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J Cell Biol. 2006 Jul 3;174(1):65-76.

PML clastosomes prevent nuclear accumulation of mutant ataxin-7 and other polyglutamine proteins.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale U679, Neurologie et Thérapeutique Expérimentale, 75651 Paris Cedex 13, France.


The pathogenesis of spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 and other neurodegenerative polyglutamine (polyQ) disorders correlates with the aberrant accumulation of toxic polyQ-expanded proteins in the nucleus. Promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) nuclear bodies are often present in polyQ aggregates, but their relation to pathogenesis is unclear. We show that expression of PML isoform IV leads to the formation of distinct nuclear bodies enriched in components of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. These bodies recruit soluble mutant ataxin-7 and promote its degradation by proteasome-dependent proteolysis, thus preventing the aggregate formation. Inversely, disruption of the endogenous nuclear bodies with cadmium increases the nuclear accumulation and aggregation of mutant ataxin-7, demonstrating their role in ataxin-7 turnover. Interestingly, beta-interferon treatment, which induces the expression of endogenous PML IV, prevents the accumulation of transiently expressed mutant ataxin-7 without affecting the level of the endogenous wild-type protein. Therefore, clastosomes represent a potential therapeutic target for preventing polyQ disorders.

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