Article

Native mutant huntingtin in human brain: evidence for prevalence of full-length monomer.

Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.6). 02/2012; 287(16):13487-99. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M111.286609
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Huntington disease (HD) is caused by polyglutamine expansion in the N terminus of huntingtin (htt). Analysis of human postmortem brain lysates by SDS-PAGE and Western blot reveals htt as full-length and fragmented. Here we used Blue Native PAGE (BNP) and Western blots to study native htt in human postmortem brain. Antisera against htt detected a single band broadly migrating at 575-850 kDa in control brain and at 650-885 kDa in heterozygous and Venezuelan homozygous HD brains. Anti-polyglutamine antisera detected full-length mutant htt in HD brain. There was little htt cleavage even if lysates were pretreated with trypsin, indicating a property of native htt to resist protease cleavage. A soluble mutant htt fragment of about 180 kDa was detected with anti-htt antibody Ab1 (htt-(1-17)) and increased when lysates were treated with denaturants (SDS, 8 M urea, DTT, or trypsin) before BNP. Wild-type htt was more resistant to denaturants. Based on migration of in vitro translated htt fragments, the 180-kDa segment terminated ≈htt 670-880 amino acids. If second dimension SDS-PAGE followed BNP, the 180-kDa mutant htt was absent, and 43-50 kDa htt fragments appeared. Brain lysates from two HD mouse models expressed native full-length htt; a mutant fragment formed if lysates were pretreated with 8 M urea + DTT. Native full-length mutant htt in embryonic HD(140Q/140Q) mouse primary neurons was intact during cell death and when cell lysates were exposed to denaturants before BNP. Thus, native mutant htt occurs in brain and primary neurons as a soluble full-length monomer.

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