Mutant huntingtin reduces vesicular zinc level by inhibiting the binding of Sp1 to ZnT3 promoter

Li NiuHe Li


Background Synaptic dysfunction caused by mutant huntingtin greatly contributes to Huntington’s disease (HD) pathogenesis. HD patients show cognitive impairment as well as uncontrolled movements. Vesicular zinc is closely linked to modulating synaptic transmission and maintaining cognitive ability. However, whether does mutant huntingtin affect zinc homeostasis in the brain or not? This will be of great significance for further revealing the pathogenesis of HD. Methods N171-HD82Q transgenic mice and cultured BHK cells expressing N-terminal mutant huntingtin fragment containing 160 glutamines (160Q BHK cells) were used to investigate the effect of mutant huntingtin on zinc homeostasis and its molecular mechanisms. Results Herein, we have demonstrated that the density of synaptic vesicular zinc decreases in the cortex, striatum and hippocampus of N171-82Q mice. Given that vesicular zinc concentration depends on the abundance of zinc transporter 3 (ZnT3) on the membrane of synaptic vesicles, ZnT3 expression is detected in the brain of N171-82Q mice and 160Q BHK cells. Mutant huntingtin leads to a dramatical decrease in ZnT3 mRNA and protein levels in the three brain regions of these mice aged from 14 to 20 weeks. Significantly, Sp...Continue Reading

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