Sir2 is induced by oxidative stress in a yeast model of Huntington disease and its activation reduces protein aggregation
Reverter Branchat, Gemma
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Huntington disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by expansion of CAG trinucleotide repeats, leading to an elongated polyglutamine sequence (polyQ) in the huntingtin protein. Misfolding of mutant polyQ proteins with expanded tracts results in aggregation, causing cytotoxicity. Oxidative stress in HD has been documented in humans as important to disease progression. Using yeast cells as a model of HD, we report that when grown at high glucose concentration, cells expressing mutant polyQ do not show apparent oxidative stress. At higher cell densities, when glucose becomes limiting and cells are metabolically shifting from fermentation to respiration, protein oxidation and catalase activity increases in relation to the length of the polyQ tract. Oxidative stress, either endogenous as a result of mutant polyQ expression or exogenously generated, increases Sir2 levels. D sir2 cells expressing expanded polyQ lengths show signs of oxidative stress even at the early exponential phase. In a wild-type background, isonicotinamide, a Sir2 activator, decreases mutant polyQ aggregation and the stress generated by expanded polyQ. Taken together, these results describe mutant polyQ proteins as being more toxic in respiring cells, causing oxidative stress and an increase in Sir2 levels. Activation of Sir2 would play a protective role against this toxicity.