Loss of normal huntingtin function: new developments in Huntington's disease research

Trends Neurosci. 2001 Mar;24(3):182-8. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(00)01721-5.


Huntington's disease is characterized by a loss of brain striatal neurons that occurs as a consequence of an expansion of a CAG repeat in the huntingtin protein. The resulting extended polyglutamine stretch confers a deleterious gain-of-function to the protein. Analysis of the mutant protein has attracted most of the research activity in the field, however re-examination of earlier data and new results on the beneficial functions of normal huntingtin indicate that loss of the normal protein function might actually equally contribute to the pathology. Thus, complete elucidation of the physiological role(s) of huntingtin and its mode of action are essential and could lead to new therapeutic approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Corpus Striatum / pathology
  • Humans
  • Huntingtin Protein
  • Huntington Disease / genetics
  • Huntington Disease / pathology
  • Huntington Disease / physiopathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mutation*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / deficiency
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Nuclear Proteins / deficiency
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology*


  • HTT protein, human
  • Htt protein, mouse
  • Huntingtin Protein
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins