Author(s): Goldberg YP, Nicholson DW, Rasper DM, Kalchman MA, Koide HB,
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Abstract Apoptosis has recently been recognized as a mode of cell death in Huntington disease (HD). Apopain, a human counterpart of the nematode cysteine protease death-gene product, CED-3, has a key role in proteolytic events leading to apoptosis. Here we show that apoptotic extracts and apopain itself specifically cleave the HD gene product, huntingtin. The rate of cleavage increases with the length of the huntingtin polyglutamine tract, providing an explanation for the gain-of-function associated with CAG expansion. Our results show that huntingtin is cleaved by cysteine proteases and suggest that HD might be a disorder of inappropriate apoptosis.
This article was published in Nat Genet
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology