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FEBS J. 2010 Dec;277(23):4873-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2010.07893.x. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Proteolytic processing regulates pathological accumulation in dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy.

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  • 1Laboratory of Research Resources, Research Institute for Longevity Sciences, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, Aichi, Japan.


Dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy is caused by polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion in atrophin-1 (ATN1). Recent studies have shown that nuclear accumulation of ATN1 and cleaved fragments with expanded polyQ is the pathological process underlying neurodegeneration in dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy. However, the mechanism underlying the proteolytic processing of ATN1 remains unclear. In the present study, we examined the proteolytic processing of ATN1 aiming to understand the mechanisms of ATN1 accumulation with polyQ expansion. Using COS-7 and Neuro2a cells that express the ATN1 gene, in which ATN1 was accumulated by increasing the number of polyQs, we identified a novel C-terminal fragment containing a polyQ tract. The mutant C-terminal fragment with expanded polyQ selectively accumulated in the cells, and this was also demonstrated in the brain tissues of patients with dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy. Immunocytochemical and biochemical studies revealed that full-length ATN1 and C-terminal fragments displayed individual localization. The mutant C-terminal fragment was preferentially found in the cytoplasmic membrane/organelle and insoluble fractions. Accordingly, it is assumed that the proteolytic processing of ATN1 regulates the localization of C-terminal fragments. Accumulation of the C-terminal fragment was enhanced by inhibition of caspases in the cytoplasm of COS-7 cells. Collectively, these results suggest that the C-terminal fragment plays a principal role in the pathological accumulation of ATN1 in dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy.

© 2010 The Authors Journal compilation © 2010 FEBS.

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