical neurons, we discovered different groups of genes were transcriptionally regulated in the early and late phase of lactacystin-induced cell death. In the early phase, several neuroprotective genes such as those encoding the proteasome subunits and ubiquitin-associated enzymes, as well as the heat-shock proteins (HSP) were up-regulated. However, the pro-apoptotic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-associated genes were also up-regulated at the early phase of lactacystin-induced neuronal cell death. In the late phase, genes encoding antioxidants and calcium-binding proteins were up-regulated while those associated with cholesterol biosynthesis were down-regulated. The data suggest that ER stress may participate in mediating the apoptotic responses induced by proteasomal inhibition. The up-regulation of the neuroprotective antioxidant genes and calcium-binding protein genes and down-regulation of the cholesterol biosynthesis genes in the later phase are likely consequences of stimulation of the pro-apoptotic signaling pathways in the early phase of lactacystin treatment. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.