• amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • Cu;
  • Zn superoxide dismutase;
  • mass spectrometry;
  • metallothionein;
  • transgenic mice


Transgenic mice carrying familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FALS)-linked mutant Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) genes such as G93A (G93A-mice) and G85R (G85R-mice) genes develop limb paresis. Introduction of human wild type SOD1 (hWT-SOD1) gene, which does not cause motor impairment by itself, into different FALS mice resulted in different effects on their clinical courses, from no effect in G85R-mice to acceleration of disease progression in G93A-mice. However, the molecular mechanism which causes the observed difference, has not been clarified. We hypothesized that the difference might be caused by the stability of mutant SOD1 proteins. Using a combination of mass spectrometry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we found that the concentration of G93A-SOD1 protein was markedly elevated in tissues of transgenic mice carrying both G93A- and hWT-SOD1 genes (G93A/hWT-mice) compared to that in G93A-mice, and also found that the concentration of G93A-SOD1 protein had a close relation to the disease duration. The concentration of metallothionein-I/II in the spinal cord, reflecting the degree of copper-mediated oxidative stress, was highest in G93A/hWT-mice, second in G93A-mice, and normal in the mice carrying hWT-SOD1 gene. These results indicated that the increase of G93A-SOD1 protein was responsible for the increase of oxidative stress and disease acceleration in G93A/hWT-mice. We speculate that coexpression of hWT-SOD1 protein is deleterious to transgenic mice carrying a stable mutant such as G93A-SOD1, because this mutant protein is stabilized by hWT-SOD1 protein, but not to transgenic mice carrying an unstable mutant such as G85R-SOD1, because this mutant protein is not stabilized by hWT-SOD1.