Mark W. Becher

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High levels of familial Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)-linked SOD1 mutants G93A and G37R were previously shown to mediate disease in mice through an acquired toxic property. We report here that even low levels of another mutant, G85R, cause motor neuron disease characterized by an extremely rapid clinical progression, without changes in SOD1 activity.(More)
Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited, neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of a glutamine repeat in the N-terminus of the huntingtin protein. To gain insight into the pathogenesis of HD, we generated transgenic mice that express a cDNA encoding an N-terminal fragment (171 amino acids) of huntingtin with 82, 44 or 18 glutamines. Mice(More)
Axon outgrowth during development and neurotransmitter release depends on exocytotic mechanisms, although what protein machinery is common to or differentiates these processes remains unclear. Here we show that the neural t-SNARE (target-membrane-associated-soluble N-ethylmaleimide fusion protein attachment protein (SNAP) receptor) SNAP-25 is not required(More)
An expanded polyglutamine domain in huntingtin underlies the pathogenic events in Huntington disease (HD), characterized by chorea, dementia and severe weight loss, culminating in death. Transglutaminase (TGase) may be critical in the pathogenesis, via cross-linking huntingtin. Administration of the TGase competitive inhibitor, cystamine, to transgenic mice(More)
Huntington's disease (HD) is caused by CAG triplet repeat expansion in IT15 which leads to polyglutamine stretches in the HD protein product, huntingtin. The pathological hallmark of HD is the degeneration of subsets of neurons, primarily those in the striatum and neocortex. Specific morphological markers of affected cells have not been identified in(More)
Approximately 10% of cases of Alzheimer's disease are familial and associated with autosomal dominant inheritance of mutations in genes encoding the amyloid precursor protein, presenilin 1 (PS1) and presenilin 2 (PS2). Mutations in PS1 are linked to about 25% of cases of early-onset familial Alzheimer's disease. PS1, which is endoproteolytically processed(More)
Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder associated with expansion of a CAG repeat in the IT15 gene. The IT15 gene is translated to a protein product termed huntingtin that contains a polyglutamine (polyGln) tract. Recent investigations indicate that the cause of HD is expansion of the polyGln tract. However, the function of(More)
Dentatorubral and pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) is an autosomal dominant disorder that clinically overlaps with Huntington's disease (HD) and manifests combinations of chorea, myoclonus, seizures, ataxia, and dementia. DRPLA is caused by a CAG triplet repeat (CTG-B37) expansion coding for polyglutamine on chromosome 12 and exhibits the genetic phenomenon(More)
To examine the mechanism through which neurofilaments regulate the caliber of myelinated axons and to test how aberrant accumulations of neurofilaments cause motor neuron disease, mice have been constructed that express wild-type mouse NF-H up to 4.5 times the normal level. Small increases in NF-H expression lead to increased total neurofilament content and(More)
Transglutaminase (TGase) activity is increased in affected regions of brains from patients with Huntington's disease (HD). TGase activity is particularly elevated in the nucleus compared with the cytoplasm from these brains. Gamma-glutaminyl-lysyl cross-links have been detected in nuclear inclusions in HD brain, indicating that TGase may play a prominent(More)