Special Issue "Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Huntington's Disease"

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A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Sybille Krauss (Website)

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), Biomedical Center (BMZ1) - Building 344, Sigmund-Freud-Str. 25, 53127 Bonn, Germany

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Huntington disease (HD) is a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder that manifests with severe movement disorder, dementia, and psychiatric disturbance. The disease is progressive and invariably fatal and to date there is no cure. HD is a monogenic, autosomal dominant disease. The prevalence for HD varies between different populations and specific HTT haplotypes have been associated with HD in distinct populations. HD is caused by an expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat in the huntingtin (HTT) gene that encodes a polyglutamine tract in the huntingtin protein (HTT). HD is the most common polyglutamine disorder and is widely accepted as a model disease for studying pathogenic mechanisms and developing therapies in these diseases. HTT is an essential protein that is expressed ubiquitously. However, HD-linked pathogenesis is observed only in the patient’s brains, where N-terminal cleavage fragments of the polyglutamine proteins accumulate into aggregates. The molecular and cellular pathways underlying neurodegeneration in HD are the focus of much research.

The current special issue is meant to collect a selected number of articles that show recent findings in molecular genetics, which could improve our understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in HD.

Dr. Sybille Krauss
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Keywords

  • neurodegeneration
  • Huntington's disease
  • polyglutamine proteins
  • CAG repeats
  • aggregation-prone proteins

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Altered Neuronal Dynamics in the Striatum on the Behavior of Huntingtin Interacting Protein 14 (HIP14) Knockout Mice
Brain Sci. 2013, 3(4), 1588-1596; doi:10.3390/brainsci3041588
Received: 22 October 2013 / Revised: 1 November 2013 / Accepted: 12 November 2013 / Published: 20 November 2013
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Abstract
Huntington’s disease (HD), a neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded CAG repeat in the huntingtin gene, impairs information processing in the striatum, which, as part of the basal ganglia, modulates motor output. Growing evidence suggests that huntingtin interacting protein 14 (HIP14) contributes [...] Read more.
Huntington’s disease (HD), a neurodegenerative disorder caused by an expanded CAG repeat in the huntingtin gene, impairs information processing in the striatum, which, as part of the basal ganglia, modulates motor output. Growing evidence suggests that huntingtin interacting protein 14 (HIP14) contributes to HD neuropathology. Here, we recorded local field potentials (LFPs) in the striatum as HIP14 knockout mice and wild-type controls freely navigated a plus-shaped maze. Upon entering the choice point of the maze, HIP14 knockouts tend to continue in a straight line, turning left or right significantly less often than wild-types, a sign of motor inflexibility that also occurs in HD mice. Striatal LFP activity anticipates this difference. In wild-types, the power spectral density pattern associated with entry into the choice point differs significantly from the pattern immediately before entry, especially at low frequencies (≤13 Hz), whereas HIP14 knockouts show no change in LFP activity as they enter the choice point. The lack of change in striatal activity may explain the turning deficit in the plus maze. Our results suggest that HIP14 plays a critical role in the aberrant behavioral modulation of striatal neuronal activity underlying motor inflexibility, including the motor signs of HD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Huntington's Disease)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Use of Genetically Altered Stem Cells for the Treatment of Huntington’s Disease
Brain Sci. 2014, 4(1), 202-219; doi:10.3390/brainsci4010202
Received: 2 October 2013 / Revised: 18 February 2014 / Accepted: 19 February 2014 / Published: 24 March 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (489 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Transplantation of stem cells for the treatment of Huntington’s disease (HD) garnered much attention prior to the turn of the century. Several studies using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have indicated that these cells have enormous therapeutic potential in HD and other disorders. [...] Read more.
Transplantation of stem cells for the treatment of Huntington’s disease (HD) garnered much attention prior to the turn of the century. Several studies using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have indicated that these cells have enormous therapeutic potential in HD and other disorders. Advantages of using MSCs for cell therapies include their ease of isolation, rapid propagation in culture, and favorable immunomodulatory profiles. However, the lack of consistent neuronal differentiation of transplanted MSCs has limited their therapeutic efficacy to slowing the progression of HD-like symptoms in animal models of HD. The use of MSCs which have been genetically altered to overexpress brain derived neurotrophic factor to enhance support of surviving cells in a rodent model of HD provides proof-of-principle that these cells may provide such prophylactic benefits. New techniques that may prove useful for cell replacement therapies in HD include the use of genetically altering fate-restricted cells to produce induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These iPSCs appear to have certain advantages over the use of embryonic stem cells, including being readily available, easy to obtain, less evidence of tumor formation, and a reduced immune response following their transplantation. Recently, transplants of iPSCs have shown to differentiate into region-specific neurons in an animal model of HD. The overall successes of using genetically altered stem cells for reducing neuropathological and behavioral deficits in rodent models of HD suggest that these approaches have considerable potential for clinical use. However, the choice of what type of genetically altered stem cell to use for transplantation is dependent on the stage of HD and whether the end-goal is preserving endogenous neurons in early-stage HD, or replacing the lost neurons in late-stage HD. This review will discuss the current state of stem cell technology for treating the different stages of HD and possible future directions for stem-cell therapy in HD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Huntington's Disease)
Open AccessReview Monomeric, Oligomeric and Polymeric Proteins in Huntington Disease and Other Diseases of Polyglutamine Expansion
Brain Sci. 2014, 4(1), 91-122; doi:10.3390/brainsci4010091
Received: 10 January 2014 / Revised: 6 February 2014 / Accepted: 18 February 2014 / Published: 3 March 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (331 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Huntington disease and other diseases of polyglutamine expansion are each caused by a different protein bearing an excessively long polyglutamine sequence and are associated with neuronal death. Although these diseases affect largely different brain regions, they all share a number of characteristics, [...] Read more.
Huntington disease and other diseases of polyglutamine expansion are each caused by a different protein bearing an excessively long polyglutamine sequence and are associated with neuronal death. Although these diseases affect largely different brain regions, they all share a number of characteristics, and, therefore, are likely to possess a common mechanism. In all of the diseases, the causative protein is proteolyzed, becomes abnormally folded and accumulates in oligomers and larger aggregates. The aggregated and possibly the monomeric expanded polyglutamine are likely to play a critical role in the pathogenesis and there is increasing evidence that the secondary structure of the protein influences its toxicity. We describe here, with special attention to huntingtin, the mechanisms of polyglutamine aggregation and the modulation of aggregation by the sequences flanking the polyglutamine. We give a comprehensive picture of the characteristics of monomeric and aggregated polyglutamine, including morphology, composition, seeding ability, secondary structure, and toxicity. The structural heterogeneity of aggregated polyglutamine may explain why polyglutamine-containing aggregates could paradoxically be either toxic or neuroprotective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Huntington's Disease)
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