Sep 3, 2014

Therapeutic genetic variation revealed in diverse Hsp104 homologs

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Tobias MeißnerJames Shorter


The AAA+ protein disaggregase, Hsp104, increases fitness under stress by reversing stress-induced protein aggregation. We have engineered potentiated Hsp104 variants to antagonize proteotoxic misfolding linked to human neurodegenerative diseases. However, these Hsp104 variants can exhibit off-target toxicity, which may limit their therapeutic utility. Hsp104 is conserved among all nonmetazoan eukaryotes, which raises the possibility that natural variants might exist with enhanced, selective activity against neurodegenerative disease substrates. To assess this possibility, we screened a cross-kingdom collection of Hsp104 homologs in several yeast proteotoxicity models. We uncovered therapeutic genetic variation among several Hsp104 homologs that specifically antagonize TDP-43 or alpha-synuclein condensate formation and toxicity in yeast, human cells, and C. elegans. Surprisingly, this variation manifested as increased passive chaperone activity, distinct from disaggregase activity, which neutralizes proteotoxicity of specific substrates. Thus, by exploring natural tuning of passive chaperone activity we elucidated enhanced, substrate-specific agents to counter proteotoxicity underlying neurodegenerative disease.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Biochemical Pathway
Sequence Determinations, RNA
Pharmacologic Substance
Massively-Parallel Sequencing
Tributyl phosphate

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