Huntington’s disease (HD) is a polyglutamine (polyQ) disease caused by aberrant expansion of the polyQ tract in Huntingtin (HTT). While motor impairment mediated by polyQ-expanded HTT has been intensively studied, molecular mechanisms for nonmotor symptoms in HD, such as psychiatric manifestations, remain elusive. Here we have demonstrated that HTT forms a ternary protein complex with the scaffolding protein DISC1 and cAMP-degrading phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) to regulate PDE4 activity. We observed pathological cross-seeding between DISC1 and mutant HTT aggregates in the brains of HD patients as well as in a murine model that recapitulates the polyQ pathology of HD (R6/2 mice). In R6/2 mice, consequent reductions in soluble DISC1 led to dysregulation of DISC1-PDE4 complexes, aberrantly increasing the activity of PDE4. Importantly, exogenous expression of a modified DISC1, which binds to PDE4 but not mutant HTT, normalized PDE4 activity and ameliorated anhedonia in the R6/2 mice. We propose that cross-seeding of mutant HTT and DISC1 and the resultant changes in PDE4 activity may underlie the pathology of a specific subset of mental manifestations of HD, which may provide an insight into molecular signaling in mental illness in general.
Motomasa Tanaka, Koko Ishizuka, Yoko Nekooki-Machida, Ryo Endo, Noriko Takashima, Hideyuki Sasaki, Yusuke Komi, Amy Gathercole, Elaine Huston, Kazuhiro Ishii, Kelvin Kai-Wan Hui, Masaru Kurosawa, Sun-Hong Kim, Nobuyuki Nukina, Eiki Takimoto, Miles D. Houslay, Akira Sawa
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.