Pathogenesis of inclusion bodies in (CAG)n/Qn-expansion diseases with special reference to the role of tissue transglutaminase and to selective vulnerability.
At least eight neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington disease, are caused by expansions in (CAG)n repeats in the affected gene and by an increase in the size of the corresponding polyglutamine domain in the expressed protein. A hallmark of several of these diseases is the presence of aberrant, proteinaceous aggregates in the nuclei and cytosol of affected neurons. Recent studies have shown that expanded polyglutamine (Qn) repeats are excellent glutaminyl-donor substrates of tissue transglutaminase, and that the substrate activity increases with increasing size of the polyglutamine domain. Tissue transglutaminase is present in the cytosol and nuclear fractions of brain tissue. Thus, the nuclear and cytosolic inclusions in Huntington disease may contain tissue transglutaminase-catalyzed covalent aggregates. The (CAG)n/Qn-expansion diseases are classic examples of selective vulnerability in the nervous system, in which certain cells/structures are particularly susceptible to toxic insults. Quantitative differences in the distribution of the brain transglutaminase(s) and its substrates, and in the activation mechanism of the brain transglutaminase(s), may explain in part selective vulnerability in a subset of neurons in (CAG)n-expansion diseases, and possibly in other neurodegenerative disease. If tissue transglutaminase is found to be essential for development of pathogenesis, then inhibitors of this enzyme may be of therapeutic benefit.
Cooper, AJ; Sheu, KF; Burke, JR; Strittmatter, WJ; Gentile, V; Peluso, G; Blass, JP
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