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Nat Genet. 2002 Apr;30(4):367-76. Epub 2002 Mar 25.

A bivalent Huntingtin binding peptide suppresses polyglutamine aggregation and pathogenesis in Drosophila.

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Department of Biology, Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Huntington disease is caused by the expansion of a polyglutamine repeat in the Huntingtin protein (Htt) that leads to degeneration of neurons in the central nervous system and the appearance of visible aggregates within neurons. We have developed and tested suppressor polypeptides that bind mutant Htt and interfere with the process of aggregation in cell culture. In a Drosophila model, the most potent suppressor inhibits both adult lethality and photoreceptor neuron degeneration. The appearance of aggregates in photoreceptor neurons correlates strongly with the occurrence of pathology, and expression of suppressor polypeptides delays and limits the appearance of aggregates and protects photoreceptor neurons. These results suggest that targeting the protein interactions leading to aggregate formation may be beneficial for the design and development of therapeutic agents for Huntington disease.

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