UBB(+1), a mutant form of ubiquitin, is both a substrate and an inhibitor of the proteasome which accumulates in the neuropathological hallmarks of Huntington disease (HD). In vitro, expression of UBB(+1) and mutant huntingtin synergistically increase aggregate formation and polyglutamine induced cell death. We generated a UBB(+1) transgenic mouse line expressing UBB(+1) within the neurons of the striatum. In these mice lentiviral driven expression of expanded huntingtin constructs in the striatum results in a significant increase in neuronal inclusion formation. Although UBB(+1) transgenic mice show neither a decreased lifespan nor apparent neuronal loss, they appear to be more vulnerable to toxic insults like expanded polyglutamine proteins due to a modest proteasome inhibition. These findings underscore the relevance of an efficient ubiquitin-proteasome system in HD.
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