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Hum Mol Genet. 2008 Sep 1;17(17):2712-22. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddn173. Epub 2008 Jun 14.

Dystonia-associated mutations cause premature degradation of torsinA protein and cell-type-specific mislocalization to the nuclear envelope.

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Department of Pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322-3090, USA.


An in-frame 3 bp deletion in the torsinA gene resulting in the loss of a glutamate residue at position 302 or 303 (torsinA DeltaE) is the major cause for early-onset torsion dystonia (DYT1). In addition, an 18 bp deletion in the torsinA gene resulting in the loss of residues 323-328 (torsinA Delta323-8) has also been associated with dystonia. Here we report that torsinA DeltaE and torsinA Delta323-8 mutations cause neuronal cell-type-specific mislocalization of torsinA protein to the nuclear envelope without affecting torsinA oligomerization. Furthermore, both dystonia-associated mutations destabilize torsinA protein in dopaminergic cells. We find that wild-type torsinA protein is degraded primarily through the macroautophagy-lysosome pathway. In contrast, torsinA DeltaE and torsinA Delta323-8 mutant proteins are degraded by both the proteasome and macroautophagy-lysosome pathways. Our findings suggest that torsinA mutation-induced premature degradation may contribute to the pathogenesis of dystonia via a loss-of-function mechanism and underscore the importance of both the proteasome and macroautophagy in the clearance of dystonia-associated torsinA mutant proteins.

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