Martin L. Duennwald

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Protein misfolding, whether caused by aging, environmental factors, or genetic mutations, is a common basis for neurodegenerative diseases. The misfolding of proteins with abnormally long polyglutamine (polyQ) expansions causes several neurodegenerative disorders, such as Huntington's disease (HD). Although many cellular pathways have been documented to be(More)
Protein misfolding is the molecular basis for several human diseases. How the primary amino acid sequence triggers misfolding and determines the benign or toxic character of the misfolded protein remains largely obscure. Among proteins that misfold, polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion proteins provide an interesting case: Each causes a distinct(More)
Cellular protein folding is challenged by environmental stress and aging, which lead to aberrant protein conformations and aggregation. One way to antagonize the detrimental consequences of protein misfolding is to reactivate vital proteins from aggregates. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Hsp104 facilitates disaggregation and reactivates aggregated(More)
Protein conformational diseases are associated with the aberrant accumulation of amyloid protein aggregates, but whether amyloid formation is cytotoxic or protective is unclear. To address this issue, we investigated a normally benign amyloid formed by the yeast prion [RNQ(+)]. Surprisingly, modest overexpression of Rnq1 protein was deadly, but only when(More)
Several neurodegenerative diseases are associated with the toxicity of misfolded proteins. This toxicity must arise from a combination of the amino acid sequences of the misfolded proteins and their interactions with other factors in their environment. A particularly compelling example of how profoundly these intramolecular and intermolecular factors can(More)
Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder for which only symptomatic treatments of limited effectiveness are available. Preventing early misfolding steps and thereby aggregation of the polyglutamine (polyQ)-containing protein huntingtin (htt) in neurons of patients may represent an attractive therapeutic strategy to postpone the(More)
How small heat shock proteins (sHsps) might empower proteostasis networks to control beneficial prions or disassemble pathological amyloid is unknown. Here, we establish that yeast sHsps, Hsp26 and Hsp42, inhibit prionogenesis by the [PSI+] prion protein, Sup35, via distinct and synergistic mechanisms. Hsp42 prevents conformational rearrangements within(More)
The molecular mechanisms by which polyglutamine (polyQ)-expanded huntingtin (Htt) causes neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease (HD) remain unclear. The malfunction of cellular proteostasis has been suggested as central in HD pathogenesis and also as a target of therapeutic interventions for the treatment of HD. We present results that offer a previously(More)
Huntington's disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expansion in the number of polyglutamine-encoding CAG repeats in the gene that encodes the huntingtin (htt) protein. A property of the mutant protein that is intimately involved in the development of the disease is the propensity of the glutamine-expanded protein to misfold(More)
Nine neurodegenerative disorders are caused by the abnormal expansion of polyglutamine (polyQ) regions within distinct proteins. Genetic and biochemical evidence has documented that the molecular chaperone, heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), modulates polyQ toxicity and aggregation, yet it remains unclear how Hsp70 might be used as a potential therapeutic(More)