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

Ectoine alters subcellular localization of inclusions and reduces apoptotic cell death induced by the truncated Machado-Joseph disease gene product with an expanded polyglutamine stretch.

Protein misfolding is considered a key event in the pathogenesis of polyglutamine disease such as Machado-Joseph disease (MJD). Overexpression of chaperone proteins and the application of chemical chaperones are reported to suppress polyglutamine induced cytotoxicity in vitro and in vivo. The effects of compatible solutes, which are osmoprotectants in bacteria and possess the action in stabilizing proteins under stress, have not, to our knowledge, been studied. We explored the protective effects of the compatible solutes ectoine, hydroxyectoine, and betaine on apoptotic cell death produced by the truncated MJD gene product with an expanded polyglutamine tract in cultured neuro2a cells. Ectoine, but not hydroxyectoine or betaine, decreased large cytoplasmic inclusions and increased the frequency of nuclear inclusions. Immunoblot analysis showed that ectoine reduced the total amount of aggregates. Despite the presence of nuclear inclusions, apoptotic features were less frequently observed after ectoine application. Our findings suggest that ectoine, a natural osmoprotectant in bacteria, may function as a novel molecule protecting cells from polyglutamine-induced toxicity.[1]


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