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J Biol Chem. 2005 Jun 17;280(24):22809-18. Epub 2005 Apr 11.

Modulation of prion-dependent polyglutamine aggregation and toxicity by chaperone proteins in the yeast model.

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School of Biology and Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, 30332, USA.


In yeast, aggregation and toxicity of the expanded polyglutamine fragment of human huntingtin strictly depend on the presence of the endogenous self-perpetuating aggregated proteins (prions), which contain glutamine/asparagine-rich domains. Some chaperones of the Hsp100/70/40 complex, modulating propagation of yeast prions, were also reported to influence polyglutamine aggregation in yeast, but it was not clear whether they do it directly or via affecting prions. Our data show that although some chaperone alterations indeed act on polyglutamines via curing endogenous prions, other alterations decrease size and ameliorate toxicity of polyglutamine aggregates without affecting prion propagation. Therefore, the role of yeast chaperones in polyglutamine aggregation and toxicity is not restricted only to their effects on the endogenous prions. Moreover, chaperone interactions with prion and polyglutamine aggregates appear to be of a highly specific nature. One and the same chaperone alteration, substitution A503V in the middle region of the chaperone Hsp104, exhibited opposite effects on one of the endogenous prions ([PSI(+)], the prion form of Sup35) and on polyglutamines, increasing aggregate size and toxicity in the former case and decreasing them in the latter case. On the other hand, different members of a single chaperone family exhibited opposite effects on one and the same type of aggregates: excess of the Hsp40 chaperone Ydj1 increased polyglutamine aggregate size and toxicity, whereas excess of the other Hsp40 chaperone, Sis1, decreased them. As many stress-defense proteins are conserved between yeast and mammals, these data shed light on possible mechanisms modulating polyglutamine aggregation and toxicity in mammalian cells.

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