Protein aggregation is associated with age-related neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's and polyglutamine diseases. As a causal relationship between protein aggregation and neurodegeneration remains elusive, understanding the cellular mechanisms regulating protein aggregation will help develop future treatments. To identify such mechanisms, we conducted a forward genetic screen in a C. elegans model of polyglutamine aggregation and identified the protein MOAG-2/LIR-3 as a driver of protein aggregation. In the absence of polyglutamine, MOAG-2/LIR-3 regulates the RNA polymerase III-associated transcription of small non-coding RNAs. This regulation is lost in the presence of polyglutamine, which mislocalizes MOAG-2/LIR-3 from the nucleus to the cytosol. We then show biochemically that MOAG-2/LIR-3 can also catalyze the aggregation of polyglutamine-expanded huntingtin. These results suggest that polyglutamine can induce an aggregation-promoting activity of MOAG-2/LIR-3 in the cytosol. The concept that certain aggregation-prone proteins can convert other endogenous proteins into drivers of aggregation and toxicity adds to the understanding of how cellular homeostasis can be deteriorated in protein misfolding diseases.
Keywords: C. elegans; MOAG-2/LIR-3; RNA polymerase III; non-coding RNA; polyglutamine; protein aggregation; protein homeostasis; protein quality control; snoRNA; tRNA.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.