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Towards the Treatment of Polyglutamine Diseases: The Modulatory Role of Protein Context

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Abstract:

Protein aggregation is a key mechanism involved in neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. Nine diseases (including Huntington's) arise from polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion above a repeat threshold of approximately 37 glutamines, and neuronal toxicity correlates with the process of protein aggregation. The similar toxic gain-of-function mechanism of the nine diseases supports the hypothesis that disease onset and progression is dependent upon polyQ expansion. However, there is an increasing body of literature demonstrating that the protein context of the polyQ tract has an essential role in the disease process. The composition of regions flanking repeats can alter the biochemical and biophysical properties of the polyQ region. A number of the disease proteins are proteolytically cleaved, with release of the polyQ-containing fragment initiating aggregation. Interactions of flanking domains with other molecules can also influence aggregation and cellular localization, which are critical factors for toxicity. More recently, there is evidence that domains flanking the polyQ tract can also aggregate independent of the polyQ tract, and that this significantly alters the rate at which the polyQ regions form fibrillar aggregates and the properties of these aggregates. In this review we consider the role of protein context in modulating the polyQ diseases and the therapeutic potential of targeting non-polyQ protein properties.

Keywords: Polyglutamine; flanking domains; misfolding; multidomain aggregation; protein aggregation; protein structure

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/092986710791959800

Affiliations: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia.

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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