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J Neurosci. 2010 Mar 31;30(13):4552-61. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5865-09.2010.

Aberrant Rab11-dependent trafficking of the neuronal glutamate transporter EAAC1 causes oxidative stress and cell death in Huntington's disease.

Author information

  • 1Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory and Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA. xli12@partners.org

Abstract

Oxidative stress contributes to neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease (HD). However, the origins of oxidative stress in HD remain unclear. Studies in HD transgenic models suggest involvement of mitochondrial dysfunction, which would lead to overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Impaired mitochondria complexes occur in late stages of HD but not in presymptomatic or early-stage HD patients. Thus, other mechanisms may account for the earliest source of oxidative stress caused by endogenous mutant huntingtin. Here, we report that decreased levels of a major intracellular antioxidant glutathione coincide with accumulation of ROS in primary HD neurons prepared from embryos of HD knock-in mice (HD(140Q/140Q)), which have human huntingtin exon 1 with 140 CAG repeats inserted into the endogenous mouse huntingtin gene. Uptake of extracellular cysteine through the glutamate/cysteine transporter EAAC1 is required for de novo synthesis of glutathione in neurons. We found that, compared with wild-type neurons, HD neurons had lower cell surface levels of EAAC1 and were deficient in taking up cysteine. Constitutive trafficking of EAAC1 from recycling endosomes relies on Rab11 activity, which is defective in the brain of HD(140Q/140Q) mice. Enhancement of Rab11 activity by expression of a dominant-active Rab11 mutant in primary HD neurons ameliorated the deficit in cysteine uptake, increased levels of intracellular glutathione, normalized clearance of ROS, and improved neuronal survival. Our data support a novel mechanism for oxidative stress in HD: Rab11 dysfunction slows trafficking of EAAC1 to the cell surface and impairs cysteine uptake, thereby leading to deficient synthesis of glutathione.

PMID:
20357106
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3842456
Free PMC Article

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