Impairment of the ubiquitin/proteasome system has been proposed to play a role in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases. Although recent studies confirmed that some disease-related proteins block proteasomal degradation, and despite the existence of excellent animal models of both diseases, in vivo data about the system are lacking. We have developed a model for in vivo analysis of the ubiquitin/proteasome system by generating mouse strains transgenic for a green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter carrying a constitutively active degradation signal. Administration of proteasome inhibitors to the transgenic animals resulted in a substantial accumulation of GFP in multiple tissues, confirming the in vivo functionality of the reporter. Moreover, accumulation of the reporter was induced in primary neurons by UBB+1, an aberrant ubiquitin found in Alzheimer disease. These transgenic animals provide a tool for monitoring the status of the ubiquitin/proteasome system in physiologic or pathologic conditions.
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