An interdomain interaction of the androgen receptor is required for its aggregation and toxicity in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy.
ABSTRACT Polyglutamine expansion within the androgen receptor (AR) causes spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) and is associated with misfolded and aggregated species of the mutant AR. We showed previously that nuclear localization of the mutant AR was necessary but not sufficient for SBMA. Here we show that an interdomain interaction of the AR that is central to its function within the nucleus is required for AR aggregation and toxicity. Ligands that prevent the interaction between the amino-terminal FXXLF motif and carboxyl-terminal AF-2 domain (N/C interaction) prevented toxicity and AR aggregation in an SBMA cell model and rescued primary SBMA motor neurons from 5α-dihydrotestosterone-induced toxicity. Moreover, genetic mutation of the FXXLF motif prevented AR aggregation and 5α-dihydrotestosterone toxicity. Finally, selective androgen receptor modulators, which prevent the N/C interaction, ameliorated AR aggregation and toxicity while maintaining AR function, highlighting a novel therapeutic strategy to prevent the SBMA phenotype while retaining AR transcriptional function.
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ABSTRACT: Polyglutamine expansion in androgen receptor (AR) is responsible for spinobulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) that leads to selective loss of lower motor neurons. Using SBMA as a model, we explored the relationship between protein structure/function and neurodegeneration in polyglutamine diseases. We show here that protein arginine methyltransferase 6 (PRMT6) is a specific co-activator of normal and mutant AR and that the interaction of PRMT6 with AR is significantly enhanced in the AR mutant. AR and PRMT6 interaction occurs through the PRMT6 steroid receptor interaction motif, LXXLL, and the AR activating function 2 surface. AR transactivation requires PRMT6 catalytic activity and involves methylation of arginine residues at Akt consensus site motifs, which is mutually exclusive with serine phosphorylation by Akt. The enhanced interaction of PRMT6 and mutant AR leads to neurodegeneration in cell and fly models of SBMA. These findings demonstrate a direct role of arginine methylation in polyglutamine disease pathogenesis.Neuron 01/2015; 85(1):88-100. · 15.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy (SBMA) is a X-linked motoneuron disease due to a CAG triplet repeat expansion in the androgen receptor (AR) gene, which is translated into an elongated polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in AR protein (ARpolyQ). ARpolyQ toxicity is activated by the AR ligand testosterone (or dihydrotestosterone), and the polyQ triggers ARpolyQ misfolding and aggregation in spinal cord motoneurons and muscle cells. In motoneurons, testosterone triggers nuclear toxicity by inducing AR nuclear translocation. Thus, i) prevention of ARpolyQ nuclear localization, combined with ii) an increased ARpolyQ cytoplasmic clearance should reduce its detrimental activity. Using the antiandrogen Bicalutamide (Casodex®), which slows down AR activation and nuclear translocation, and the disaccharide trehalose, an autophagy activator, we found that in motoneurons the two compounds together reduced ARpolyQ insoluble forms with higher efficiency than that obtained with single treatments. The ARpolyQ clearance was mediated by trehalose-induced autophagy combined with the longer cytoplasmic retention of ARpolyQ bound to Bicalutamide. This allows an increased recognition of misfolded species by the autophagic system prior to their migration into the nuclei. Interestingly, the combinatory use of trehalose and Bicalutamide was also efficient in the removal of insoluble species of AR with a very long polyQ (Q112) tract, which typically aggregates into the cell nuclei. Collectively, these data suggest that the combinatory use of Bicalutamide and trehalose is a novel approach to facilitate ARpolyQ clearance, that has to be tested in other cell types target of SBMA (i.e. muscle cells) and in vivo in animal models of SBMA.Human Molecular Genetics 08/2014; · 6.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is a late onset, progressive neurodegenerative disease linked to a polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion in the androgen receptor (AR). Men affected by SBMA show marked muscle weakness and atrophy, typically emerging mid-life. Given the androgen-dependent nature of this disease, one might expect AR antagonists to have therapeutic value for treating SBMA. However, current work from animal models suggests otherwise, raising questions about whether polyQ-expanded AR exerts androgen-dependent toxicity through mechanisms distinct from normal AR function. In this study, we asked whether the nonsteroidal AR antagonist flutamide, delivered via a time-release pellet, could reverse or prevent androgen-dependent AR toxicity in three different mouse models of SBMA: the AR97Q transgenic (Tg) model, a knock-in (KI) model, and a myogenic Tg model. We find that flutamide protects mice from androgen-dependent AR toxicity in all three SBMA models, preventing or reversing motor dysfunction in the Tg models and significantly extending lifespan in KI males. Given that flutamide effectively protects against androgen-dependent disease in three different mouse models of SBMA, our data are proof-of-principle that AR antagonists have therapeutic potential for treating SBMA in humans, and support the notion that toxicity caused by polyQ-expanded AR utilizes at least some of the same mechanisms as normal AR before diverging to produce disease and muscle atrophy.Endocrinology 04/2014; · 4.72 Impact Factor