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Depletion of p62 reduces nuclear inclusions and paradoxically ameliorates disease phenotypes in Huntington's model mice.

Human molecular genetics (2014-10-12)
Masaru Kurosawa, Gen Matsumoto, Yoshihiro Kino, Misako Okuno, Mizuki Kurosawa-Yamada, Chika Washizu, Harumi Taniguchi, Kazuhiro Nakaso, Toru Yanagawa, Eiji Warabi, Tomomi Shimogori, Takashi Sakurai, Nobutaka Hattori, Nobuyuki Nukina
ABSTRACT

Huntington's disease (HD) is a dominantly inherited genetic disease caused by mutant huntingtin (htt) protein with expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) tracts. A neuropathological hallmark of HD is the presence of neuronal inclusions of mutant htt. p62 is an important regulatory protein in selective autophagy, a process by which aggregated proteins are degraded, and it is associated with several neurodegenerative disorders including HD. Here, we investigated the effect of p62 depletion in three HD model mice: R6/2, HD190QG and HD120QG mice. We found that loss of p62 in these models led to longer life spans and reduced nuclear inclusions, although cytoplasmic inclusions increased with polyQ length. In mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) with or without p62, mutant htt with a nuclear localization signal (NLS) showed no difference in nuclear inclusion between the two MEF types. In the case of mutant htt without NLS, however, p62 depletion increased cytoplasmic inclusions. Furthermore, to examine the effect of impaired autophagy in HD model mice, we crossed R6/2 mice with Atg5 conditional knockout mice. These mice also showed decreased nuclear inclusions and increased cytoplasmic inclusions, similar to HD mice lacking p62. These data suggest that the genetic ablation of p62 in HD model mice enhances cytoplasmic inclusion formation by interrupting autophagic clearance of polyQ inclusions. This reduces polyQ nuclear influx and paradoxically ameliorates disease phenotypes by decreasing toxic nuclear inclusions.

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