Human molecular genetics

17-DMAG ameliorates polyglutamine-mediated motor neuron degeneration through well-preserved proteasome function in an SBMA model mouse.

PMID 19066230


The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is the principal protein degradation system that tags and targets short-lived proteins, as well as damaged or misfolded proteins, for destruction. In spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA), the androgen receptor (AR), an Hsp90 client protein, is such a misfolded protein that tends to aggregate in neurons. Hsp90 inhibitors promote the degradation of Hsp90 client proteins via the UPS. In a transgenic mouse model of SBMA, we examined whether a functioning UPS is preserved, if it was capable of degrading polyglutamine-expanded mutant AR, and what might be the therapeutic effects of 17-(dimethylaminoethylamino)-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-DMAG), an oral Hsp90 inhibitor. Ubiquitin-proteasomal function was well preserved in SBMA mice and was even increased during advanced stages when the mice developed severe phenotypes. Administration of 17-DMAG markedly ameliorated motor impairments in SBMA mice without detectable toxicity and reduced amounts of monomeric and nuclear-accumulated mutant AR. Mutant AR was preferentially degraded in the presence of 17-DMAG in both SBMA cell and mouse models when compared with wild-type AR. 17-DMAG also significantly induced Hsp70 and Hsp40. Thus, 17-DMAG would exert a therapeutic effect on SBMA via preserved proteasome function.