Journal Article

Huntingtin-associated protein-1 is a modifier of the age-at-onset of Huntington's disease

Silke Metzger, Juan Rong, Huu-Phuc Nguyen, Austin Cape, Juergen Tomiuk, Anne S. Soehn, Peter Propping, Yun Freudenberg-Hua, Jan Freudenberg, Liang Tong, Shi-Hua Li, Xiao-Jiang Li and Olaf Riess

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 17, issue 8, pages 1137-1146
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
Huntingtin-associated protein-1 is a modifier of the age-at-onset of Huntington's disease

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A polyglutamine repeat expansion of more than 36 units in a protein called huntingtin (htt) is the only known cause of Huntington's disease (HD). The expanded repeat length is inversely correlated with the age-at-onset (AAO), however, the onset age among HD patients with CAG repeats below 60 units varies considerably. In addition to environmental factors, genetic factors different from the expanded CAG repeat length can modify the AAO of HD. We hypothezised that htt interacting proteins might contribute to this variation in the AAO and investigated human htt-associated protein-1 (HAP1) using genetic and functional assays. We identified six polymorphisms in the HAP1 gene including one that substitutes methionine (M441) for threonine (T441) at amino acid 441. Analyzing 980 European HD patients, we found that patients homozygous for the M441 genotype show an 8-year delay in the AAO. Functional assays demonstrated that human M441-HAP1 interacts with mutant htt more tightly than does human T441-HAP1, reduces soluble htt degraded products and protects against htt-mediated toxicity. We thus provide genetic and functional evidence that the M441-HAP1 polymorphism modifies the AAO of HD.

Journal Article.  5702 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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