Aberrant E2F activation by polyglutamine expansion of androgen receptor in SBMA neurotoxicity

Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, University of Tokyo, 1-1-1 Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 03/2009; 106(10):3818-22. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0809819106
Source: PubMed


Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine repeat (polyQ) expansion within the human androgen receptor (AR). Unlike other neurodegenerative diseases caused by abnormal polyQ expansion, the onset of SBMA depends on androgen binding to mutant human polyQ-AR proteins. This is also observed in Drosophila eyes ectopically expressing the polyQ-AR mutants. We have genetically screened mediators of androgen-induced neurodegeneration caused by polyQ-AR mutants in Drosophila eyes. We identified Rbf (Retinoblastoma-family protein), the Drosophila homologue of human Rb (Retinoblastoma protein), as a neuroprotective factor. Androgen-dependent association of Rbf or Rb with AR was remarkably potentiated by aberrant polyQ expansion. Such potentiated Rb association appeared to attenuate recruitment of histone deacetyltransferase 1 (HDAC1), a corepressor of E2F function. Either overexpression of Rbf or E2F deficiency in fly eyes reduced the neurotoxicity of the polyQ-AR mutants. Induction of E2F function by polyQ-AR-bound androgen was suppressed by Rb in human neuroblastoma cells. We conclude that abnormal expansion of polyQ may potentiate innate androgen-dependent association of AR with Rb. This appears to lead to androgen-dependent onset of SBMA through aberrant E2F transactivation caused by suppressed histone deacetylation.

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    • "As nop5 and nop56 are part of the small nucleolar ribonucleoprotein complex, these results suggest translational regulation may play a role in the neurodegeneration observed in SBMA. Retinoblastoma family protein (Rbf), the Drosophila homolog of human retinoblastoma protein (Rb), was found to be a neuroprotective factor (Suzuki et al., 2009). Rb is known to function through repressing transcription of genes regulated by the E2F proteins. "
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA, Kennedy's disease), a late-onset neuromuscular disorder, is caused by expansion of the polymorphic polyglutamine tract in the androgen receptor (AR). The AR is a ligand-activated transcription factor, but plays roles in other cellular pathways. In SBMA, selective motor neuron degeneration occurs in the brainstem and spinal cord, thus the causes of neuronal dysfunction have been studied. However, pathogenic pathways in muscles may also be involved. Cultured cells, fly and mouse models are used to study the molecular mechanisms leading to SBMA. Both the structure of the polyglutamine-expanded AR (polyQ AR) and its interactions with other proteins are altered relative to the normal AR. The ligand-dependent translocation of the polyQ AR to the nucleus appears to be critical, as are interdomain interactions. The polyQ AR, or fragments thereof, can form nuclear inclusions, but their pathogenic or protective nature is unclear. Other data suggests soluble polyQ AR oligomers can be harmful. Post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation, acetylation, and ubiquitination influence AR function and modulate the deleterious effects of the polyQ AR. Transcriptional dysregulation is highly likely to be a factor in SBMA; deregulation of non-genomic AR signaling may also be involved. Studies on polyQ AR-protein degradation suggest inhibition of the ubiquitin proteasome system and changes to autophagic pathways may be relevant. Mitochondrial function and axonal transport may also be affected by the polyQ AR. Androgens, acting through the AR, can be neurotrophic and are important in muscle development; hence both loss of normal AR functions and gain of novel harmful functions by the polyQ AR can contribute to neurodegeneration and muscular atrophy. Thus investigations into polyQ AR function have shown that multiple complex mechanisms lead to the initiation and progression of SBMA.
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