Progressive phenotype and nuclear accumulation of an amino-terminal cleavage fragment in a transgenic mouse model with inducible expression of full-length mutant huntingtin

Yuji Tanaka, Shuichi Igarashi, Masayuki Nakamura, Juliette Gafni, Cameron Torcassi, Gabrielle Schilling, Danielle Crippen, Jonathan D. Wood, Akira Sawa, Nancy A. Jenkins, Neal G. Copeland, David R. Borchelt, Christopher A. Ross, Lisa M. Ellerby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Huntington's disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder characterized behaviorally by chorea, incoordination, and shortened lifespan and neuropathologically by huntingtin inclusions and neuronal degeneration. In order to facilitate studies of pathogenesis and therapeutics, we have generated a new inducible mouse model of HD expressing full-length huntingtin (Htt) using a tetracycline-regulated promoter. In double transgenic mice Htt was expressed widely in the brain under the control of the tet-transactivator (tTA) driven by the prion promoter PrP (in the absence of doxycycline). Mice expressing full-length mutant Htt, but not full-length normal Htt, displayed a progressive behavioral phenotype, consisting of slowed and irregular voluntary movements, gait ataxia, tremor and jerky movements, incoordination, and weight loss, with a shortened lifespan. Neuropathology included prominent intranuclear inclusions in cortex and striatum as well as cytoplasmic aggregates. This phenotype is very similar to the phenotypes of previous transgenic mice expressing N-terminal fragments of mutant Htt. The current HD-transgenic mice had nuclear accumulation of Htt, particularly an approximately 60-kDa fragment, which appears to represent an N-terminal cleavage product. This fragment is smaller than calpain or caspase-derived cleavage products of Htt, but it is comparable to a product, termed cp-A, which accumulates in nuclei of cells in a previously described cell model. This new mouse model may be useful in the future for pathogenic and preclinical therapeutic studies related to HD. The data suggest that proteolytic processing could be a part of the pathogenesis of HD, potentially representing an attractive therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-391
Number of pages11
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Volume21
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology

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    Tanaka, Y., Igarashi, S., Nakamura, M., Gafni, J., Torcassi, C., Schilling, G., Crippen, D., Wood, J. D., Sawa, A., Jenkins, N. A., Copeland, N. G., Borchelt, D. R., Ross, C. A., & Ellerby, L. M. (2006). Progressive phenotype and nuclear accumulation of an amino-terminal cleavage fragment in a transgenic mouse model with inducible expression of full-length mutant huntingtin. Neurobiology of Disease, 21(2), 381-391. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2005.07.014