|Six-month partial suppression of Huntingtin is well tolerated in the adult rhesus striatum. |
Grondin, R; Kaytor, MD; Ai, Y; Nelson, PT; Thakker, DR; Heisel, J; Weatherspoon, MR; Blum, JL; Burright, EN; Zhang, Z; Kaemmerer, WF
Brain : a journal of neurology
Huntington's disease is caused by expression of a mutant form of Huntingtin protein containing an expanded polyglutamine repeat. One possible treatment for Huntington's disease may be to reduce expression of mutant Huntingtin in the brain via RNA interference. Unless the therapeutic molecule is designed to be allele-specific, both wild-type and mutant protein will be suppressed by an RNA interference treatment. A key question is whether suppression of wild-type as well as mutant Huntingtin in targeted brain regions can be tolerated and result in a net benefit to patients with Huntington's disease. Whether Huntingtin performs essential functions in the adult brain is unclear. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the adult primate brain can tolerate moderately reduced levels of wild-type Huntingtin protein for an extended period of time. A serotype 2 adeno-associated viral vector encoding for a short hairpin RNA targeting rhesus huntingtin messenger RNA (active vector) was bilaterally injected into the striatum of four adult rhesus monkeys. Four additional animals received a comparable vector encoding a scrambled control short hairpin RNA (control vector). General health and motor behaviour were monitored for 6 months. Upon termination, brain tissues were sampled and assessed blindly for (i) huntingtin messenger RNA knockdown; (ii) Huntingtin protein expression; and (iii) neuropathological changes. Reduction in wild-type huntingtin messenger RNA levels averaging ∼30% was measured in the striatum of active vector recipients 6 months post-injection. A widespread reduction in Huntingtin protein levels was also observed by immunohistochemistry in these animals, with an average protein reduction of ∼45% relative to controls measured by western blot analysis in the putamen of active vector recipients. As with control vector recipients, no adverse effects were observed behaviourally, and no neurodegeneration was found on histological examination of active vector recipients. Our results suggest that long-term partial suppression of wild-type Huntingtin may be safe, and thus if a comparable level of suppression of mutant Huntingtin is beneficial, then partial suppression of both wild-type and mutant Huntingtin may result in a net benefit in patients with heterozygous Huntington's disease.
|Identification and allele-specific silencing of the mutant huntingtin allele in Huntington's disease patient-derived fibroblasts. |
P H J van Bilsen, L Jaspers, M S Lombardi, J C E Odekerken, E N Burright, W F Kaemmerer
Human gene therapy
Huntington's disease (HD) is a dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expression of mutant huntingtin protein (Htt). Suppression of Htt expression, using RNA interference, might be an effective therapy. However, if reduction of wild-type protein is not well tolerated in the brain, it may be necessary to suppress just the product of the mutant allele. We present a small interfering RNA (siRNA) that selectively reduces the endogenous mRNA for a heterozygous HD donor's pathogenic allele by approximately 80% by specifically targeting a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) located several thousand bases downstream from the disease-causing mutation. In addition, we show selective suppression of endogenous mutant Htt protein, using this siRNA. We further present a method, using just a heterozygous patient's own mRNA, to determine which SNP variants correspond to the mutant allele. The method may be useful in any disorder in which a targeted SNP is far downstream from the pathogenic mutation. These results indicate that allele-specific treatment for Huntington's disease may be clinically feasible and practical.
|Huntingtin facilitates dynein/dynactin-mediated vesicle transport. |
Caviston, JP; Ross, JL; Antony, SM; Tokito, M; Holzbaur, EL
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Cytoplasmic dynein is a multisubunit microtubule motor complex that, together with its activator, dynactin, drives vesicular cargo toward the minus ends of microtubules. Huntingtin (Htt) is a vesicle-associated protein found in both neuronal and nonneuronal cells that is thought to be involved in vesicular transport. In this study, we demonstrate through yeast two-hybrid and affinity chromatography assays that Htt and dynein intermediate chain interact directly; endogenous Htt and dynein co-immunoprecipitate from mouse brain cytosol. Htt RNAi in HeLa cells results in Golgi disruption, similar to the effects of compromising dynein/dynactin function. In vitro studies reveal that Htt and dynein are both present on vesicles purified from mouse brain. Antibodies to Htt inhibited vesicular transport along microtubules, suggesting that Htt facilitates dynein-mediated vesicle motility. In vivo inhibition of dynein function results in a significant redistribution of Htt to the cell periphery, suggesting that dynein transports Htt-associated vesicles toward the cell center. Together these findings indicate that Htt binds to dynein and acts in a complex along with dynactin and Htt-associated protein-1 to facilitate vesicular transport.
|Huntingtin-interacting protein-1-related protein of rat (rHIP1R) is localized in the postsynaptic regions. |
Akira Okano, Nobuteru Usuda, Kenichi Furihata, Kouzoh Nakayama, Qing Bao Tian, Takashi Okamoto, Tatsuo Suzuki, Akira Okano, Nobuteru Usuda, Kenichi Furihata, Kouzoh Nakayama, Qing Bao Tian, Takashi Okamoto, Tatsuo Suzuki
We cloned a rHIP1R (GenBank Accession No., AB005052) encoding a Sla2/huntingtin-interacting protein (HIP1) family protein from a rat brain cDNA library. Localization of rHIP1R was investigated in the rat brain using an antibody specific to the HIP1R antibody. The rHIP1R protein was enriched in the synaptic plasma membrane fraction along with huntingtin, a synaptic protein and a causal protein for Huntington's disease. The electron microscopic examination revealed that HIP1R was localized at postsynaptic spines. Localization of HIP1R in the small vesicular structures in the spine, possible sites of vesicular transport of synaptic proteins, together with the structure-based analysis, suggested a role of HIP1R for vesicle trafficking through interaction with F-actin and working together with huntingtin and HIP1 at the synaptic sites.