Mutations in the pantothenate kinase 2 gene (PANK2) are the cause of pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration (PKAN), the most common form of neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation. Although different disease models have been created to investigate the pathogenic mechanism of PKAN, the cascade of molecular events resulting from CoA synthesis impairment is not completely understood. Moreover, for PKAN disease, only symptomatic treatments are available. Despite the lack of a neural system, Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been successfully used to decipher molecular mechanisms of many human disorders including neurodegenerative diseases as well as iron-related disorders. To gain insights into the molecular basis of PKAN, a yeast model of this disease was developed: a yeast strain with the unique gene encoding pantothenate kinase CAB1 deleted, and expressing a pathological variant of this enzyme. A detailed functional characterization demonstrated that this model recapitulates the main phenotypes associated with human disease: mitochondrial dysfunction, altered lipid metabolism, iron overload, and oxidative damage suggesting that the yeast model could represent a tool to provide information on pathophysiology of PKAN. Taking advantage of the impaired oxidative growth of this mutant strain, a screening for molecules able to rescue this phenotype was performed. Two molecules in particular were able to restore the multiple defects associated with PKAN deficiency and the rescue was not allele-specific. Furthermore, the construction and characterization of a set of mutant alleles, allowing a quick evaluation of the biochemical consequences of pantothenate kinase (PANK) protein variants could be a tool to predict genotype/phenotype correlation.
Exploring Yeast as a Study Model of Pantothenate Kinase-Associated Neurodegeneration and for the Identification of Therapeutic Compounds / Ceccatelli Berti, Camilla; Ionut Gilea, Alexandru; De Gregorio, Marco Armando; Goffrini, Paola. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES. - ISSN 1422-0067. - 22:1(2021), pp. 293.1-293.21. [10.3390/ijms22010293]
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