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Nat Neurosci. 2006 Jul;9(7):907-16. Epub 2006 Jun 4.

JNK mediates pathogenic effects of polyglutamine-expanded androgen receptor on fast axonal transport.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Expansion of the polyglutamine (polyQ) stretch in the androgen receptor (AR) protein leads to spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), a neurodegenerative disease characterized by lower motor neuron degeneration. The pathogenic mechanisms underlying SBMA remain unknown, but recent experiments show that inhibition of fast axonal transport (FAT) by polyQ-expanded proteins, including polyQ-AR, represents a new cytoplasmic pathogenic lesion. Using pharmacological, biochemical and cell biological experiments, we found a new pathogenic pathway that is affected in SBMA and results in compromised FAT. PolyQ-AR inhibits FAT in a human cell line and in squid axoplasm through a pathway that involves activation of cJun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activity. Active JNK phosphorylated kinesin-1 heavy chains and inhibited kinesin-1 microtubule-binding activity. JNK inhibitors prevented polyQ-AR-mediated inhibition of FAT and reversed suppression of neurite formation by polyQ-AR. We propose that JNK represents a promising target for therapeutic interventions in SBMA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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