Journal Article

Protein interacting with C kinase (PICK1) is a suppressor of spinocerebellar ataxia 3-associated neurodegeneration in <i>Drosophila</i>

Leeanne McGurk and Nancy M. Bonini

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 21, issue 1, pages 76-84
Published in print January 2012 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online September 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:

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Spinocerebellar ataxia 3 (SCA3) is the most common autosomal dominant ataxia. The disease is caused by an expansion of a CAG-trinucelotide repeat region within the coding sequence of the ATXN3 gene, and this results in an expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) tract within the Ataxin-3 protein. The polyQ expansion leads to neuronal dysfunction and cell death. Here, we tested the ability of a number of proteins that interact with Ataxin-3 to modulate SCA3 pathogenicity using Drosophila. Of 10 candidates, we found four novel enhancers and one suppressor. The suppressor, PICK1 (Protein interacting with C kinase 1), is a transport protein that regulates the trafficking of ion channel subunits involved in calcium homeostasis to and from the plasma membrane. In line with calcium homeostasis being a potential pathway mis-regulated in SCA3, we also found that down-regulation of Nach, an acid sensing ion channel, mitigates SCA3 pathogenesis in flies. Modulation of PICK1 could be targeted in other neurodegenerative diseases, as the toxicity of SCA1 and tau was also suppressed when PICK1 was down-regulated. These findings indicate that interaction proteins may define a rich source of modifier pathways to target in disease situations.

Journal Article.  5199 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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