The small heat shock protein αB-crystallin (CRYAB) has been implicated in multiple sclerosis (MS) pathogenesis. Earlier studies have indicated that CRYAB inhibits inflammation and attenuates clinical diseasewhenadministeredintheexperimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model of MS. In this study, we evaluated the role of CRYAB in primary demyelinating events. Using the cuprizone model of demyelination, a noninflammatory model that allows the analysis of glial responses in MS, we show that endogenous CRYAB expression is associated with increased severity of demyelination. Moreover, we demonstrate a strong correlation between the expression of CRYAB and the extent of reactive astrogliosis in demyelinating areas and in in vitro assays. In addition, we reveal that CRYAB is differentially phosphorylated in astrocytes in active demyelinating MS lesions, as well as in cuprizone-induced lesions, and that this phosphorylation is required for the reactive astrocyte response associated with demyelination. Furthermore, taking a proteomics approach to identify proteins that are bound by the phosphorylated forms of CRYAB in primary cultured astrocytes, we show that there is clear differential binding of protein targets due to the specific phosphorylation of CRYAB. Subsequent Ingenuity Pathway Analysis of these targets reveals implications for intracellular pathways and biological processes that could be affected by these modifications. Together, these findings demonstrate that astrocytes play a pivotal role in demyelination, making them a potential target for therapeutic intervention, and that phosphorylation of CRYAB is a key factor supporting the pathogenic response of astrocytes to oligodendrocyte injury.
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 28 Feb 2017|