Date of Graduation
Huntingtonâ€™s Disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that is defined by the accumulation of nanoscale aggregates comprised of the huntingtin (htt) protein. Aggregation is directly caused by an expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) domain in htt, leading to a diverse population of aggregate species, such as oligomers, fibrils, and annular aggregates. Furthermore, the length of this polyQ domain is directly related to onset and severity of disease. The first 17 amino acids on the N-terminus (N17) and the polyproline domain on the C-terminal side of the polyQ domain have been shown to further modulate the aggregation process. Additionally, N17 appears to have lipid binding properties as htt interacts with a variety of membrane-containing structures present in cells, such as organelles, and interactions with these membrane surfaces may further modulate htt aggregation. To investigate the interaction between htt exon1 and lipid bilayers, in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to directly monitor the aggregation of htt exon1 constructs with varying Q-length (35Q, 46Q, 51Q, and myc- 53Q) or synthetic peptides with different polyQ domain flanking sequences (KK-Q35-KK, KK-Q 35-P10-KK, N17-Q35-KK, and N 17-Q35-P10-KK) on supported lipid membranes comprised of total brain lipid extract. The exon1 fragments accumulated on the lipid membranes, causing disruption of the membrane, in a polyQ dependent manner. By adding N-terminal tags to the htt exon1 fragments, the interaction with the lipid bilayer was impeded. The KK-Q35-KK and KK-Q 35-P10-KK peptides had no appreciable interaction with lipid bilayers. Interestingly, polyQ peptides with the N17 flanking sequence interacted with the bilayer. N17-Q35-KK formed discrete aggregates on the bilayer, but there was minimal membrane disruption. The N17-Q35-P10-KK peptide interacted more aggressively with the lipid bilayer in a manner reminiscent of the htt exon1 proteins.
Burke, Kathleen Anne, "The role of polyglutamine expansion and protein context in disease-related huntingtin/lipid interactions." (2013). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8552.