Pluto Bioinformatics

GSE154920: Transcriptomes of ATG7 Knockout Microglia

Bulk RNA sequencing

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a leading cause of incurable progressive disability in young adults caused by inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS) that triggers demyelination, glial cell dysfunction and irreversible neuro-axonal damage1. While considerable progress has been made in treating early inflammatory relapsing-remitting MS, the mechanisms underpinning the progressive stage remain largely unknown. The capacity of microglia, the CNS-resident phagocytes, to clear tissue debris is essential for both maintaining and restoring CNS homeostasis2,3 and this capacity diminishes with age4-6. Age strongly associates with the risk of developing progressive MS7,8. Herein we demonstrate that the recovery from inflammation is dependent on the ability of microglia to clear tissue debris and that blocking this process leads to development of progressive disease in a murine model of MS. Microglia-specific deletion of the general autophagy regulator Atg7, but not the canonical macroautophagy protein Ulk1, led to increased intracellular accumulation of phagocytosed myelin. This further associated with the alteration of the microglial phenotype towards that previously described in other neurodegenerative diseases2,3,9. Moreover, Atg7 deficient microglia showed striking similarities with microglia from aged wild type mice, which also demonstrated accumulation of myelin debris and inability to recover from MS-like disease. In contrast, the induction of autophagy using the disaccharide Trehalose in aged mice led to functional myelin clearance and remission from MS-like disease. Our results demonstrate that a non-canonical form of autophagy in microglia is responsible for myelin clearance and that impairment of this pathway markedly changes microglial phenotype and prevents recovery from MS-like disease. Importantly, we show that using a disaccharide ubiquitously found in plant-derived foods to boost autophagy in cells in which this process is naturally diminished can be utilized for therapeutic purposes.Project was run on 4 lanes with a 10M sequencing depth SOURCE: Ewoud Ewing ( - Karolinska Institutet

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