[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is suspected that excess of brain cholesterol plays a role in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Membrane-associated cholesterol was shown to be increased in the brain of individuals with sporadic AD and to correlate with the severity of the disease. We hypothesized that an increase of membrane cholesterol could trigger sporadic AD early phenotypes.
We thus acutely loaded the plasma membrane of cultured neurons with cholesterol to reach the 30% increase observed in AD brains. We found changes in gene expression profiles that are reminiscent of early AD stages. We also observed early AD cellular phenotypes. Indeed we found enlarged and aggregated early endosomes using confocal and electron microscopy after immunocytochemistry. In addition amyloid precursor protein vesicular transport was inhibited in neuronal processes, as seen by live-imaging. Finally transient membrane cholesterol loading lead to significantly increased amyloid-beta42 secretion.
Membrane cholesterol increase in cultured neurons reproduces most early AD changes and could thus be a relevant model for deciphering AD mechanisms and identifying new therapeutic targets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although dominant gain-of-function triplet repeat expansions in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene are the underlying cause of Huntington disease (HD), understanding the normal functions of nonmutant HTT protein has remained a challenge. We report here findings that suggest that HTT plays a significant role in selective autophagy. Loss of HTT function in Drosophila disrupts starvation-induced autophagy in larvae and conditional knockout of HTT in the mouse CNS causes characteristic cellular hallmarks of disrupted autophagy, including an accumulation of striatal p62/SQSTM1 over time. We observe that specific domains of HTT have structural similarities to yeast Atg proteins that function in selective autophagy, and in particular that the C-terminal domain of HTT shares structural similarity to yeast Atg11, an autophagic scaffold protein. To explore possible functional similarity between HTT and Atg11, we investigated whether the C-terminal domain of HTT interacts with mammalian counterparts of yeast Atg11-interacting proteins. Strikingly, this domain of HTT coimmunoprecipitates with several key Atg11 interactors, including the Atg1/Unc-51-like autophagy activating kinase 1 kinase complex, autophagic receptor proteins, and mammalian Atg8 homologs. Mutation of a phylogenetically conserved WXXL domain in a C-terminal HTT fragment reduces coprecipitation with mammalian Atg8 homolog GABARAPL1, suggesting a direct interaction. Collectively, these data support a possible central role for HTT as an Atg11-like scaffold protein. These findings have relevance to both mechanisms of disease pathogenesis and to therapeutic intervention strategies that reduce levels of both mutant and normal HTT.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder resulting from polyglutamine expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) protein and for which there is no cure. Although suppression of both wild type and mutant HTT expression by RNA interference is a promising therapeutic strategy, a selective silencing of mutant HTT represents the safest approach preserving WT HTT expression and functions. We developed small hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) targeting single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) present in the HTT gene to selectively target the disease HTT isoform. Most of these shRNAs silenced, efficiently and selectively, mutant HTT in vitro. Lentiviral-mediated infection with the shRNAs led to selective degradation of mutant HTT mRNA and prevented the apparition of neuropathology in HD rat's striatum expressing mutant HTT containing the various SNPs. In transgenic BACHD mice, the mutant HTT allele was also silenced by this approach, further demonstrating the potential for allele-specific silencing. Finally, the allele-specific silencing of mutant HTT in human embryonic stem cells was accompanied by functional recovery of the vesicular transport of BDNF along microtubules. These findings provide evidence of the therapeutic potential of allele-specific RNA interference for HD.
