Dithiol-based compounds maintain the expression of the antioxidant protein Peroxiredoxin 1 which counteracts the toxicity of mutant Huntingtin

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Abstract

Mitochondrial dysfunction and elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) are strongly implicated in both aging and various neurodegenerative disorders, including Huntington′s disease (HD). Because ROS can promote the selective oxidation of protein cysteine sulfhydryl groups to disulfide bonds we examined the spectrum of disulfide-bonded proteins that were specifically altered in a HD context. Protein extracts from PC12 cells overexpressing the amino terminal fragment of the Huntingtin (Htt) protein with either a nonpathogenic or pathogenic polyglutamine repeat (Htt-103Q) were resolved by Redox 2D-PAGE followed by mass spectrometry analysis. Several antioxidant proteins were identified that exhibited changes in disulfide bonding unique to Htt-103Q expressing cells. In particular, the antioxidant protein peroxiredoxin 1 (Prx1) exhibited both decreased expression and hyperoxidation in response to mutant Htt expressed in either PC12 cells or immortalized striatal cells exposed to 3-nitropropionic acid. Ectopic expression of Prx1 in PC12 cells attenuated mutant Htt-induced toxicity. In contrast, shRNA mediated knockdown of Prx1 potentiated mHtt toxicity. Furthermore, treatment with the dithiol based compounds dimercaptopropanol (DMP) and dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) suppressed toxicity in both HD cell models, whereas mono-thiol compounds were relatively ineffective. DMP treatment also prevented mutant Htt-induced loss of Prx1 expression in both cell models. Our studies reveal for the first time that pathogenic Htt can affect the expression and redox state of antioxidant proteins; an event countered by specific dithiol-based compounds. These findings should provide a catalyst to explore the use of dithiol-based drugs for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

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