In Vitro Analysis of Huntingtin-Mediated Transcriptional Repression Reveals Multiple Transcription Factor Targets
ABSTRACT Transcriptional dysregulation has emerged as a potentially important pathogenic mechanism in Huntington's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder associated with polyglutamine expansion in the huntingtin (htt) protein. Here, we report the development of a biochemically defined in vitro transcription assay that is responsive to mutant htt. We demonstrate that both gene-specific activator protein Sp1 and selective components of the core transcription apparatus, including TFIID and TFIIF, are direct targets inhibited by mutant htt in a polyglutamine-dependent manner. The RAP30 subunit of TFIIF specifically interacts with mutant htt both in vitro and in vivo to interfere with formation of the RAP30-RAP74 native complex. Importantly, overexpression of RAP30 in cultured primary striatal cells protects neurons from mutant htt-induced cellular toxicity and alleviates the transcriptional inhibition of the dopamine D2 receptor gene by mutant htt. Our results suggest a mutant htt-directed repression mechanism involving multiple specific components of the basal transcription apparatus.
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ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a hereditary neurological disease caused by expended CAG repeats in the HD gene, which codes for a protein called Huntingtin (Htt). The resultant mutant Huntingtin (mHtt) forms aggregates in neurons and causes neuronal dysfunction. In astrocytes, the largest population of brain cells, mHtt also exists. We report herein that astrocyte-conditioned medium (ACM) collected from astrocytes of R6/2 mice (a mouse model of HD) caused primary cortical neurons to grow less-mature neurites, migrate more slowly, and exhibit lower calcium influx after depolarization than those maintained in wild-type (WT) ACM. Using a cytokine antibody array and ELISA assays, we demonstrated that the amount of a chemokine [chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 5 (CCL5)/regulated on activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES)] released by R6/2 astrocytes was much less than that by WT astrocytes. When cortical neurons were treated with the indicated ACM, supplementation with recombinant CCL5/RANTES ameliorated the neuronal deficiency caused by HD-ACM, whereas removing CCL5/RANTES from WT-ACM using an anti-CCL5/RANTES antibody mimicked the effects evoked by HD-ACM. Quantitative PCR and promoter analyses demonstrated that mHtt hindered the activation of the CCL5/RANTES promoter by reducing the availability of nuclear factor kappaB-p65 and, hence, reduced the transcript level of CCL5/RANTES. Moreover, ELISA assays and immunocytochemical staining revealed that mHtt retained the residual CCL5/RANTES inside R6/2 astrocytes. In line with the above findings, elevated cytosolic CCL5/RANTES levels were also observed in the brains of two mouse models of HD [R6/2 and Hdh((CAG)150)] and human HD patients. These findings suggest that mHtt hinders one major trophic function of astrocytes which might contribute to the neuronal dysfunction of HD.The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 04/2008; 28(13):3277-90. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0116-08.2008 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: While selective neuronal death has been an influential theme in Huntington's disease (HD), there is now a preponderance of evidence that significant neuronal dysfunction precedes frank neuronal death. The best evidence for neuronal dysfunction is the observation that gene expression is altered in HD brain, suggesting that transcriptional dysregulation is a central mechanism. Studies of altered gene expression began with careful observations of postmortem human HD brain and subsequently were accelerated by the development of transgenic mouse models. The application of DNA microarray technology has spurred tremendous progress with respect to the altered transcriptional processes that occur in HD, through gene expression studies of both transgenic mouse models as well as cellular models of HD. Gene expression profiles are remarkably comparable across these models, bolstering the idea that transcriptional signatures reflect an essential feature of disease pathogenesis. Finally, gene expression studies have been applied to human HD, thus not only validating the approach of using model systems, but also solidifying the idea that altered transcription is a key mechanism in HD pathogenesis. In the future, gene expression profiling will be used as a readout in clinical trials aimed at correcting transcriptional dysregulation in Huntington's disease.Progress in Neurobiology 12/2007; 83(4):228-48. DOI:10.1016/j.pneurobio.2007.03.004 · 10.30 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is one of several neurodegenerative diseases caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract in the disease protein, in this case, ATAXIN-1 (ATXN1). A key question in the field is whether neurotoxicity is mediated by aberrant, novel interactions with the expanded protein or whether its wild-type functions are augmented to a deleterious degree. We examined soluble protein complexes from mouse cerebellum and found that the majority of wild-type and expanded ATXN1 assembles into large stable complexes containing the transcriptional repressor Capicua. ATXN1 directly binds Capicua and modulates Capicua repressor activity in Drosophila and mammalian cells, and its loss decreases the steady-state level of Capicua. Interestingly, the S776A mutation, which abrogates the neurotoxicity of expanded ATXN1, substantially reduces the association of mutant ATXN1 with Capicua in vivo. These data provide insight into the function of ATXN1 and suggest that SCA1 neuropathology depends on native, not novel, protein interactions.Cell 01/2007; 127(7):1335-47. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2006.11.038 · 33.12 Impact Factor