PLoS ONE 06/2014; 9(6):e99341. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by a polyglutamine repeat expansion in the huntingtin protein. Mitochondrial dysfunction associated with energy failure plays an important role in this untreated pathology. In the present work, we used lymphoblasts obtained from HD patients or unaffected parentally related individuals to study the protective role of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) versus insulin (at low nM) on signaling and metabolic and mitochondrial functions. Deregulation of intracellular signaling pathways linked to activation of insulin and IGF-1 receptors (IR,IGF-1R), Akt, and ERK was largely restored by IGF-1 and, at a less extent, by insulin in HD human lymphoblasts. Importantly, both neurotrophic factors stimulated huntingtin phosphorylation at Ser421 in HD cells. IGF-1 and insulin also rescued energy levels in HD peripheral cells, as evaluated by increased ATP and phosphocreatine, and decreased lactate levels. Moreover, IGF-1 effectively ameliorated O2 consumption and mitochondrial membrane potential (Δψm) in HD lymphoblasts, which occurred concomitantly with increased levels of cytochrome c. Indeed, constitutive phosphorylation of huntingtin was able to restore the Δψm in lymphoblasts expressing an abnormal expansion of polyglutamines. HD lymphoblasts further exhibited increased intracellular Ca2+ levels before and after exposure to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and decreased mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation, being the later recovered by IGF-1 and insulin in HD lymphoblasts pre-exposed to H2O2. In summary, the data support an important role for IR/IGF-1R mediated activation of signaling pathways and improved mitochondrial and metabolic function in HD human lymphoblasts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that is best known for its effect on motor control. Mood disturbances such as depression, anxiety, and irritability also have a high prevalence in patients with HD, and often start before the onset of motor symptoms. Various rodent models of HD recapitulate the anxiety/depressive behavior seen in patients. HD is caused by an expanded polyglutamine stretch in the N-terminal part of a 350 kDa protein called huntingtin (HTT). HTT is ubiquitously expressed and is implicated in several cellular functions including control of transcription, vesicular trafficking, ciliogenesis, and mitosis. This review summarizes progress in efforts to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying behavioral disorders in patients with HD. Dysfunctional HTT affects cellular pathways that are involved in mood disorders or in the response to antidepressants, including BDNF/TrkB and serotonergic signaling. Moreover, HTT affects adult hippocampal neurogenesis, a physiological phenomenon that is implicated in some of the behavioral effects of antidepressants and is linked to the control of anxiety. These findings are consistent with the emerging role of wild-type HTT as a crucial component of neuronal development and physiology. Thus, the pathogenic polyQ expansion in HTT could lead to mood disorders not only by the gain of a new toxic function but also by the perturbation of its normal function.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:135. · 4.16 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant disease caused by an expansion of CAG repeats in the gene encoding for huntingtin. Brain metabolic dysfunction and altered Akt signaling pathways have been associated with disease progression. Nevertheless, conflicting results persist regarding the role of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)/Akt pathway in HD. While high plasma levels of IGF-1 correlated with cognitive decline in HD patients, other data showed protective effects of IGF-1 in HD striatal neurons and R6/2 mice. Thus, in the present study, we investigated motor phenotype, peripheral and central metabolic profile, and striatal and cortical signaling pathways in YAC128 mice subjected to intranasal administration of recombinant human IGF-1 (rhIGF-1) for 2 weeks, in order to promote IGF-1 delivery to the brain. We show that IGF-1 supplementation enhances IGF-1 cortical levels and improves motor activity and both peripheral and central metabolic abnormalities in YAC128 mice. Moreover, decreased Akt activation in HD mice brain was ameliorated following IGF-1 administration. Upregulation of Akt following rhIGF-1 treatment occurred concomitantly with increased phosphorylation of mutant huntingtin on Ser421. These data suggest that intranasal administration of rhIGF-1 ameliorates HD-associated glucose metabolic brain abnormalities and mice phenotype.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence suggests that the dysregulation of fast axonal transport (FAT) plays a crucial role in several neurodegenerative disorders. Some of these diseases are caused by mutations affecting the molecular motors or adaptors that mediate FAT, and transport defects in organelles such as mitochondria and vesicles are observed in most, if not all neurodegenerative disorders. The relationship between neurodegenerative disorders and FAT is probably due to the extreme polarization of neurons, which extend long processes such as axons and dendrites. These characteristics render neurons particularly sensitive to transport alterations. Here we review the impact of such alterations on neuronal survival. We also discuss various strategies that might restore FAT, potentially slowing disease progression.
Trends in cell biology 09/2013; · 12.12 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease, characterized by motor defects and psychiatric symptoms, including mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. HD is caused by an abnormal polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) protein. The development and analysis of various mouse models that express pathogenic polyQ-HTT revealed a link between mutant HTT and the development of anxio-depressive behaviors and various hippocampal neurogenesis defects. However, it is unclear whether such phenotype is linked to alteration of HTT wild-type function in adults. Here, we report the analysis of a new mouse model in which HTT is inducibly deleted from adult mature cortical and hippocampal neurons using the CreER(T2)/Lox system. These mice present defects in both the survival and the dendritic arborization of hippocampal newborn neurons. Our data suggest that these non-cell autonomous effects are linked to defects in both BDNF transport and release upon HTT silencing in hippocampal neurons, and in BDNF/TrkB signaling. The controlled deletion of HTT also had anxiogenic-like effects. Our results implicate endogenous wild-type HTT in adult hippocampal neurogenesis and in the control of mood disorders.
PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e73902. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington disease (HD) is associated with early psychiatric symptoms including anxiety and depression. Here, we demonstrate that wild-type huntingtin, the protein mutated in HD, modulates anxiety/depression-related behaviors according to its phosphorylation at serines 1181 and 1201. Genetic phospho-ablation at serines 1181 and 1201 in mouse reduces basal levels of anxiety/depression-like behaviors. We observe that the reduction in anxiety/depression-like phenotypes is associated with increased adult hippocampal neurogenesis. By improving the attachment of molecular motors to microtubules, huntingtin dephosphorylation increases axonal transport of BDNF, a crucial factor for hippocampal adult neurogenesis. Consequently, the huntingtin-mediated increased BDNF dynamics lead to an increased delivery and signaling of hippocampal BDNF. These results support the notion that huntingtin participates in anxiety and depression-like behavior and is thus relevant to the etiology of mood disorders and anxiety/depression in HD.
Journal of Neuroscience 05/2013; 33(20):8608-20. · 6.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntingtin (HTT), the protein mutated in Huntington's disease (HD), controls transport of the neurotrophin, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), within corticostriatal neurons. Transport and delivery of BDNF to the striatum are reduced in disease, which contributes to striatal neuron degeneration. BDNF released by cortical neurons activates TrkB receptors at striatal dendrites to promote striatum survival. However, it remains to be determined whether transport of TrkB, the BDNF receptor, depends on HTT and whether such transport is altered in mutant situation. Here we show that TrkB binds to and colocalizes with HTT and dynein. Silencing HTT reduces vesicular transport of TrkB in striatal neurons. In HD, the polyQ expansion in HTT alters the binding of TrkB-containing vesicles to microtubules and reduces transport. Using a combination of microfluidic devices that isolate dendrites from cell bodies and BDNF coupled to quantum dots, we selectively analyzed TrkB retrograde transport in response to BDNF stimulation at dendrite terminals. We show that the retrograde transport of TrkB vesicles within striatal dendrites and the BDNF/TrkB-induced signaling through ERK phosphorylation and c-fos induction are decreased in neurons from an HD mouse model. Together, our findings demonstrate that HTT is a crucial regulator of TrkB trafficking. Transport defects in HD are not restricted to BDNF transport in cortical neurons but also affect trafficking of its ligand-bound receptor in the striatal neurons. This transport alteration may further impair BDNF-TrkB survival signaling within the corticostriatal connection that is most affected in HD.
Journal of Neuroscience 04/2013; 33(15):6298-309. · 6.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a devastating dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by an abnormal polyglutamine expansion in the N-terminal part of the huntingtin (HTT) protein. HTT is a large scaffold protein that interacts with more than a hundred proteins and is probably involved in several cellular functions. The mutation is dominant, and is thought to confer new and toxic functions to the protein. However, there is emerging evidence that the mutation also alters HTT's normal functions. Therefore, HD models need to recapitulate this duality if they are to be relevant. Drosophila melanogaster is a useful in vivo model, widely used to study HD through the overexpression of full-length or N-terminal fragments of mutant human HTT. However, it is unclear whether Drosophila huntingtin (DmHTT) shares functions similar to the mammalian HTT. Here, we used various complementary approaches to analyze the function of DmHTT in fast axonal transport. We show that DmHTT interacts with the molecular motor dynein, associates with vesicles and co-sediments with microtubules. DmHTT co-localizes with Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-containing vesicles in rat cortical neurons and partially replaces mammalian HTT in a fast axonal transport assay. DmHTT-KO flies show a reduced fast axonal transport of synaptotagmin vesicles in motoneurons in vivo. These results suggest that the function of HTT in axonal transport is conserved between flies and mammals. Our study therefore validates Drosophila melanogaster as a model to study HTT function, and its dysfunction associated with HD.
