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The Huntington's disease (HD) mutation is a polyglutamine expansion in the N-terminal region of huntingtin (N-htt). How neurons die in HD is unclear. Mutant N-htt aggregates in neurons in the HD brain; expression of mutant N-htt in vitro causes cell death. Other in vitro studies show that proteolysis by caspase 3 could be important in regulating mutant(More)
Microglia may contribute to cell death in neurodegenerative diseases. We studied the activation of microglia in affected regions of Huntington disease (HD) brain by localizing thymosin beta-4 (Tbeta4), which is increased in reactive microglia. Activated microglia appeared in the neostriatum, cortex, and globus pallidus and the adjoining white matter of the(More)
An expansion of polyglutamines in the N terminus of huntingtin causes Huntington's disease (HD) and results in the accrual of mutant protein in the nucleus and cytoplasm of affected neurons. How mutant huntingtin causes neurons to die is unclear, but some recent observations suggest that an autophagic process may occur. We showed previously that huntingtin(More)
The N-terminus of mutant huntingtin (htt) has a polyglutamine expansion and forms neuronal aggregates in the brain of Huntington's disease (HD) patients. Htt expression in vitro activates autophagy, but it is unclear whether autophagic/lysosomal pathways process htt, especially N-terminal htt fragments. We explored the role of autophagy in htt processing in(More)
We have identified a domain in the N terminus of huntingtin that binds to membranes. A three-dimensional homology model of the structure of the binding domain predicts helical HEAT repeats, which emanate a positive electrostatic potential, consistent with a charge-based mechanism for membrane association. An amphipathic helix capable of inserting into pure(More)
Huntingtin has an expanded polyglutamine tract in patients with Huntington's disease. Huntingtin localizes to intracellular and plasma membranes but the function of huntingtin at membranes is unknown. Previously we reported that exogenously expressed huntingtin bound pure phospholipids using protein-lipid overlays. Here we show that endogenous huntingtin(More)
A mutation in the huntingtin (Htt) gene produces mutant Htt and Huntington's disease (HD), a neurodegenerative disorder. HD patients have oxidative damage in the brain, but the causes are unclear. Compared with controls, we found brain levels of NADPH oxidase (NOX) activity, which produces reactive oxygen species (ROS), elevated in human HD postmortem(More)
Polyglutamine expansion in the N terminus of huntingtin (htt) causes selective neuronal dysfunction and cell death by unknown mechanisms. Truncated htt expressed in vitro produced htt immunoreactive cytoplasmic bodies (htt bodies). The fibrillar core of the mutant htt body resisted protease treatment and contained cathepsin D, ubiquitin, and heat shock(More)
N-terminal mutant huntingtin (N-mhtt) fragments form inclusions and cause cell death in vitro. Mutant htt expression stimulates autophagy and increases levels of lysosomal proteases. Here, we show that lysosomal proteases, cathepsins D, B and L, affected mhtt processing and levels of cleavage products (cp) known as A and B, which form inclusions. Adding(More)
Patients with Huntington's disease have an expanded polyglutamine tract in huntingtin and suffer severe brain atrophy and neurodegeneration. Because membrane dysfunction can occur in Huntington's disease, we addressed whether mutant huntingtin in brain and primary neurons is present in lipid rafts, which are cholesterol-enriched membrane domains that(More)