Previous studies indicate that while transgenic mice with ATXN1[30Q]-D776-induced disease share pathological features caused by ATXN1[82Q] having an expanded polyglutamine tract, they fail to manifest the age-related progressive neurodegeneration seen in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1. The shared features include morphological alterations in climbing fiber (CF) innervation of Purkinje cells (PCs). To further investigate the ability of ataxin-1 (ATXN1) to impact CF/PC innervation, this study used morphological and functional approaches to examine CF/PC innervation during postnatal development in ATXN1[30Q]-D776 and ATXN1[82Q] cerebella. Notably, ATXN1[30Q]-D776 induced morphological alterations consistent with the development of the innervation of PCs by CFs being compromised, including a reduction of CF translocation along the PC dendritic tree, and decreased pruning of CF terminals from the PC soma. As previously shown for ATXN1[82Q], ATXN1[30Q]-D776 must enter the nucleus of PCs to induce these alterations. Experiments using conditional ATXN1[30Q]-D776 mice demonstrate that both the levels and specific timing of mutant ATXN1 expression are critical for alteration of the CF-PC synapse. Together these observations suggest that ATXN1, expressed exclusively in PCs, alters expression of a gene(s) in the postsynaptic PC that are critical for its innervation by CFs. To investigate whether ATXN1[30Q]-D776 curbs the progressive disease in ATXN1[82Q]-S776 mice, we crossed ATXN1[30Q]-D776 and ATXN1[82Q]-S776 mice and found that double transgenic mice developed progressive PC atrophy. Thus, the results also show that to develop progressive cerebellar degeneration requires expressing ATXN1 with an expanded polyglutamine tract.
Adhesion and degranulation promoting adapter protein (ADAP) is a multifunctional hematopoietic adapter protein that regulates TCR-dependent increases in both integrin function and activation of the NF-?B transcription factor. Activation of integrin function requires both ADAP and the ADAP-associated adapter Src kinase-associated phosphoprotein of 55 kDa (SKAP55). In contrast, ADAP-mediated regulation of NF-?B involves distinct binding sites in ADAP that promote the inducible association of ADAP, but not SKAP55, with the CARMA1 adapter and the TAK1 kinase. This suggests that the presence or absence of associated SKAP55 defines functionally distinct pools of ADAP. To test this hypothesis, we developed a novel SKAP-ADAP chimeric fusion protein and demonstrated that physical association of ADAP with SKAP55 is both sufficient and necessary for the rescue of integrin function in ADAP-deficient T cells. Similar to wild-type ADAP, the SKAP-ADAP chimera associated with the LFA-1 integrin after TCR stimulation. Although the SKAP-ADAP chimera contains the CARMA1 and TAK1 binding sequences from ADAP, expression of the chimera does not restore NF-?B signaling in ADAP(-/-) T cells. A single point mutation in the pleckstrin homology domain of SKAP55 (R131M) blocks the ability of the SKAP-ADAP chimera to restore integrin function and to associate with LFA-1. However, the R131M mutant was now able to restore NF-?B signaling in ADAP-deficient T cells. We conclude that integrin regulation by ADAP involves the recruitment of ADAP to LFA-1 integrin complexes by the pleckstrin homology domain of SKAP55, and this recruitment restricts the ability of ADAP to interact with the NF-?B signalosome and regulate NF-?B activation.
The spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are dominantly inherited disorders that primarily affect coordination of motor function but also frequently involve other brain functions. The models described in this review address mechanisms of trinucleotide-repeat expansions, particularly those relating to polyglutamine expression in the mutant proteins. Modeling chronic late-onset human ataxias in mice is difficult because of their short life-span. While this potential hindrance has been partially overcome by using over-expression of the mutant gene, and/or worsening of the mutation by increasing the length of the trinucleotide repeat expansion, interpretation of results from such models and extrapolation to the human condition should be cautious. Nevertheless, genetically engineered murine models of these diseases have enhanced our understanding of the pathogenesis of many of these conditions. A common theme in many of the polyglutamine-repeat diseases is nuclear localization of mutant protein, with resultant effects on gene regulation. Conditional mutant models and transgenic knock-down therapy have demonstrated the potential for reversibility of disease when production of mutant protein is halted. Several other genetically engineered murine models of SCA also have begun to show utility in the identification and assessment of more classical drug-based therapeutic modalities.
Trinucleotide expansions cause disease by both protein- and RNA-mediated mechanisms. Unexpectedly, we discovered that CAG expansion constructs express homopolymeric polyglutamine, polyalanine, and polyserine proteins in the absence of an ATG start codon. This repeat-associated non-ATG translation (RAN translation) occurs across long, hairpin-forming repeats in transfected cells or when expansion constructs are integrated into the genome in lentiviral-transduced cells and brains. Additionally, we show that RAN translation across human spinocerebellar ataxia type 8 (SCA8) and myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) CAG expansion transcripts results in the accumulation of SCA8 polyalanine and DM1 polyglutamine expansion proteins in previously established SCA8 and DM1 mouse models and human tissue. These results have implications for understanding fundamental mechanisms of gene expression. Moreover, these toxic, unexpected, homopolymeric proteins now should be considered in pathogenic models of microsatellite disorders.
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