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Dev Biol. 2014 Jul 15;391(2):230-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.04.005. Epub 2014 Apr 26.

Huntingtin protein is essential for mitochondrial metabolism, bioenergetics and structure in murine embryonic stem cells.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA.
  • 2Department of Pharmacology, Weill Cornell College of Medicine, 1300 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.
  • 3Department of Pharmacology, Weill Cornell College of Medicine, 1300 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA. Electronic address: ssgross@med.cornell.edu.
  • 4Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10065, USA. Electronic address: brvnlou@rockefeller.edu.

Abstract

Mutations in the Huntington locus (htt) have devastating consequences. Gain-of-poly-Q repeats in Htt protein causes Huntington's disease (HD), while htt(-/-) mutants display early embryonic lethality. Despite its importance, the function of Htt remains elusive. To address this, we compared more than 3700 compounds in three syngeneic mouse embryonic stem cell (mESC) lines: htt(-/-), extended poly-Q (Htt-Q140/7), and wild-type mESCs (Htt-Q7/7) using untargeted metabolite profiling. While Htt-Q140/7 cells did not show major differences in cellular bioenergetics, we find extensive metabolic aberrations in htt(-/-) mESCs, including (i) complete failure of ATP production despite preservation of the mitochondrial membrane potential; (ii) near-maximal glycolysis, with little or no glycolytic reserve; (iii) marked ketogenesis; (iv) depletion of intracellular NTPs; (v) accelerated purine biosynthesis and salvage; and (vi) loss of mitochondrial structural integrity. Together, our findings reveal that Htt is necessary for mitochondrial structure and function from the earliest stages of embryogenesis, providing a molecular explanation for htt(-/-) early embryonic lethality.

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS:

AMP kinase; Embryonic stem cells; Glycolysis; Huntington׳s Disease; LC-MS/MS; Metabolism; Metabolomics; Mitochondria; Mitochondrial bioenergetics; Mitochondrial respiration; Oxygen consumption; Untargeted metabolite profiling

PMID:
24780625
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4109978
[Available on 2015-07-15]
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