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Acute polyglutamine expression in inducible mouse model unravels ubiquitin/proteasome system impairment and permanent recovery attributable to aggregate formation.

J Neurosci. 2010 Mar 10;30(10):3675-88

Authors: Ortega Z, Díaz-Hernández M, Maynard CJ, Hernández F, Dantuma NP, Lucas JJ

The presence of intracellular ubiquitylated inclusions in neurodegenerative disorders and the role of the ubiquitin/proteasome system (UPS) in degrading abnormal hazardous proteins have given rise to the hypothesis that UPS-impairment underlies neurodegenerative processes. However, this remains controversial for polyglutamine disorders such as Huntington disease (HD). Whereas studies in cellular models have provided evidence in favor of UPS-impairment attributable to expression of the N-terminal fragment of mutant huntingtin (N-mutHtt), similar studies on mouse models failed to do so. Furthermore, we have recently shown that the increase in polyubiquitin conjugates reported in the brain of N-mutHtt mice occurs in the absence of a general UPS-impairment. In the present study we aim to clarify the potential of N-mutHtt to impair UPS function in vivo as well as the mechanisms by which neurons may adapt after prolonged exposure to N-mutHtt in genetic models. By combining UPS reporter mice with an inducible mouse model of HD, we demonstrate for the first time polyglutamine-induced global UPS-impairment in vivo. UPS-impairment occurred transiently after acute N-mutHtt expression and restoration correlated with appearance of inclusion bodies (IBs). Consistently, UPS recovery did not take place when IB formation was prevented through administration of N-mutHtt aggregation-inhibitors in both cellular and animal models. Finally, no UPS-impairment was detected in old mice constitutively expressing N-mutHtt despite the age-associated decrease in brain proteasome activity. Therefore, our data reconcile previous contradictory reports by showing that N-mutHtt can indeed impair UPS function in vivo and that N-mutHtt aggregation leads to long lasting restoration of UPS function.

PMID: 20220001 [PubMed - in process]

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