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Huntingtin controls neurotrophic support and survival of neurons by enhancing BDNF vesicular transport along microtubules.

Cell | Jul 9, 2004

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15242649

Polyglutamine expansion (polyQ) in the protein huntingtin is pathogenic and responsible for the neuronal toxicity associated with Huntington's disease (HD). Although wild-type huntingtin possesses antiapoptotic properties, the relationship between the neuroprotective functions of huntingtin and pathogenesis of HD remains unclear. Here, we show that huntingtin specifically enhances vesicular transport of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) along microtubules. Huntingtin-mediated transport involves huntingtin-associated protein-1 (HAP1) and the p150(Glued) subunit of dynactin, an essential component of molecular motors. BDNF transport is attenuated both in the disease context and by reducing the levels of wild-type huntingtin. The alteration of the huntingtin/HAP1/p150(Glued) complex correlates with reduced association of motor proteins with microtubules. Finally, we find that the polyQ-huntingtin-induced transport deficit results in the loss of neurotrophic support and neuronal toxicity. Our findings indicate that a key role of huntingtin is to promote BDNF transport and suggest that loss of this function might contribute to pathogenesis.

Pubmed ID: 15242649 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Animals | Biological Transport | Brain | Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor | Cell Survival | Cells, Cultured | Cytoplasmic Vesicles | DNA-Binding Proteins | Mice | Microtubule-Associated Proteins | Microtubules | Models, Biological | Nerve Tissue Proteins | Neurons | Nuclear Proteins

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Associated grants

  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: MH/NS 31862

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