PLoS ONE 03/2013; 8(3):e60162. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fast axonal transport (FAT) requires consistent energy over long distances to fuel the molecular motors that transport vesicles. We demonstrate that glycolysis provides ATP for the FAT of vesicles. Although inhibiting ATP production from mitochondria did not affect vesicles motility, pharmacological or genetic inhibition of the glycolytic enzyme GAPDH reduced transport in cultured neurons and in Drosophila larvae. GAPDH localizes on vesicles via a huntingtin-dependent mechanism and is transported on fast-moving vesicles within axons. Purified motile vesicles showed GAPDH enzymatic activity and produced ATP. Finally, we show that vesicular GAPDH is necessary and sufficient to provide on-board energy for fast vesicular transport. Although detaching GAPDH from vesicles reduced transport, targeting GAPDH to vesicles was sufficient to promote FAT in GAPDH deficient neurons. This specifically localized glycolytic machinery may supply constant energy, independent of mitochondria, for the processive movement of vesicles over long distances in axons. PAPERFLICK:
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cilia are unique cellular organelles found in nearly all cell types. In recent years, the importance of these organelles has been highlighted by the discovery that mutations in genes encoding proteins related to cilia biogenesis and function cause a class of complex syndromes termed ciliopathies. Emerging evidence suggests interactions among the various ciliopathy-associated proteins, but the precise mechanisms by which these interactions generate functional networks have remained elusive. In this issue of the JCI, Rachel and colleagues have now clearly linked two ciliopathy-associated proteins (CEP290 and MKKS). Surprisingly, the effects of a hypomorphic disease-causing Cep290 allele were rescued by loss of MKKS function, suggesting that it might be possible to treat some ciliopathies by fine-tuning interactions within the expanding ciliary network.
The Journal of clinical investigation 03/2012; 122(4):1198-202. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Huntington's disease (HD) is a devastating genetic neurodegenerative disorder. Major depressive disorder and more generally mood disorders are a major component of the symptoms during the pre-motor symptomatic stages of the disease. We report here that knock-in Hdh(Q111) mice, an animal model of HD, that carry an expanded polyglutamine stretch in the mouse HD protein show an anxio-depressive-like phenotype prior to any impairment of the locomotor function. Strikingly, whereas females develop preferentially a depressive-like behaviour, males had an increased anxiety-like phenotype. Since adult hippocampal neurogenesis has been associated to the pathophysiology and treatment of depression, we investigated whether changes in behavioural phenotypes are associated with proliferation or maturation impairments. Whereas cell proliferation was not affected in knock-in Hdh(Q111) mice, a male-specific marked decrease in late maturation of newborn neurons was observed in the adult dentate gyrus. Together, our results highlight sex differences in both behaviour and adult neurogenesis in a knock-in model of HD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polyglutamine (polyQ) stretches exceeding a threshold length confer a toxic function to proteins that contain them and cause at least nine neurological disorders. The basis for this toxicity threshold is unclear. Although polyQ expansions render proteins prone to aggregate into inclusion bodies, this may be a neuronal coping response to more toxic forms of polyQ. The exact structure of these more toxic forms is unknown. Here we show that the monoclonal antibody 3B5H10 recognizes a species of polyQ protein in situ that strongly predicts neuronal death. The epitope selectively appears among some of the many low-molecular-weight conformational states assumed by expanded polyQ and disappears in higher-molecular-weight aggregated forms, such as inclusion bodies. These results suggest that protein monomers and possibly small oligomers containing expanded polyQ stretches can adopt a conformation that is recognized by 3B5H10 and is toxic or closely related to a toxic species.
Nature Chemical Biology 12/2011; 7(12):925-34. · 12.95 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mecp2 deficiency or overexpression causes a wide spectrum of neurological diseases in humans among which Rett Syndrome is the prototype. Pathogenic mechanisms are thought to involve transcriptional deregulation of target genes such as Bdnf together with defects in the general transcriptional program of affected cells. Here we found that two master genes, Huntingtin (Htt) and huntingtin-associated protein (Hap1), involved in the control of Bdnf axonal transport, are altered in the brain of Mecp2-deficient mice. We also revealed an in vivo defect of Bdnf transport throughout the cortico striatal pathway of Mecp2-deficient animals. We found that the velocity of Bdnf-containing vesicles is reduced in vitro in the Mecp2-deficient axons and this deficit can be rescued by the re-expression of Mecp2. The defect in axonal transport is not restricted to Bdnf since transport of the amyloid precursor protein (App) that is Htt and Hap1-dependent is also altered. Finally, treating Mecp2-deficient mice with cysteamine, a molecule increasing the secretion of Bdnf vesicles, improved the lifespan and reduced motor defects, suggesting a new therapeutic strategy for Rett syndrome.
Neurobiology of Disease 11/2011; 45(2):786-95. · 5.62 Impact Factor