Alteration of Golgi Apparatus Ion Homeostasis in Cellular and Mouse Models of Angelman Syndrome

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Ube3a is a HECT domain E3 ubiquitin ligase originally recognized for its role in degrading p53 in the presence of the human papilloma virus protein E6. Loss of maternal Ube3a expression causes Angelman syndrome, a severe neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by mental retardation, ataxia, epilepsy, lack of speech, and a unique behavioral phenotype that includes a happy demeanor and frequent laughing. However, characterization of the endogenous properties and cellular role for Ube3a has been limited. Over the last few years, an interesting cohort of Ube3a interacting partners and putative substrates were named, though the consequences of these interactions were not thoroughly investigated. These include two Golgi localized proteins - PIST and Golgin-160 - as well as several proteins that can regulate trafficking of proteins at the Golgi apparatus: Src family kinases, ubiquilin, and tuberin. Therefore, we decided to focus on whether Ube3a could regulate Golgi structure or function.

In this dissertation, I will describe a new role for Ube3a at the Golgi apparatus in the regulation of intralumenal ion homeostasis. First, I characterized the expression pattern of endogenous Ube3a and overexpressed Ube3a isoforms by immunostaining and fractionation and demonstrated that although Ube3a has diffuse nuclear/cytoplasmic localization, it also associates with membrane fractions. I also confirmed that Ube3a interacts endogenously with both PIST and Golgin-160. Next, I demonstrated that Golgi morphology is perturbed in a cell line with stable knockdown of Ube3a. I found that the Golgi apparatus in Ube3a knockdown cells is under-acidifed, and that this is the primary defect underlying the disrupted Golgi morphology. Finally, I extended these findings in vivo and examined the morphology of the Golgi apparatus in the brains of Angelman syndrome model mice. The Golgi structures in the visual cortex of these mice appeared disorganized by immunohistochemistry and individual cisternae were significantly distended by electron microscopy, consistent with a defect in ion homeostasis at the Golgi apparatus. These findings define new cellular role for Ube3a at the Golgi apparatus and provide insight into the pathogenesis of Angelman syndrome.






Condon, Kathryn Helen (2009). Alteration of Golgi Apparatus Ion Homeostasis in Cellular and Mouse Models of Angelman Syndrome. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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