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J Cell Biol. 2005 May 23;169(4):647-56.

Cdk5 phosphorylation of huntingtin reduces its cleavage by caspases: implications for mutant huntingtin toxicity.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medical Genetics, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, CB2 2XY, England, UK.

Abstract

Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in the huntingtin (htt) protein. Mutant htt toxicity is exposed after htt cleavage by caspases and other proteases release NH(2)-terminal fragments containing the polyQ expansion. Here, we show htt interacts and colocalizes with cdk5 in cellular membrane fractions. Cdk5 phosphorylates htt at Ser434, and this phosphorylation reduces caspase-mediated htt cleavage at residue 513. Reduced mutant htt cleavage resulting from cdk5 phosphorylation attenuated aggregate formation and toxicity in cells expressing the NH(2)-terminal 588 amino acids (htt588) of mutant htt. Cdk5 activity is reduced in the brains of HD transgenic mice compared with controls. This result can be accounted for by the polyQ-expanded htt fragments reducing the interaction between cdk5 and its activator p35. These data predict that the ability of cdk5 phosphorylation to protect against htt cleavage, aggregation, and toxicity is compromised in cells expressing toxic fragments of htt.

PMID:
15911879
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2171695
Free PMC Article

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