Chernoff, Yury O.

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    Polyglutamine toxicity is controlled by prion composition and gene dosage in yeast
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2012-04-19) Gong, He ; Romanova, Nina V. ; Allen, Kim D. ; Chandramowlishwaran, Pavithra ; Gokhale, Kavita ; Newnam, Gary P. ; Mieczkowski, Piotr ; Sherman, Michael Y. ; Chernoff, Yury O.
    Polyglutamine expansion causes diseases in humans and other mammals. One example is Huntington’s disease. Fragments of human huntingtin protein having an expanded polyglutamine stretch form aggregates and cause cytotoxicity in yeast cells bearing endogenous QN-rich proteins in the aggregated (prion) form. Attachment of the proline(P)-rich region targets polyglutamines to the large perinuclear deposit (aggresome). Aggresome formation ameliorates polyglutamine cytotoxicity in cells containing only the prion form of Rnq1 protein. Here we show that expanded polyglutamines both with (poly-QP) or without (poly-Q) a P-rich stretch remain toxic in the presence of the prion form of translation termination (release) factor Sup35 (eRF3). A Sup35 derivative that lacks the QN-rich domain and is unable to be incorporated into aggregates counteracts cytotoxicity, suggesting that toxicity is due to Sup35 sequestration. Increase in the levels of another release factor, Sup45 (eRF1), due to either disomy by chromosome II containing the SUP45 gene or to introduction of the SUP45- bearing plasmid counteracts poly-Q or poly-QP toxicity in the presence of the Sup35 prion. Protein analysis confirms that polyglutamines alter aggregation patterns of Sup35 and promote aggregation of Sup45, while excess Sup45 counteracts these effects. Our data show that one and the same mode of polyglutamine aggregation could be cytoprotective or cytotoxic, depending on the composition of other aggregates in a eukaryotic cell, and demonstrate that other aggregates expand the range of proteins that are susceptible to sequestration by polyglutamines.
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    Huntingtin toxicity in yeast model depends on polyglutamine aggregation mediated by a prion-like protein Rnq1
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2002-06-10) Meriin, Anatoli B. ; Zhang, Xiaoqian ; He, Xiangwei ; Newnam, Gary P. ; Chernoff, Yury O. ; Sherman, Michael Y.
    The cause of Huntington’s disease is expansion of polyglutamine (polyQ) domain in huntingtin, which makes this protein both neurotoxic and aggregation prone. Here we developed the first yeast model, which establishes a direct link between aggregation of expanded polyQ domain and its cytotoxicity. Our data indicated that deficiencies in molecular chaperones Sis1 and Hsp104 inhibited seeding of polyQ aggregates, whereas ssa1 , ssa2 , and ydj1–151 mutations inhibited expansion of aggregates. The latter three mutants strongly suppressed the polyQ toxicity. Spontaneous mutants with suppressed aggregation appeared with high frequency, and in all of them the toxicity was relieved. Aggregation defects in these mutants and in T sis1–85 were not complemented in the cross to the hsp104 mutant, demonstrating an unusual type of inheritance. Since Hsp104 is required for prion maintenance in yeast, this suggested a role for prions in polyQ aggregation and toxicity. We screened a set of deletions of nonessential genes coding for known prions and related proteins and found that deletion of the RNQ1 gene specifically suppressed aggregation and toxicity of polyQ. Curing of the prion form of Rnq1 from wild-type cells dramatically suppressed both aggregation and toxicity of polyQ. We concluded that aggregation of polyQ is critical for its toxicity and that Rnq1 in its prion conformation plays an essential role in polyQ aggregation leading to the toxicity.