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J Neurochem. 2004 Oct;91(1):57-68.

Increased expression of p62 in expanded polyglutamine-expressing cells and its association with polyglutamine inclusions.

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Laboratory for Structural Neuropathology, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako-shi, Saitama, Japan.


Huntington's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that is associated with a CAG repeat expansion in the gene encoding huntingtin. We found that a 60-kDa protein was increased in Neuro2a cells expressing the N-terminal portion of huntingtin with expanded polyglutamine. We purified this protein, and, using mass spectrometry, identified it as p62, an ubiquitin-associated domain-containing protein. A specific p62 antibody stained the ubiquitylated polyQ inclusions in expanded polyglutamine-expressing cells, as well as in the brain of the huntingtin exon 1 transgenic mice. Furthermore, the level of p62 protein and mRNA was increased in expanded polyglutamine-expressing cells. We also found that p62 formed aggresome-like inclusions when p62 was increased in normal Neuro2a cells by a proteasome inhibitor. Knock-down of p62 does not affect the formation of aggresomes or polyglutamine inclusions, suggesting that p62 is recruited to the aggresome or inclusions secondary to their formation. These results suggest that p62 may play important roles as a responsive protein to a polyglutamine-induced stress rather than as a cross-linker between ubiquitylated proteins.

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