Despite the strong evidence linking the aggregation of the Huntingtin protein (Htt) to the pathogenesis of Huntington’s disease (HD), the mechanisms underlying Htt aggregation and neurodegeneration remain poorly understood. Herein, we investigated the ultrastructural properties and protein composition of Htt inclusions in cells overexpressing mutant exon1 of the Htt protein. Our findings provide novel insight into the ultrastructural properties of cytoplasmic and nuclear Htt inclusions and their mechanisms of formation. We show that Htt inclusion formation and maturation are complex processes that, although initially driven by polyQ-dependent Htt aggregation, also involve 1) polyQ and PRD domain-dependent sequestration of lipids and cytoplasmic and cytoskeletal proteins related to HD dysregulated pathways; 2) recruitment and accumulation of remodeled or dysfunctional membranous organelles; and 3) impairement of the protein quality control and degradation machineries. Interestingly, nuclear and cytoplasmic Htt inclusions exhibited distinct biochemical composition and ultrastructural properties, suggesting different formation mechanisms and toxicity.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience