Hetero-oligomeric interactions of an ELOVL4 mutant protein: Implications in the molecular mechanism of Stargardt-3 macular dystrophy

Ayaka Okuda, Tatsuro Naganuma, Yusuke Ohno, Kensuke Abe, Maki Yamagata, Yasuyuki Igarashi, Akio Kihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Stargardt disease 3 (STGD3) is a juvenile macular dystrophy caused by mutations in the elongase of very longchain fatty acids-like 4 (ELOVL4) gene, which encodes an elongase involved in the production of extremely long-chain fatty acids. The STGD3-related mutations cause production of C-terminally truncated proteins (ELOVL4ΔC). STGD3 is transmitted in an autosomal dominant manner. To date, molecular mechanisms of this pathology have been proposed based solely on the interaction between wild-type ELOVL4 and ELOVL4ΔC. However, analyses of Elovl4ΔC knockin mice revealed reduced levels of not only ELOVL4 substrates, but also of fatty acids with a broad spectrum of chain lengths. Therefore, we investigated the molecular mechanisms responsible for ELOVL4ΔC affecting the entire very long-chain fatty acid (VLCFA) elongation pathway. Methods: The ELOVL4ΔC protein was expressed in HEK 293T cells, and its effect on elongase activities toward several acyl-CoAs were examined. We also investigated the homo- and hetero-oligomerization of ELOVL4ΔC with other elongases (ELOVL1-7) or with other enzymes involved in VLCFA elongation using coimmunoprecipitation experiments. Results: We found that ELOVL4ΔC forms a homo-oligomer more strongly than wild-type ELOVL4. ELOVL4ΔC also interacts strongly with other elongases, although similar interactions for wild-type ELOVL4 were observed as only weak. In addition, ELOVL4ΔC is able to form an elongase complex by interacting with other components of the VLCFA elongation machinery, similar to wild-type ELOVL4. Conclusions: We propose that not only the ELOVL4-ELOVL4ΔC homo-oligomeric interaction, but also several heterooligomeric interactions, may contribute to the pathology of STGD3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2438-2445
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular vision
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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