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      Ubiquitin-binding site 1 of pathogenic ataxin-3 regulates its toxicity in Drosophila models of Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3


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          Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3 (SCA3) is a member of the family of polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases that are caused by anomalous CAG triplet repeat expansions in several genes. SCA3 results from abnormal polyQ expansion in the deubiquitinase (DUB), ataxin-3 (Atxn3). To understand the role of the different domains of mutant Atxn3 on its pathogenicity, with the hope that they can be explored for therapeutic interventions, we have systematically studied their individual and collective effects on its toxicity. One such domain is ubiquitin-binding site 1 (UbS1) on the catalytic domain of Atxn3; UbS1 is necessary for the enzymatic activity of Atxn3. Here, we investigated the importance of UbS1 on the toxicity of pathogenic Atxn3. We generated transgenic Drosophila melanogaster lines that express polyQ-expanded Atxn3 with and without a functional UbS1. We found that mutating UbS1 markedly exacerbates the toxicity of pathogenic Atxn3. Additional studies indicated that UbS1 regulates the toxicity of Atxn3 not by affecting its aggregation or sub-cellular localization, but by impacting its role in ubiquitin processing. Our findings provide additional insights into the role of Atxn3’s domains in the pathogenicity of SCA3.

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          Targeted gene expression as a means of altering cell fates and generating dominant phenotypes

          We have designed a system for targeted gene expression that allows the selective activation of any cloned gene in a wide variety of tissue- and cell-specific patterns. The gene encoding the yeast transcriptional activator GAL4 is inserted randomly into the Drosophila genome to drive GAL4 expression from one of a diverse array of genomic enhancers. It is then possible to introduce a gene containing GAL4 binding sites within its promoter, to activate it in those cells where GAL4 is expressed, and to observe the effect of this directed misexpression on development. We have used GAL4-directed transcription to expand the domain of embryonic expression of the homeobox protein even-skipped. We show that even-skipped represses wingless and transforms cells that would normally secrete naked cuticle into denticle secreting cells. The GAL4 system can thus be used to study regulatory interactions during embryonic development. In adults, targeted expression can be used to generate dominant phenotypes for use in genetic screens. We have directed expression of an activated form of the Dras2 protein, resulting in dominant eye and wing defects that can be used in screens to identify other members of the Dras2 signal transduction pathway.
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            Exploiting position effects and the gypsy retrovirus insulator to engineer precisely expressed transgenes.

            A major obstacle to creating precisely expressed transgenes lies in the epigenetic effects of the host chromatin that surrounds them. Here we present a strategy to overcome this problem, employing a Gal4-inducible luciferase assay to systematically quantify position effects of host chromatin and the ability of insulators to counteract these effects at phiC31 integration loci randomly distributed throughout the Drosophila genome. We identify loci that can be exploited to deliver precise doses of transgene expression to specific tissues. Moreover, we uncover a previously unrecognized property of the gypsy retrovirus insulator to boost gene expression to levels severalfold greater than at most or possibly all un-insulated loci, in every tissue tested. These findings provide the first opportunity to create a battery of transgenes that can be reliably expressed at high levels in virtually any tissue by integration at a single locus, and conversely, to engineer a controlled phenotypic allelic series by exploiting several loci. The generality of our approach makes it adaptable to other model systems to identify and modify loci for optimal transgene expression.
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              Toward understanding Machado-Joseph disease.

              Machado-Joseph disease (MJD), also known as spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3), is the most common inherited spinocerebellar ataxia and one of many polyglutamine neurodegenerative diseases. In MJD, a CAG repeat expansion encodes an abnormally long polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in the disease protein, ATXN3. Here we review MJD, focusing primarily on the function and dysfunction of ATXN3 and on advances toward potential therapies. ATXN3 is a deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB) whose highly specialized properties suggest that it participates in ubiquitin-dependent proteostasis. By virtue of its interactions with VCP, various ubiquitin ligases and other ubiquitin-linked proteins, ATXN3 may help regulate the stability or activity of many proteins in diverse cellular pathways implicated in proteotoxic stress response, aging, and cell differentiation. Expansion of the polyQ tract in ATXN3 is thought to promote an altered conformation in the protein, leading to changes in interactions with native partners and to the formation of insoluble aggregates. The development of a wide range of cellular and animal models of MJD has been crucial to the emerging understanding of ATXN3 dysfunction upon polyQ expansion. Despite many advances, however, the principal molecular mechanisms by which mutant ATXN3 elicits neurotoxicity remain elusive. In a chronic degenerative disease like MJD, it is conceivable that mutant ATXN3 triggers multiple, interconnected pathogenic cascades that precipitate cellular dysfunction and eventual cell death. A better understanding of these complex molecular mechanisms will be important as scientists and clinicians begin to focus on developing effective therapies for this incurable, fatal disorder. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Front Neurosci
                Front Neurosci
                Front. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                17 January 2023
                : 16
                : 1112688
                [1] 1Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Wayne State University , Detroit, MI, United States
                [2] 2Maximizing Access to Research Careers Program, Wayne State University , Detroit, MI, United States
                [3] 3Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Wayne State University , Detroit, MI, United States
                Author notes

                Edited by: Udai Pandey, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, United States

                Reviewed by: Amit Singh, University of Dayton, United States; Eric Anderson, University of Pittsburgh, United States

                *Correspondence: Sokol V. Todi, stodi@ 123456wayne.edu

                This article was submitted to Neurodegeneration, a section of the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience

                Copyright © 2023 Prifti, Libohova, Harris, Tsou and Todi.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                : 30 November 2022
                : 21 December 2022
                Page count
                Figures: 6, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 46, Pages: 13, Words: 7690
                Funded by: Wayne State University, doi 10.13039/100006710;
                Funded by: National Institutes of Health, doi 10.13039/100000002;
                Funded by: National Institutes of Health, doi 10.13039/100000002;
                This work was supported by the Wayne State University Graduate School Dean’s Diversity Fellowship (MP), NIGMS T34GM140932 (AH), and NINDS R01NS086778 (ST).
                Original Research

                ataxia,cag triplet repeat,drosophila,misfolding and aggregation,neurodegeneration,polyglutamine (polyq),ubiquitin


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