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Inclusions of disordered protein are a characteristic feature of most neurodegenerative diseases, including Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract in the huntingtin protein; mutant huntingtin protein (mHtt) is unstable and accumulates in large intracellular inclusions both in affected individuals and when expressed in eukaryotic cells. Using mHtt-GFP expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we find that mHtt-GFP inclusions are dynamic, mobile, gel-like structures that concentrate mHtt together with the disaggregase Hsp104. Although inclusions may associate with the vacuolar membrane, the association is reversible and we find that inclusions of mHtt in S. cerevisiae are not taken up by the vacuole or other organelles. Instead, a pulse-chase study using photoconverted mHtt-mEos2 revealed that mHtt is directly and continuously removed from the inclusion body. In addition to mobile inclusions, we also imaged and tracked the movements of small particles of mHtt-GFP and determine that they move randomly. These observations suggest that inclusions may grow through the collision and coalescence of small aggregative particles.


This work was originally published in Life Science Alliance, available at DOI 10.26508/lsa.201900489

This article is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution 4.0 International, as described at licenses/by/4.0/).

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