Proteolysis of polyglutamine-expanded proteins is thought to be a required step in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases. The accepted view for many polyglutamine proteins is that proteolysis of the mutant protein produces a "toxic fragment" that induces neuronal dysfunction and death in a soluble form; toxicity of the fragment is buffered by its incorporation into amyloid-like inclusions. In contrast to this view, we show that, in the polyglutamine disease spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, proteolysis of the mutant androgen receptor (AR) is a late event. Immunocytochemical and biochemical analyses revealed that the mutant AR aggregates as a full-length protein, becoming proteolyzed to a smaller fragment through a process requiring the proteasome after it is incorporated into intranuclear inclusions. Moreover, the toxicity-predicting conformational antibody 3B5H10 bound to soluble full-length AR species but not to fragment-containing nuclear inclusions. These data suggest that the AR is toxic as a full-length protein, challenging the notion of polyglutamine protein fragment-associated toxicity by redefining the role of AR proteolysis in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy pathogenesis.
Heine, Erin M; Berger, Tamar R; Pluciennik, Anna; Orr, Christopher R; Zboray, Lori; and Merry, Diane E, "Proteasome-mediated proteolysis of the polyglutamine-expanded androgen receptor is a late event in spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) pathogenesis." (2015). Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 206.
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