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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mutant huntingtin protein: a substrate for transglutaminase 1, 2, and 3.

The most prominent neuropathologic hallmarks of Huntington disease ( HD) are cortical and striatal perinuclear cytoplasmic aggregates and intranuclear inclusions of mutant huntingtin. Our laboratory previously demonstrated that huntingtin protein colocalizes with transglutaminase 2 and its product, the epsilon-(gamma-glutamyl)lysine bond in intranuclear inclusions in HD frontal cortex. We also found that transglutaminase 2 cross- links N-terminal fragments of mutant huntingtin (htt-N63-148Q-myc) in cells in culture. We now report a significant increase in transglutaminase 2 mRNA in HD cortex (225% of controls) and striatum (399% of controls). Expression of the short transglutaminase 2 mRNA splice variant was not detectable in HD, although previous studies demonstrated upregulation in Alzheimer disease and progressive supranuclear palsy. Cells co-transfected with GFP-tagged transglutaminase 1, 2, or 3 and htt-N63-148Q-myc exhibit increased cross-linked huntingtin in the insoluble fraction of cell lysates. Treatment of cells with cystamine, a chemical inhibitor of transglutaminase, decreased aggregated and cross-linked huntingtin and increased viability of cells that were transfected with transglutaminase 2 and htt-N63-148Q-myc. These data suggest that transglutaminase 1, 2, and 3 could be involved in cross-linking of huntingtin into intranuclear inclusions in HD and that inhibiting transglutaminase should be explored as a potential treatment strategy for HD.[1]


  1. Mutant huntingtin protein: a substrate for transglutaminase 1, 2, and 3. Zainelli, G.M., Dudek, N.L., Ross, C.A., Kim, S.Y., Muma, N.A. J. Neuropathol. Exp. Neurol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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