AbstractAccumulation of aggregated and misfolded proteins, leading to endoplasmic reticulum stress and activation of the unfolded protein response, is a hallmark of several neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Genetic screens are powerful tools that are proving invaluable in identifying novel modulators of disease associated processes. Here, we performed a loss-of-function genetic screen using a human druggable genome library, followed by an arrayed-screen validation, in human iPSC-derived cortical neurons. We identified and genetically validated 13 genes, whose knockout was neuroprotective against Tunicamycin, a glycoprotein synthesis inhibitor widely used to induce endoplasmic reticulum stress. We also demonstrated that pharmacological inhibition of KAT2B, a lysine acetyltransferase identified by our genetic screens, by L-Moses, attenuates Tunicamycin-mediated neuronal cell death and activation of CHOP, a key pro-apoptotic member of the unfolded protein response in both cortical and dopaminergic neurons. Follow-up transcriptional analysis suggested that L-Moses provided neuroprotection by partly reversing the transcriptional changes caused by Tunicamycin. Finally, L-Moses treatment attenuated total protein levels affected by Tunicamycin, without affecting their acetylation profile. In summary, using an unbiased approach, we identified KAT2B and its inhibitor, L-Moses, as potential therapeutic targets for neurodegenerative diseases.
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