Mutant huntingtin promotes the fibrillogenesis of wild-type huntingtin - A potential mechanism for loss of huntingtin function in Huntington's disease


  • A. Busch
  • S. Engemann
  • R. Lurz
  • H. Okazawa
  • H. Lehrach
  • E.E. Wanker


  • Journal of Biological Chemistry


  • J Biol Chem 278 (42): 41452-41461


  • Aggregation of huntingtin (htt) in neuronal inclusions is associated with the development of Huntington's disease (HD). Previously, we have shown that mutant htt fragments with polyglutamine (polyQ) tracts in the pathological range (>37 glutamines) form SDS-resistant aggregates with a fibrillar morphology, whereas wild-type htt fragments with normal polyQ domains do not aggregate. In this study we have investigated the coaggregation of mutant and wild-type htt fragments. We found that mutant htt promotes the aggregation of wild-type htt, causing the formation of SDS-resistant co-aggregates with a fibrillar morphology. Conversely, mutant htt does not promote the fibrillogenesis of the polyQ-containing protein NOCT3 or the polyQ-binding protein PQBP1, although these proteins are recruited into inclusions containing mutant htt aggregates in mammalian cells. The formation of mixed htt fibrils is a highly selective process that not only depends on polyQ tract length but also on the surrounding amino acid sequence. Our data suggest that mutant and wild-type htt fragments may also co-aggregate in neurons of HD patients and that a loss of wild-type htt function may contribute to HD pathogenesis.