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PMID:21552328

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Citation

Myre, MA, Lumsden, AL, Thompson, MN, Wasco, W, MacDonald, ME and Gusella, JF (2011) Deficiency of huntingtin has pleiotropic effects in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. PLoS Genet. 7:e1002052

Abstract

Huntingtin is a large HEAT repeat protein first identified in humans, where a polyglutamine tract expansion near the amino terminus causes a gain-of-function mechanism that leads to selective neuronal loss in Huntington's disease (HD). Genetic evidence in humans and knock-in mouse models suggests that this gain-of-function involves an increase or deregulation of some aspect of huntingtin's normal function(s), which remains poorly understood. As huntingtin shows evolutionary conservation, a powerful approach to discovering its normal biochemical role(s) is to study the effects caused by its deficiency in a model organism with a short life-cycle that comprises both cellular and multicellular developmental stages. To facilitate studies aimed at detailed knowledge of huntingtin's normal function(s), we generated a null mutant of hd, the HD ortholog in Dictyostelium discoideum. Dictyostelium cells lacking endogenous huntingtin were viable but during development did not exhibit the typical polarized morphology of Dictyostelium cells, streamed poorly to form aggregates by accretion rather than chemotaxis, showed disorganized F-actin staining, exhibited extreme sensitivity to hypoosmotic stress, and failed to form EDTA-resistant cell-cell contacts. Surprisingly, chemotactic streaming could be rescued in the presence of the bivalent cations Ca(2+) or Mg(2+) but not pulses of cAMP. Although hd(-) cells completed development, it was delayed and proceeded asynchronously, producing small fruiting bodies with round, defective spores that germinated spontaneously within a glassy sorus. When developed as chimeras with wild-type cells, hd(-) cells failed to populate the pre-spore region of the slug. In Dictyostelium, huntingtin deficiency is compatible with survival of the organism but renders cells sensitive to low osmolarity, which produces pleiotropic cell autonomous defects that affect cAMP signaling and as a consequence development. Thus, Dictyostelium provides a novel haploid organism model for genetic, cell biological, and biochemical studies to delineate the functions of the HD protein.

Links

PubMed PMC3084204 Online version:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002052

Keywords

Actins/metabolism; Cations, Divalent/metabolism; Chemotaxis; Dictyostelium/genetics; Dictyostelium/growth & development; Dictyostelium/metabolism; Dictyostelium/physiology; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; Genetic Pleiotropy; Morphogenesis; Mutation; Nerve Tissue Proteins/genetics; Nerve Tissue Proteins/metabolism; Nuclear Proteins/genetics; Nuclear Proteins/metabolism; Osmotic Pressure; Protozoan Proteins/genetics; Protozoan Proteins/metabolism; Spores, Protozoan/growth & development; Spores, Protozoan/physiology; Spores, Protozoan/ultrastructure

Significance

Annotations

Gene product Qualifier GO Term Evidence Code with/from Aspect Extension Notes Status

DICDI:HD

acts_upstream_of_or_within

GO:0060176: regulation of aggregation involved in sorocarp development

ECO:0000315: mutant phenotype evidence used in manual assertion

P

Seeded From UniProt

complete

DICDI:HD

acts_upstream_of_or_within

GO:0072507: divalent inorganic cation homeostasis

ECO:0000315: mutant phenotype evidence used in manual assertion

P

Seeded From UniProt

complete

DICDI:HD

acts_upstream_of_or_within

GO:0031156: regulation of sorocarp development

ECO:0000315: mutant phenotype evidence used in manual assertion

P

Seeded From UniProt

complete

DICDI:HD

acts_upstream_of_or_within

GO:0030154: cell differentiation

ECO:0000315: mutant phenotype evidence used in manual assertion

P

Seeded From UniProt

complete

DICDI:HD

acts_upstream_of_or_within

GO:0016339: calcium-dependent cell-cell adhesion via plasma membrane cell adhesion molecules

ECO:0000315: mutant phenotype evidence used in manual assertion

P

Seeded From UniProt

complete

DICDI:HD

acts_upstream_of_or_within

GO:0006971: hypotonic response

ECO:0000315: mutant phenotype evidence used in manual assertion

P

Seeded From UniProt

complete


See also

References

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