Journal Article

Suppression of polyglutamine-induced toxicity in cell and animal models of Huntington's disease by ubiquilin

Hongmin Wang, Precious J. Lim, Chaobo Yin, Matthias Rieckher, Bruce E. Vogel and Mervyn J. Monteiro

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 15, issue 6, pages 1025-1041
Published in print March 2006 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online February 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddl017
Suppression of polyglutamine-induced toxicity in cell and animal models of Huntington's disease by ubiquilin

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Expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) tracts are associated with the induction of protein aggregation and cause cytotoxicity in nine different neurodegenerative disorders. Here, we report that ubiquilin suppresses polyQ-induced protein aggregation and toxicity in cells and in an animal model of Huntington's disease. Overexpression of ubiquilin in HeLa cells and primary neurons reduced aggregation of polyQ-containing proteins and cell death induced by overexpression of a green fluorescent protein (GFP)–huntingtin fusion protein containing 74 polyQ repeats [GFP–Htt(Q74)], in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, overexpression of ubiquilin suppressed oxidative stress-induced cell death in HeLa cell lines stably expressing GFP–Htt(Q74). In contrast, knockdown of ubiquilin expression in these cell lines was associated with increases in DNA fragmentation, caspase activation, GFP-fusion protein aggregation, and cell death. Caenorhabditis elegans lines expressing GFP–Htt fusion proteins in body wall muscle displayed a polyQ repeat length-dependent decrease in body movement compared with wild-type animals. RNA interference of the C. elegans ubiquilin gene exacerbated the motility defect, whereas overexpression of ubiquilin prevented, and could rescue, loss of worm movement induced by overexpression of GFP–Htt(Q55). These results suggest that ubiquilin might be a novel therapeutic target for treating polyQ diseases.

Journal Article.  10016 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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