Bim Links ER Stress and Apoptosis in Cells Expressing Mutant SOD1 Associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Academic Article uri icon


  • Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is an important pathway to cell death in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We previously demonstrated that ER stress is linked to neurotoxicity associated with formation of inclusions of mutant Cu,Zn-superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1). Cells bearing mutant inclusions undergo mitochondrial apoptotic signalling. Here, we demonstrate that the BH3-only protein, Bim, is a direct link between ER stress and mitochondrial apoptosis. In the murine neuroblastoma cell line, Neuro2a, bearing mutant SOD1 inclusions, indicators of both ER stress and apoptosis are expressed. Bim knockdown by siRNA significantly reduced nuclear apoptotic features in these inclusion-bearing cells (but did not affect the proportion of cells overall that bear inclusions). Further, both Bax recruitment to mitochondria and cytochrome c redistribution were also decreased under Bim-depletion conditions. However, upregulation of CHOP, a marker of ER stress, was not reduced by Bim knockdown. Significantly, knockdown of CHOP by siRNA reduced the extent of apoptosis in cells bearing mutant SOD1 inclusions. These sequential links between ER stress, CHOP upregulation, and Bim activation of mitochondrial apoptotic signalling indicate a clear pathway to cell death mediated by mutant SOD1.


  • Soo, Kai Y
  • Atkin, Julie D
  • Farg, Manal
  • Walker, Adam K
  • Horne, Malcolm K
  • Nagley, Phillip

publication date

  • April 16, 2012

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