Neuron-specific SUMO knockdown suppresses global gene expression response and worsens functional outcome after transient forebrain ischemia in mice.


Small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) conjugation (SUMOylation) plays key roles in neurologic function in health and disease. Neuronal SUMOylation is essential for emotionality and cognition, and this pathway is dramatically activated in post-ischemic neurons, a neuroprotective response to ischemia. It is also known from cell culture studies that SUMOylation modulates gene expression. However, it remains unknown how SUMOylation regulates neuronal gene expression in vivo, in the physiologic state and after ischemia, and modulates post-ischemic recovery of neurologic function. To address these important questions, we used a SUMO1-3 knockdown (SUMO-KD) mouse in which a Thy-1 promoter drives expression of 3 distinct microRNAs against SUMO1-3 to silence SUMO expression specifically in neurons. Wild-type and SUMO-KD mice were subjected to transient forebrain ischemia. Microarray analysis was performed in hippocampal CA1 samples, and neurologic function was evaluated. SUMOylation had opposite effects on neuronal gene expression before and after ischemia. In the physiological state, most genes regulated by SUMOylation were up-regulated in SUMO-KD compared to wild-type mice. Brain ischemia/reperfusion significantly modulated the expression levels of more than 400 genes in wild-type mice, with a majority of those genes upregulated. The extent of this post-ischemic transcriptome change was suppressed in SUMO-KD mice. Moreover, SUMO-KD mice exhibited significantly worse functional outcome. This suggests that suppression of global gene expression response in post-ischemic brain due to SUMO knockdown has a negative effect on post-ischemic neurologic function. Together, our data provide a basis for future studies to mechanistically link SUMOylation to neurologic function in health and disease.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Zhang, Lin, Xiaozhi Liu, Huaxin Sheng, Shuai Liu, Ying Li, Julia Q Zhao, David S Warner, Wulf Paschen, et al. (2017). Neuron-specific SUMO knockdown suppresses global gene expression response and worsens functional outcome after transient forebrain ischemia in mice. Neuroscience, 343. pp. 190–212. 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.11.036 Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Huaxin Sheng

Associate Professor in Anesthesiology

We have successfully developed various rodent models of brain and spinal cord injuries in our lab, such as focal cerebral ischemia, global cerebral ischemia, head trauma, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, spinal cord ischemia and compression injury. We also established cardiac arrest and hemorrhagic shock models for studying multiple organ dysfunction.  Our current studies focus on two projects. One is to examine the efficacy of catalytic antioxidant in treating cerebral ischemia and the other is to examine the efficacy of post-conditioning on outcome of subarachnoid hemorrhage induced cognitive dysfunction.


Wei Yang

Associate Professor in Anesthesiology

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.