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J Neurochem. 2011 Nov;119(3):630-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2011.07444.x. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Targeted disruption of neuronal 19S proteasome subunits induces the formation of ubiquitinated inclusions in the absence of cell death.

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Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, Division of Basic Neurosciences, Athens, Greece.


Proteasome-mediated proteolysis is a major protein degradation mechanism in cells and its dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases, each with the common features of neuronal death and formation of ubiquitinated inclusions found within neurites, the cell body, or nucleus. Previous models of proteasome dysfunction have employed pharmacological inhibition of the catalytic subunits of the 20S proteasome core, or the genetic manipulation of specific subunits resulting in altered proteasome assembly. In this study, we report the use of dominant negative subunits of the 19S regulatory proteasome complex that mediate the recognition of ubiquitinated substrates as well as the removal of the poly-ubiquitin chain. Interestingly, while each mutant subunit-induced inclusion formation, like that seen with pharmacological inhibition of the 20S proteasome, none was able to induce apoptotic death, or trigger activation of macroautophagy, in either dopaminergic cell lines or primary cortical neurons. This finding highlights the dissociation between the mechanisms of neuronal inclusion formation and the induction of cell death, and represents a novel cellular model for Lewy body-like inclusion formation in neurons.

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