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PLoS One. 2010 Feb 4;5(2):e9053. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009053.

F-actin binding regions on the androgen receptor and huntingtin increase aggregation and alter aggregate characteristics.

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Department of Neurology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America.


Protein aggregation is associated with neurodegeneration. Polyglutamine expansion diseases such as spinobulbar muscular atrophy and Huntington disease feature proteins that are destabilized by an expanded polyglutamine tract in their N-termini. It has previously been reported that intracellular aggregation of these target proteins, the androgen receptor (AR) and huntingtin (Htt), is modulated by actin-regulatory pathways. Sequences that flank the polyglutamine tract of AR and Htt might influence protein aggregation and toxicity through protein-protein interactions, but this has not been studied in detail. Here we have evaluated an N-terminal 127 amino acid fragment of AR and Htt exon 1. The first 50 amino acids of ARN127 and the first 14 amino acids of Htt exon 1 mediate binding to filamentous actin in vitro. Deletion of these actin-binding regions renders the polyglutamine-expanded forms of ARN127 and Htt exon 1 less aggregation-prone, and increases the SDS-solubility of aggregates that do form. These regions thus appear to alter the aggregation frequency and type of polyglutamine-induced aggregation. These findings highlight the importance of flanking sequences in determining the propensity of unstable proteins to misfold.

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