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Curr Biol. 2000 Dec 14-28;10(24):1603-6.

FIP-2, a coiled-coil protein, links Huntingtin to Rab8 and modulates cellular morphogenesis.

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Institute of Biotechnology, Program in Cellular Biotechnology, P.O. Box 56 (Viikinkaari 9), FIN-00014, University of Helsinki, Finland.


Huntington's disease is characterised by the death of cortical and striatal neurons, and is the result of an expanded polyglutamine tract in the Huntingtin protein [1]. Huntingtin is present on both endocytic and secretory membrane organelles but its function is unclear [2,3]. Rab GTPases regulate both of these transport pathways [4]. We have previously shown that Rab8 controls polarised membrane transport by modulating cell morphogenesis [5]. To understand Rab8-mediated processes, we searched for Rab8-interacting proteins by the yeast two-hybrid system. Here, we report that Huntingtin is linked to the Rab8 protein through FIP-2, a tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-inducible coiled-coil protein related to the NEMO protein [6,7]. The activated form of Rab8 interacted with the amino-terminal region of FIP-2, whereas dominant-negative Rab8 did not. Huntingtin bound to the carboxy-terminal region of FIP-2. Coexpressed FIP-2 and Huntingtin enhanced the recruitment of Huntingtin to Rab8-positive vesicular structures, and FIP-2 promoted cell polarisation in a similar way to Rab8. We propose a model in which Huntingtin, together with FIP-2 and Rab8, are part of a protein network that regulates membrane trafficking and cellular morphogenesis.

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