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Managing the Spatial Covariance of Genetic Diversity in Niemann-Pick C1 Through Modulation of the Hsp70 Chaperone System

By Chao Wang, Samantha M Scott, Darren M Hutt, Pei Zhao, Hao Shao, Jason E Gestwicki, Balch William E

Posted 09 Oct 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/437764

Genetic diversity provides a rich repository for understanding the role of proteostasis in the management of the protein fold to allow biology to evolve through variation in the population and in response to the environment. Failure in proteostasis can trigger multiple disease states affecting both human health and lifespan. Niemann-Pick C (NPC) disease is a genetic disorder mainly caused by mutations in NPC1, a multi-spanning transmembrane protein that is trafficked through the exocytic pathway to late endosomes and lysosomes (LE/Ly) to manage cholesterol homeostasis. Proteostatic defects triggered by >600 NPC1 variants found in the human population inhibit export of NPC1 protein from ER or function in downstream LE/Ly, leading to accumulation of cholesterol and rapid onset neurodegeneration in childhood for most patients. We now show that chemical allosteric inhibitors, such as JG98, targeting the cytosolic Hsp70 chaperone/co-chaperone complex improves the trafficking and stability of NPC1 variants with diverse NPC1 genotypes. By exploiting the knowledge-base of NPC1 variants found in the world-wide patient population using Variation Spatial Profiling (VSP), a Gaussian-process based machine learning (ML) approach, we show how the Hsp70 chaperone system alters the spatial covariance (SCV) tolerance of the ER and the SCV set-points for each residue of the NPC1 polypeptide chain differentially to improve trafficking efficiency and post-ER stability for variants distributed across the entire NPC1 polypeptide. The impact of JG98 is supported by the observation that silencing of Hsp70 specific nucleotide exchange factors (NEF) (BCL-anthogene (BAG) family) co-chaperones significantly improve the folding status of NPC1 variants. Together, these studies suggest that targeting the cytosolic Hsp70 system to adjust the SCV tolerance of the proteostasis network can improve recognition of the plasticity of the NPC1 fold found in the disease population for trafficking to the LE/Ly compartments.

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