Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications

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    Tracking Mutant Huntingtin Aggregation Kinetics in Cells Reveals Three Major Populations That Include an Invariant Oligomer Pool
    Olshina, MA ; Angley, LM ; Ramdzan, YM ; Tang, J ; Bailey, MF ; Hill, AF ; Hatters, DM (AMER SOC BIOCHEMISTRY MOLECULAR BIOLOGY INC, 2010-07-09)
    Huntington disease is caused by expanded polyglutamine sequences in huntingtin, which procures its aggregation into intracellular inclusion bodies (IBs). Aggregate intermediates, such as soluble oligomers, are predicted to be toxic to cells, yet because of a lack of quantitative methods, the kinetics of aggregation in cells remains poorly understood. We used sedimentation velocity analysis to define and compare the heterogeneity and flux of purified huntingtin with huntingtin expressed in mammalian cells under non-denaturing conditions. Non-pathogenic huntingtin remained as hydrodynamically elongated monomers in vitro and in cells. Purified polyglutamine-expanded pathogenic huntingtin formed elongated monomers (2.4 S) that evolved into a heterogeneous aggregate population of increasing size over time (100-6,000 S). However, in cells, mutant huntingtin formed three major populations: monomers (2.3 S), oligomers (mode s(20,w) = 140 S) and IBs (mode s(20,w) = 320,000 S). Strikingly, the oligomers did not change in size heterogeneity or in their proportion of total huntingtin over 3 days despite continued monomer conversion to IBs, suggesting that oligomers are rate-limiting intermediates to IB formation. We also determined how a chaperone known to modulate huntingtin toxicity, Hsc70, influences in-cell huntingtin partitioning. Hsc70 decreased the pool of 140 S oligomers but increased the overall flux of monomers to IBs, suggesting that Hsc70 reduces toxicity by facilitating transfer of oligomers into IBs. Together, our data suggest that huntingtin aggregation is streamlined in cells and is consistent with the 140 S oligomers, which remain invariant over time, as a constant source of toxicity to cells irrespective of total load of insoluble aggregates.
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    Conformation Sensors that Distinguish Monomeric Proteins from Oligomers in Live Cells
    Ramdzan, YM ; Nisbet, RM ; Miller, J ; Finkbeiner, S ; Hill, AF ; Hatters, DM (CELL PRESS, 2010-04-23)
    Proteins prone to misfolding form large macroscopic deposits in many neurodegenerative diseases. Yet the in situ aggregation kinetics remains poorly understood because of an inability to demarcate precursor oligomers from monomers. We developed a strategy for mapping the localization of soluble oligomers and monomers directly in live cells. Sensors for mutant huntingtin, which forms aggregates in Huntington's disease, were made by introducing a tetracysteine motif into huntingtin that becomes occluded from binding biarsenical fluorophores in oligomers, but not monomers. Up to 70% of the diffusely distributed huntingtin molecules appeared as submicroscopic oligomers in individual neuroblastoma cells expressing mutant huntingtin. We anticipate the sensors to enable insight into cellular mechanisms mediated by oligomers and monomers and for the approach to be adaptable more generally in the study of protein self-association.
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    POLYGLUTAMINE AGGREGATION IN HUNTINGTON AND RELATED DISEASES
    Polling, S ; Hill, AF ; Hatters, DM ; Hannan, AJ (SPRINGER-VERLAG BERLIN, 2012-01-01)
    Polyglutamine (polyQ)-expansions in different proteins cause nine neurodegenerative diseases. While polyQ aggregation is a key pathological hallmark of these diseases, how aggregation relates to pathogenesis remains contentious. In this chapter, we review what is known about the aggregation process and how cells respond and interact with the polyQ-expanded proteins. We cover detailed biophysical and structural studies to uncover the intrinsic features of polyQ aggregates and concomitant effects in the cellular environment. We also examine the functional consequences ofpolyQ aggregation and how cells may attempt to intervene and guide the aggregation process.
