Spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3), known as Machado-Joseph disease, is an autosomal dominant disease caused by an abnormal expansion of polyglutamine in ATXN3 gene, leading to neurodegeneration in SCA3 patients. Similar to other neurodegenerative diseases, the dysfunction of mitochondria is observed to cause neuronal death in SCA3 patients. Based on previous studies, proteolytic cleavage of mutant ATXN3 is found to produce truncated C-terminal fragments in SCA3 models. However, whether these truncated mutant fragments disturb mitochondrial functions and result in pathological death is still unclear. Here, we used neuroblastoma cell and transgenic mouse models to examine the effects of truncated mutant ATXN3 on mitochondria functions. In different models, we observed truncated mutant ATXN3 accelerated the formation of aggregates, which translocated into the nucleus to form intranuclear aggregates. In addition, truncated mutant ATXN3 caused more mitochondrial fission, and decreased the expression of mitochondrial fusion markers, including Mfn-1 and Mfn-2. Furthermore, truncated mutant ATXN3 decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential, increased reactive oxygen species and finally increased cell death rate. In transgenic mouse models, truncated mutant ATXN3 also led to more mitochondrial dysfunction, neurodegeneration and cell death in the cerebellums. This study supports the toxic fragment hypothesis in SCA3, and also provides evidence that truncated mutant ATXN3 is severer than full-length mutant one in vitro and in vivo.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience