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Hum Mol Genet. 2012 Dec 15;21(24):5280-93. doi: 10.1093/hmg/dds379. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Selective histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition imparts beneficial effects in Huntington's disease mice: implications for the ubiquitin-proteasomal and autophagy systems.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


We previously demonstrated that the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, 4b, which preferentially targets HDAC1 and HDAC3, ameliorates Huntington's disease (HD)-related phenotypes in different HD model systems. In the current study, we investigated extensive behavioral and biological effects of 4b in N171-82Q transgenic mice and further explored potential molecular mechanisms of 4b action. We found that 4b significantly prevented body weight loss, improved several parameters of motor function and ameliorated Huntingtin (Htt)-elicited cognitive decline in N171-82Q transgenic mice. Pathways analysis of microarray data from the mouse brain revealed gene networks involving post-translational modification, including protein phosphorylation and ubiquitination pathways, associated with 4b drug treatment. Using real-time qPCR analysis, we validated differential regulation of several genes in these pathways by 4b, including Ube2K, Ubqln, Ube2e3, Usp28 and Sumo2, as well as several other related genes. Additionally, 4b elicited increases in the expression of genes encoding components of the inhibitor of kappaB kinase (IKK) complex. IKK activation has been linked to phosphorylation, acetylation and clearance of the Htt protein by the proteasome and the lysosome, and accordingly, we found elevated levels of phosphorylated endogenous wild-type (wt) Htt protein at serine 16 and threonine 3, and increased AcK9/pS13/pS16 immunoreactivity in cortical samples from 4b-treated mice. We further show that HDAC inhibitors prevent the formation of nuclear Htt aggregates in the brains of N171-82Q mice. Our findings suggest that one mechanism of 4b action is associated with the modulation of the ubiquitin-proteasomal and autophagy pathways, which could affect accumulation, stability and/or clearance of important disease-related proteins, such as Htt.

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