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    Misfolded Polyglutamine, Polyalanine, and Superoxide Dismutase 1 Aggregate via Distinct Pathways in the Cell
    Polling, S ; Mok, Y-F ; Ramdzan, YM ; Turner, BJ ; Yerbury, JJ ; Hill, AF ; Hatters, DM (AMER SOC BIOCHEMISTRY MOLECULAR BIOLOGY INC, 2014-03-07)
    Protein aggregation into intracellular inclusions is a key feature of many neurodegenerative disorders. A common theme has emerged that inappropriate self-aggregation of misfolded or mutant polypeptide sequences is detrimental to cell health. Yet protein quality control mechanisms may also deliberately cluster them together into distinct inclusion subtypes, including the insoluble protein deposit (IPOD) and the juxtanuclear quality control (JUNQ). Here we investigated how the intrinsic oligomeric state of three model systems of disease-relevant mutant protein and peptide sequences relates to the IPOD and JUNQ patterns of aggregation using sedimentation velocity analysis. Two of the models (polyalanine (37A) and superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutants A4V and G85R) accumulated into the same JUNQ-like inclusion whereas the other, polyglutamine (72Q), formed spatially distinct IPOD-like inclusions. Using flow cytometry pulse shape analysis (PulSA) to separate cells with inclusions from those without revealed the SOD1 mutants and 37A to have abruptly altered oligomeric states with respect to the nonaggregating forms, regardless of whether cells had inclusions or not, whereas 72Q was almost exclusively monomeric until inclusions formed. We propose that mutations leading to JUNQ inclusions induce a constitutively "misfolded" state exposing hydrophobic side chains that attract and ultimately overextend protein quality capacity, which leads to aggregation into JUNQ inclusions. Poly(Q) is not misfolded in this same sense due to universal polar side chains, but is highly prone to forming amyloid fibrils that we propose invoke a different engagement mechanism with quality control.
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    Polyalanine expansions drive a shift into alpha-helical clusters without amyloid-fibril formation
    Polling, S ; Ormsby, AR ; Wood, RJ ; Lee, K ; Shoubridge, C ; Hughes, JN ; Thomas, PQ ; Griffin, MDW ; Hill, AF ; Bowden, Q ; Boecking, T ; Hatters, DM (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-12-01)
    Polyglutamine (polyGln) expansions in nine human proteins result in neurological diseases and induce the proteins' tendency to form β-rich amyloid fibrils and intracellular deposits. Less well known are at least nine other human diseases caused by polyalanine (polyAla)-expansion mutations in different proteins. The mechanisms of how polyAla aggregates under physiological conditions remain unclear and controversial. We show here that aggregation of polyAla is mechanistically dissimilar to that of polyGln and hence does not exhibit amyloid kinetics. PolyAla assembled spontaneously into α-helical clusters with diverse oligomeric states. Such clustering was pervasive in cells irrespective of visible aggregate formation, and it disrupted the normal physiological oligomeric state of two human proteins natively containing polyAla: ARX and SOX3. This self-assembly pattern indicates that polyAla expansions chronically disrupt protein behavior by imposing a deranged oligomeric status.
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    Misfolded polyglutamine, polyalanine, and superoxide dismutase 1 aggregate via distinct pathways in the cell
    Polling, Saskia ; MOK, YEE-FOONG ; Ramdzan, Yasmin M. ; Turner, Bradley J. ; Yerbury, Justin J. ; Hill, Andrew F. ; Hatters, Danny M. (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2014)
    Protein aggregation into intracellular inclusions is a key feature of many neurodegenerative disorders. A common theme has emerged that inappropriate selfaggregation of misfolded or mutant polypeptide sequences is detrimental to cell health. Yet protein quality control mechanisms may also deliberately cluster them together into distinct inclusion sub-types, including the insoluble protein deposit (IPOD) and the juxtanuclear quality control (JUNQ). Here we investigated how the intrinsic oligomeric state of three model systems of disease-relevant mutant protein and peptide sequences relates to the IPOD and JUNQ patterns of aggregation using sedimentation velocity analysis (SVA). Two of the models (polyalanine (37A) and superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutants A4V and G85R) accumulated into the same JUNQ-like inclusion whereas the other, polyglutamine (72Q), formed spatially distinct IPOD-like inclusions. Using flow cytometry pulse shape analysis to separate cells with inclusions from those without revealed the SOD1 mutants and 37A to have abruptly altered oligomeric states with respect to the non-aggregating forms, regardless of whether cells had inclusions or not; whereas 72Q was almost exclusively monomeric until inclusions formed. We propose mutations leading to JUNQ inclusions induce a constitutively "misfolded" state exposing hydrophobic sidechains that attract and ultimately overextend protein quality capacity, which leads to aggregation into JUNQ inclusions. PolyQ is not "misfolded" in this same sense due to universal polar sidechains, but is highly prone to forming amyloid fibrils that we propose invoke a different engagement mechanism with quality control.