The EMBO journal

Mutant Huntingtin reduces HSP70 expression through the sequestration of NF-Y transcription factor.

PMID 18288205


In Huntington's disease (HD), mutant Huntingtin, which contains expanded polyglutamine stretches, forms nuclear aggregates in neurons. The interactions of several transcriptional factors with mutant Huntingtin, as well as altered expression of many genes in HD models, imply the involvement of transcriptional dysregulation in the HD pathological process. The precise mechanism remains obscure, however. Here, we show that mutant Huntingtin aggregates interact with the components of the NF-Y transcriptional factor in vitro and in HD model mouse brain. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay using HD model mouse brain lysates showed reduction in NF-Y binding to the promoter region of HSP70, one of the NF-Y targets. RT-PCR analysis revealed reduced HSP70 expression in these brains. We further clarified the importance of NF-Y for HSP70 transcription in cultured neurons. These data indicate that mutant Huntingtin sequesters NF-Y, leading to the reduction of HSP70 gene expression in HD model mice brain. Because suppressive roles of HSP70 on the HD pathological process have been shown in several HD models, NF-Y could be an important target of mutant Huntingtin.