Huntington's disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded polyglutamine repeat in huntingtin (HTT) protein. We previously showed that calorie restriction ameliorated Huntington's disease pathogenesis and slowed disease progression in mice that model Huntington's disease (Huntington's disease mice). We now report that overexpression of sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), a mediator of the beneficial metabolic effects of calorie restriction, protects neurons against mutant HTT toxicity, whereas reduction of Sirt1 exacerbates mutant HTT toxicity. Overexpression of Sirt1 improves motor function, reduces brain atrophy and attenuates mutant-HTT-mediated metabolic abnormalities in Huntington's disease mice. Further mechanistic studies suggested that Sirt1 prevents the mutant-HTT-induced decline in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) concentrations and the signaling of its receptor, TrkB, and restores dopamine-and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein, 32 kDa (DARPP32) concentrations in the striatum. Sirt1 deacetylase activity is required for Sirt1-mediated neuroprotection in Huntington's disease cell models. Notably, we show that mutant HTT interacts with Sirt1 and inhibits Sirt1 deacetylase activity, which results in hyperacetylation of Sirt1 substrates such as forkhead box O3A (Foxo3a), thereby inhibiting its pro-survival function. Overexpression of Sirt1 counteracts the mutant-HTT-induced deacetylase deficit, enhances the deacetylation of Foxo3a and facilitates cell survival. These findings show a neuroprotective role for Sirt1 in mammalian Huntington's disease models and open new avenues for the development of neuroprotective strategies in Huntington's disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)