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Insulin-Degrading Enzyme Efficiently Degrades polyQ Peptides but not Expanded polyQ Huntingtin Fragments.

BACKGROUND: Huntington's disease is an inheritable autosomal dominant disorder caused by an expanded CAG trinucleotide repeat within the Huntingtin gene, leading to a polyglutamine (polyQ) expansion in the mutant protein.

OBJECTIVE: A potential therapeutic approach for delaying or preventing the onset of the disease involves enhancing the degradation of the aggregation-prone polyQ-expanded N-terminal mutant huntingtin (mHTT) exon1 fragment. A few proteases and peptidases have been identified that are able to cleave polyQ fragments with low efficiency. This study aims to identify a potent polyQ-degrading endopeptidase.

METHODS: Here we used quenched polyQ peptides to identify a polyQ-degrading endopeptidase. Next we investigated its role on HTT turnover, using purified polyQ-expanded HTT fragments and striatal cells expressing mHTT exon1 peptides.

RESULTS: We identified insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) as a novel endopeptidase for degrading polyQ peptides. IDE was, however, ineffective in reducing purified polyQ-expanded HTT fragments. Similarly, in striatal cells expressing mHTT exon1 peptides, IDE did not enhance mHTT turnover.

CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that despite IDE's efficiency in degrading polyQ peptides, it does not contribute to the direct degradation of polyQ-expanded mHTT fragments.

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