Reference: Giorgini F, et al. (2008) Histone deacetylase inhibition modulates kynurenine pathway activation in yeast, microglia, and mice expressing a mutant huntingtin fragment. J Biol Chem 283(12):7390-400

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Abstract

The kynurenine pathway of tryptophan degradation is hypothesized to play an important role in Huntington's disease, a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a polyglutamine expansion in the protein huntingtin. Neurotoxic metabolites of the kynurenine pathway, generated in microglia and macrophages, are present at increased levels in the brains of patients and mouse models during early stages of disease, but the mechanism by which kynurenine pathway up-regulation occurs in Huntington's disease is unknown. Here, we report that expression of a mutant huntingtin fragment was sufficient to induce transcription of the kynurenine pathway in yeast, and that this induction was abrogated by impairing the activity of the histone deacetylase Rpd3. Moreover, numerous genetic suppressors of mutant huntingtin toxicity that are functionally unrelated converged unexpectedly on the kynurenine pathway, supporting a critical role for the kynurenine pathway in mediating mutant huntingtin toxicity in yeast. Histone deacetylase-dependent regulation of the kynurenine pathway was also observed in a mouse model of Huntington's disease, in which treatment with a neuroprotective histone deacetylase inhibitor blocked activation of the kynurenine pathway in microglia expressing a mutant huntingtin fragment in vitro and in vivo. These findings suggest that a mutant huntingtin fragment can perturb transcriptional programs in microglia, and thus implicate these cells as potential modulators of neurodegeneration in Huntington's disease that are worthy of further investigation.

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Journal Article
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Giorgini F, Moller T, Kwan W, Zwilling D, Wacker JL, Hong S, Tsai LC, Cheah CS, Schwarcz R, Guidetti P, ... Show all
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