Inhibition of 26S proteasome activity by huntingtin filaments but not inclusion bodies isolated from mouse and human brain

J Neurochem. 2006 Sep;98(5):1585-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.03968.x. Epub 2006 Jun 19.


In Huntington's disease (HD), as in the rest of CAG triplet-repeat disorders, the expanded polyglutamine (polyQ)-containing proteins form intraneuronal fibrillar aggregates that are gathered into inclusion bodies (IBs). Since IBs contain ubiquitin and proteasome subunits, it was proposed that inhibition of proteasome activity might underlie pathogenesis of polyQ disorders. Recent in vitro enzymatic studies revealed the inability of eukaryotic proteasomes to digest expanded polyQ, thus suggesting that occasional failure of polyQ to exit the proteasome may interfere with its proteolytic function. However, it has also recently been found that in vitro assembled aggregates made of synthetic polyQ fail to inhibit proteasome activity. Because synthetic polyQ aggregates lack the post-translational modifications found inside affected neurons, such as poly ubiquitylation, we decided to study the effect of mutant huntingtin (htt) aggregates isolated from the Tet/HD94 mouse model and from human HD brain tissue. Here, we show that isolated ubiquitylated filamentous htt aggregates, extracted from IBs by a previously reported method, selectively inhibited the in vitro peptidase activity of the 26S but not of the 20S proteasome in a non-competitive manner. In good agreement, immuno-electron microscopy revealed a direct interaction of htt filaments with the 19S ubiquitin-interacting regulatory caps of the 26S proteasome. Here, we also report a new method for isolation of IBs based on magnetic sorting. Interestingly, isolated IBs did not modify proteasome activity. Our results therefore show that mutant htt filamentous aggregates can inhibit proteasome activity, but only when not recruited into IBs, thus strengthening the notion that IB formation is protective by neutralizing toxicity of dispersed filamentous htt aggregates.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Coumarins / pharmacology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Humans
  • Huntington Disease / metabolism*
  • Huntington Disease / pathology
  • Inclusion Bodies / metabolism
  • Inclusion Bodies / pathology
  • Inclusion Bodies / ultrastructure
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron / methods
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacology
  • Peptides
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / chemistry*
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics*
  • Time Factors
  • Ubiquitin / chemistry
  • Ubiquitin / genetics
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism


  • Coumarins
  • Oligopeptides
  • Peptides
  • SLC6A4 protein, human
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Ubiquitin
  • polyglutamine
  • succinyl-leucyl-leucyl-valyl-tyrosyl-methylcoumarinamide
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • ATP dependent 26S protease