Maintenance of cellular proteostasis is vital for post-mitotic cells like neurons to sustain normal physiological function and homeostasis, defects in which are established hallmarks of several age-related conditions like AD, PD, HD and ALS. The spatio-temporal accumulation of aggregated proteins in the form of inclusion bodies/plaques is one of the major characteristics of many neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease (HD). Toxic accumulation of HUNTINGTIN aggregates in neurons brings about the aberrant phenotypes of HD, including severe motor dysfunction, dementia and cognitive impairment at the organismal level, in an age-dependent manner. In several cellular and animal models, aggrephagy induction has been shown to clear aggregate-prone proteins like HUNTINGTIN and ameliorate disease pathology by conferring neuroprotection. In this study, we used the mouse model of HD, R6/2, to understand the pathogenicity of mHTT aggregates, primarily focusing on autophagy dysfunction. We report that basal autophagy is not altered in R6/2 mice, whilst being functional at a steady-state level in neurons. Moreover, we tested the efficacy of Nilotinib (TasignaTM) in curbing mHTT aggregate growth and their potential clearance, which was ineffective in both inducing autophagy and rescuing the pathological phenotypes in R6/2 mice.
© 2021, JNCASR, Jakkur, Bangalore, India