It is hypothesized that a common underlying mechanism links multiple neurodegenerative disorders. Here we show that transitional endoplasmic reticulum ATPase (TERA)/valosin-containing protein (VCP)/p97 directly binds to multiple polyglutamine disease proteins (huntingtin, ataxin-1, ataxin-7 and androgen receptor) via polyglutamine sequence. Although normal and mutant polyglutamine proteins interact with TERA/VCP/p97, only mutant proteins affect dynamism of TERA/VCP/p97.
The neuropathology of the primary dystonias is not well understood. We examined brains from identical twins with DYT1-negative, dopa-unresponsive dystonia. The twins exhibited mild developmental delays until age 12 years when they began developing rapidly progressive generalized dystonia. Genetic, metabolic, and imaging studies ruled out known causes of dystonia. Cognition was subnormal but stable until the last few years. Death occurred at ages 21 and 22 years. The brains were macroscopically unremarkable.
Previous studies showed that S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) prevented MDB formation and the hypomethylation of histones induced by DDC feeding. These results suggest that formation of MDBs is an epigenetic phenomenon. To further test this theory, drug-primed mice were fed the methyl donor, betaine, together with DDC, which was refed for 7 days. Betaine significantly reduced MDB formation, decreased the liver/body weight ratio and decreased the number of FAT10 positive liver cells when they proliferate in response to DDC refeeding.