The rate of polyQ-mediated aggregation is dramatically affected by the number and location of surrounding domains

Amy Robertson, Mark Bate, Ashley Buckle, Stephen Bottomley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The nine polyglutamine (polyQ) neurodegenerative diseases are caused in part by a gain-of-function mechanism involving protein misfolding, the deposition of beta-sheet-rich aggregates and neuronal toxicity. While previous experimental evidence suggests that the polyQ-induced misfolding mechanism is context dependent, the properties of the host protein, including the domain architecture and location of the polyQ tract, have not been investigated. Here, we use variants of a model polyQ-containing protein to systematically determine the effect of the location and number of flanking folded domains on polyQ-mediated aggregation. Our data indicate that when a pathological-length polyQ tract is present between two domains, it aggregates more slowly than the same-length tract in a terminal location within the protein. We also demonstrate that increasing the number of flanking domains decreases the polyQ protein s aggregation rate. Our experimental data, together with a bioinformatic analysis of all human proteins possessing polyQ tracts, suggest that repeat location and protein domain architecture affect the disease susceptibility of human polyQ proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879 - 887
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Cite this