Proteasomal and autophagic degradative activities in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy.
ABSTRACT Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA or Kennedy's disease) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by the selective loss of motor neurons in the bulbar region of the brain and in the anterior horns of the spinal cord. The disease has been associated to an expansion of a CAG triplet repeat present in the first coding exon of the androgen receptor (AR) gene. SBMA was the first identified member of a large class of neurodegenerative diseases now known as CAG-related diseases, which includes Huntington's disease (HD), several types of spinocerebellar ataxia (SCAs), and dentatorubral and pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA). The expanded CAG tract is translated to an aberrantly long polyglutamine tract (ARpolyQ) in the N-terminal region of the AR protein. The elongated polyQ tract seems to confer a neurotoxic gain-of-function to the mutant AR, possibly via the generation of aberrant conformations (misfolding). Protein misfolding is thought to be a trigger of neurotoxicity, since it perturbs a wide variety of motor neuronal functions. The first event is the accumulation of the ARpolyQ into ubiquitinated aggregates in a ligand (testosterone) dependent manner. The mutant ARpolyQ also impairs proteasome functions. The autophagic pathway may be activated to compensate these aberrant events by clearing the mutant ARpolyQ from motor neuronal cells. This review illustrates the mechanisms at the basis of ARpolyQ degradation via the proteasomal and autophagic systems.
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ABSTRACT: Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), also known as Kennedy's disease, is a genetically inherited neuromuscular disorder characterized by loss of lower motor neurons in the brainstem and spinal cord and skeletal muscle fasciculation, weakness, and atrophy. SBMA is caused by expansion of a polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in the gene coding for the androgen receptor (AR). PolyQ expansions cause at least eight other neurological disorders, which are collectively known as polyQ diseases. SBMA is unique in the family of polyQ diseases in that the disease manifests fully in male individuals only. The sex specificity of SBMA is the result of the interaction between mutant AR and its natural ligand, testosterone. Here, we will discuss emerging therapeutic perspectives for SBMA in light of recent findings regarding disease pathogenesis.Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 02/2013; · 2.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is an X-linked motoneuron disease caused by an abnormal expansion of a tandem CAG repeat in exon 1 of the androgen receptor (AR) gene that results in an abnormally long polyglutamine tract (polyQ) in the AR protein. As a result, the mutant AR (ARpolyQ) misfolds, forming cytoplasmic and nuclear aggregates in the affected neurons. Neurotoxicity only appears to be associated with the formation of nuclear aggregates. Thus, improved ARpolyQ cytoplasmic clearance, which indirectly decreases ARpolyQ nuclear accumulation, has beneficial effects on affected motoneurons. In addition, increased ARpolyQ clearance contributes to maintenance of motoneuron proteostasis and viability, preventing the blockage of the proteasome and autophagy pathways that might play a role in the neuropathy in SBMA. The expression of heat shock protein B8 (HspB8), a member of the small heat shock protein family, is highly induced in surviving motoneurons of patients affected by motoneuron diseases, where it seems to participate in the stress response aimed at cell protection. We report here that HspB8 facilitates the autophagic removal of misfolded aggregating species of ARpolyQ. In addition, though HspB8 does not influence p62 and LC3 (two key autophagic molecules) expression, it does prevent p62 bodies formation, and restores the normal autophagic flux in these cells. Interestingly, trehalose, a well-known autophagy stimulator, induces HspB8 expression, suggesting that HspB8 might act as one of the molecular mediators of the proautophagic activity of trehalose. Collectively, these data support the hypothesis that treatments aimed at restoring a normal autophagic flux that result in the more efficient clearance of mutant ARpolyQ might produce beneficial effects in SBMA patients.Neurobiology of aging 06/2013; · 5.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Spinobulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is an inherited neuromuscular disorder caused by the expansion of a CAG repeat encoding a polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in exon 1 of the androgen receptor (AR) gene. SBMA demonstrates androgen-dependent toxicity due to unfolding and aggregation of the mutant protein. There are currently no disease-modifying therapies, but of increasing interest for therapeutic targeting is autophagy, a highly conserved cellular process mediating protein quality control. We have previously shown that genetic manipulations inhibiting autophagy diminish skeletal muscle atrophy and extend lifespan of AR113Q knock-in mice. In contrast, manipulations inducing autophagy worsen muscle atrophy, suggesting that chronic, aberrant up-regulation of autophagy contributes to pathogenesis. Since the degree to which autophagy is altered in SBMA and the mechanisms responsible for such alterations are incompletely defined, we sought to delineate autophagic status in SBMA using both cellular and mouse models. Here, we confirm that autophagy is induced in cellular and knock-in mouse models of SBMA and show that the transcription factors TFEB and ZKSCAN3 operate in opposing roles to underlie these changes. We demonstrate upregulation of TFEB target genes in skeletal muscle from AR113Q male mice and SBMA patients. Furthermore, we observe a greater response in AR113Q mice to physiological stimulation of autophagy by both nutrient starvation and exercise. Together, our results indicate that transcriptional signaling contributes to autophagic dysregulation and provide a mechanistic framework for the pathologic increase of autophagic responsiveness in SBMA.Human Molecular Genetics 10/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor