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      Suppression of MAPK11 or HIPK3 reduces mutant Huntingtin levels in Huntington's disease models


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          Most neurodegenerative disorders are associated with accumulation of disease-relevant proteins. Among them, Huntington disease (HD) is of particular interest because of its monogenetic nature. HD is mainly caused by cytotoxicity of the defective protein encoded by the mutant Huntingtin gene ( HTT). Thus, lowering mutant HTT protein (mHTT) levels would be a promising treatment strategy for HD. Here we report two kinases HIPK3 and MAPK11 as positive modulators of mHTT levels both in cells and in vivo. Both kinases regulate mHTT via their kinase activities, suggesting that inhibiting these kinases may have therapeutic values. Interestingly, their effects on HTT levels are mHTT-dependent, providing a feedback mechanism in which mHTT enhances its own level thus contributing to mHTT accumulation and disease progression. Importantly, knockout of MAPK11 significantly rescues disease-relevant behavioral phenotypes in a knockin HD mouse model. Collectively, our data reveal new therapeutic entry points for HD and target-discovery approaches for similar diseases.

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          Most cited references57

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          How to interpret LC3 immunoblotting.

          Microtubule-associated protein light chain 3 (LC3) is now widely used to monitor autophagy. One approach is to detect LC3 conversion (LC3-I to LC3-II) by immunoblot analysis because the amount of LC3-II is clearly correlated with the number of autophagosomes. However, LC3-II itself is degraded by autophagy, making interpretation of the results of LC3 immunoblotting problematic. Furthermore, the amount of LC3 at a certain time point does not indicate autophagic flux, and therefore, it is important to measure the amount of LC3-II delivered to lysosomes by comparing LC3-II levels in the presence and absence of lysosomal protease inhibitors. Another problem with this method is that LC3-II tends to be much more sensitive to be detected by immunoblotting than LC3-I. Accordingly, simple comparison of LC3-I and LC3-II, or summation of LC3-I and LC3-II for ratio determinations, may not be appropriate, and rather, the amount of LC3-II can be compared between samples.
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            Full-length human mutant huntingtin with a stable polyglutamine repeat can elicit progressive and selective neuropathogenesis in BACHD mice.

            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.
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              Dominant phenotypes produced by the HD mutation in STHdh(Q111) striatal cells.

              Lengthening a glutamine tract in huntingtin confers a dominant attribute that initiates degeneration of striatal neurons in Huntington's disease (HD). To identify pathways that are candidates for the mutant protein's abnormal function, we compared striatal cell lines established from wild-type and Hdh(Q111) knock-in embryos. Alternate versions of full-length huntingtin, distinguished by epitope accessibility, were localized to different sets of nuclear and perinuclear organelles involved in RNA biogenesis and membrane trafficking. However, mutant STHdh(Q111) cells also exhibited additional forms of the full-length mutant protein and displayed dominant phenotypes that did not mirror phenotypes caused by either huntingtin deficiency or excess. These phenotypes indicate a disruption of striatal cell homeostasis by the mutant protein, via a mechanism that is separate from its normal activity. They also support specific stress pathways, including elevated p53, endoplasmic reticulum stress response and hypoxia, as potential players in HD.

                Author and article information

                Cell Res
                Cell Res
                Cell Research
                Nature Publishing Group
                December 2017
                13 October 2017
                1 December 2017
                : 27
                : 12
                : 1441-1465
                [1 ]State Key Laboratory of Medical Neurobiology, Huashan Hospital, School of Life Sciences, Collaborative Innovation Center for Genetics and Development, Fudan University , Shanghai 200438, China.
                [2 ]Department of Anatomy and Histology & Embryology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University , Shanghai 200032, China.
                [3 ]Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Institute of Translational and Stratified Medicine, University of Plymouth , Research Way, Plymouth, PL68BU, UK.
                Author notes

                These three authors contributed equally to this work

                Copyright © 2017 The Author(s) 2017

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

                : 16 May 2017
                : 14 June 2017
                : 08 August 2017
                Original Article

                Cell biology
                polyq,high-throughput screening,protein homeostasis,kinase,positive feedback mechanism,neurodegenerative disorders


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