Expansion of the polyQ repeats in THAP11 forms intranuclear aggregation and causes cell G0/G1 arrest


  • These authors contributed equally to the article.


Polyglutamine diseases are a group of neurodegenerative disorders caused by expansion of a CAG repeat that encodes polyglutamine in each respective disease gene. The transcription factor THAP11, a member of THAP family, is involved in cell growth, ES cell pluripotency and embryogenesis. Previous studies suggest that THAP11 protein contains a 29-residue repeat polyglutamine motif and the number of polyglutamine ranges from 20 to 41 in Indian population. We have investigated the CAG numbers at the THAP11 locus in normal individuals and neurodegenerative disease patients of Chinese Han population and a 38Q expansion (THAP11(38Q)) was found in patients. Using fluorescence confocal-based cell imaging, THAP11(38Q) protein formed intranuclear inclusions easier than THAP11(29Q) in PC12 cells. Enhanced toxicity was investigated in THAP11(38Q)-expressing cells by growth inhibition and G0/G1 arrest. CREB-mediated transcription activity was inhibited by THAP11(38Q). The transcription factor, TBP, coactivator CBP, and chaperon protein, HSP70, could be recruited to THAP11(38Q). These results indicate that expansion of the polyglutamine in THAP11 forms intracellular aggregation and is toxic in PC12 cells, suggesting a putative role of THAP11 in polyglutamine disease.