Article

Full-length human mutant huntingtin with a stable polyglutamine repeat can elicit progressive and selective neuropathogenesis in BACHD mice

Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 07/2008; 28(24):6182-95. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0857-08.2008
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To elucidate the pathogenic mechanisms in Huntington's disease (HD) elicited by expression of full-length human mutant huntingtin (fl-mhtt), a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-mediated transgenic mouse model (BACHD) was developed expressing fl-mhtt with 97 glutamine repeats under the control of endogenous htt regulatory machinery on the BAC. BACHD mice exhibit progressive motor deficits, neuronal synaptic dysfunction, and late-onset selective neuropathology, which includes significant cortical and striatal atrophy and striatal dark neuron degeneration. Power analyses reveal the robustness of the behavioral and neuropathological phenotypes, suggesting BACHD as a suitable fl-mhtt mouse model for preclinical studies. Additional analyses of BACHD mice provide novel insights into how mhtt may elicit neuropathogenesis. First, unlike previous fl-mhtt mouse models, BACHD mice reveal that the slowly progressive and selective pathogenic process in HD mouse brains can occur without early and diffuse nuclear accumulation of aggregated mhtt (i.e., as detected by immunostaining with the EM48 antibody). Instead, a relatively steady-state level of predominantly full-length mhtt and a small amount of mhtt N-terminal fragments are sufficient to elicit the disease process. Second, the polyglutamine repeat within fl-mhtt in BACHD mice is encoded by a mixed CAA-CAG repeat, which is stable in both the germline and somatic tissues including the cortex and striatum at the onset of neuropathology. Therefore, our results suggest that somatic repeat instability does not play a necessary role in selective neuropathogenesis in BACHD mice. In summary, the BACHD model constitutes a novel and robust in vivo paradigm for the investigation of HD pathogenesis and treatment.

Full-text

Available from: Carlos Cepeda, May 29, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
126 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abnormal electrophysiological activity in the striatum, which receives dense innervation from the cerebral cortex, is believed to set the stage for the behavioral phenotype observed in Huntington's disease (HD), a neurodegenerative condition caused by mutation of the huntingtin (mhtt) protein. However, cortical involvement is far from clear. To determine whether abnormal striatal processing can be explained by mhtt alone (cell-autonomous model) or by mhtt in the corticostriatal projection cell-cell interaction model, we used BACHD/Emx1-Cre (BE) mice, a conditional HD model in which full-length mhtt is genetically reduced in cortical output neurons, including those that project to the striatum. Animals were assessed beginning at 20 weeks of age for at least the next 40 weeks, a range over which presymptomatic BACHD mice become symptomatic. Both open-field and nest-building behavior deteriorated progressively in BACHD mice relative to both BE and wild-type (WT) mice. Neuronal activity patterns in the dorsal striatum, which receives input from the primary motor cortex (M1), followed a similar age progression because BACHD activity changed more rapidly than either BE or WT mice. However, in the M1, BE neuronal activity differed significantly from both WT and BACHD. Although abnormal cortical activity in BE mice likely reflects input from mhtt-expressing afferents, including cortical interneurons, improvements in BE striatal activity and behavior suggest a critical role for mhtt in cortical output neurons in shaping the onset and progression of striatal dysfunction. Copyright © 2015 the authors 0270-6474/15/354440-12$15.00/0.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 03/2015; 35(10):4440-51. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2812-14.2015 · 6.75 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease, caused by expansion of polyglutamine repeats in the Huntingtin gene, with longer expansions leading to earlier ages of onset. The HD iPSC Consortium has recently reported a new in vitro model of HD based on the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from HD patients and controls. The current study has furthered the disease in a dish model of HD by generating new non-integrating HD and control iPSC lines. Both HD and control iPSC lines can be efficiently differentiated into neurons/glia, however the HD-derived cells maintained a significantly greater number of nestin-expressing neural progenitor cells compared to control cells. This cell population showed enhanced vulnerability to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) withdrawal in the juvenile-onset HD (JHD) lines, which appeared to be CAG-repeat dependent and mediated by the loss of signaling from the TrkB receptor. It was postulated that this increased death following BDNF withdrawal may be due to glutamate toxicity, as the NMDA receptor subunit NR2B was up-regulated in the cultures. Indeed, blocking glutamate signaling, not just through the NMDA but also mGlu and AMPA/Kainate receptors, completely reversed the cell death phenotype. This study suggests that pathogenesis of JHD may involve in part a population of "persistent" neural progenitors that are selectively vulnerable to BDNF withdrawal. Similar results were seen in adult hippocampal-derived neural progenitors isolated from the BACHD model mouse. Together, these results provide important insight into HD mechanisms at early developmental time points, which may suggest novel approaches to HD therapeutics. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.
    Human Molecular Genetics 03/2015; 24(11). DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddv080 · 6.68 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) is an autosomal dominant disorder with progressive degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs) and other neurons caused by expansion of a glutamine (Q) tract in the ATXN2 protein. We generated BAC transgenic lines in which the full-length human ATXN2 gene was transcribed using its endogenous regulatory machinery. Mice with the ATXN2 BAC transgene with an expanded CAG repeat (BAC-Q72) developed a progressive cellular and motor phenotype, whereas BAC mice expressing wild-type human ATXN2 (BAC-Q22) were indistinguishable from control mice. Expression analysis of laser-capture microdissected (LCM) fractions and regional expression confirmed that the BAC transgene was expressed in PCs and in other neuronal groups such as granule cells (GCs) and neurons in deep cerebellar nuclei as well as in spinal cord. Transcriptome analysis by deep RNA-sequencing revealed that BAC-Q72 mice had progressive changes in steady-state levels of specific mRNAs including Rgs8, one of the earliest down-regulated transcripts in the Pcp2-ATXN2[Q127] mouse line. Consistent with LCM analysis, transcriptome changes analyzed by deep RNA-sequencing were not restricted to PCs, but were also seen in transcripts enriched in GCs such as Neurod1. BAC-Q72, but not BAC-Q22 mice had reduced Rgs8 mRNA levels and even more severely reduced steady-state protein levels. Using RNA immunoprecipitation we showed that ATXN2 interacted selectively with RGS8 mRNA. This interaction was impaired when ATXN2 harbored an expanded polyglutamine. Mutant ATXN2 also reduced RGS8 expression in an in vitro coupled translation assay when compared with equal expression of wild-type ATXN2-Q22. Reduced abundance of Rgs8 in Pcp2-ATXN2[Q127] and BAC-Q72 mice supports our observations of a hyper-excitable mGluR1-ITPR1 signaling axis in SCA2, as RGS proteins are linked to attenuating mGluR1 signaling.
    PLoS Genetics 04/2015; 11(4):e1005182. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005182 · 8.52 Impact Factor