Huntingtin-associated protein 1 (HAP1) interacts with androgen receptor (AR) and suppresses SBMA-mutant-AR-induced apoptosis

Hum Mol Genet. 2006 Aug 1;15(15):2298-312. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddl156. Epub 2006 Jun 16.


Huntingtin-associated protein 1 (HAP1), an interactor of huntingtin, has been known as an essential component of the stigmoid body (STB) and recently reported to play a protective role against neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease (HD). In the present study, subcellular association between HAP1 and androgen receptor (AR) with a long polyglutamine tract (polyQ) derived from spinal-and-bulbar-muscular-atrophy (SBMA) was examined using HEp-2 cells cotransfected with HAP1 and/or normal ARQ25, SBMA-mutant ARQ65 or deletion-mutant AR cDNAs. The results provided the first clear evidence that HAP1 interacts with AR through its ligand-binding domain in a polyQ-length-dependent manner and forms prominent inclusions sequestering polyQ-AR, and that addition of dihydrotestosterone reduces the association strength of HAP1 with ARQ25 more dramatically than that with ARQ65. Furthermore, SBMA-mutant-ARQ65-induced apoptosis was suppressed by cotransfection with HAP1. Our findings strongly suggest that HAP1/STB is relevant to polyQ-length-dependent modification on subcellular AR functions and critically involved in pathogenesis of not only HD but also SBMA as an important intrinsic neuroprotectant determining the threshold for cellular vulnerability to apoptosis. Taking together with previous reports that HAP1/STB is selectively expressed in the brain regions spared from degenerative targets in HD and SBMA, the current study might explain the region-specific occurrence of neurodegeneration in both diseases, shedding light on common aspects of their molecular pathological mechanism and yet-to-be-uncovered diagnostic or therapeutic applications for HD and SBMA patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Dihydrotestosterone / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Mutant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • AR protein, human
  • Hap1 protein, rat
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Mutant Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • polyglutamine