on Archives of biochemistry and biophysics
by Gentile V, Sepe C, Calvani M, Melone MA, Cotrufo R, Cooper AJ, Blass JP, Peluso G
To investigate possible biochemical mechanisms underlying the "toxic gain of function" associated with polyglutamine expansions, the ability of guinea pig liver tissue transglutaminase to catalyze covalent attachments of various polyamines to polyglutamine peptides was examined. Of the polyamines tested, spermine is the most active substrate, followed by spermidine and putrescine. Formation of covalent cross links between polyglutamine peptides and polyamines yields high-M(r) aggregates--a process that is favored with longer polyglutamines. In the presence of tissue transglutaminase, purified glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (a key glycolytic enzyme that binds tightly to the polyglutamine domains of both huntingtin and dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy proteins) is covalently attached to polyglutamine peptides in vitro, resulting in the formation of high-M(r) aggregates. In addition, endogenous glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase of a Balb-c 3T3 fibroblast cell line overexpressing human tissue transglutaminase forms cross-links with a Q60 polypeptide added to the cell homogenate. Possibly, expansion of polyglutamine domains (thus far known to occur in the gene products associated with at least seven neurodegenerative diseases) leads to increased/aberrant tissue transglutaminase-catalyzed cross-linking reactions with both polyamines and susceptible proteins, such as glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase. Formation of cross-linked heteropolymers may lead to deposition of high-M(r) protein aggregates, thereby contributing to cell death.