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Localization of BDNF mRNA with the Huntington's disease protein in rat brain

Ma, B., Culver, B.P, Baj, G., Tongiorgi, E., Chao, M.V and Tanese, N. (2010) Localization of BDNF mRNA with the Huntington's disease protein in rat brain. Molecular Neurodegeneration, 5 (22).

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Studies have implicated reduced levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease. Mutant huntingtin (Htt) protein was previously reported to decrease BDNF gene transcription and axonal transport of BDNF. We recently showed that wild-type Htt is associated with the Argonaute 2 microRNA-processing enzyme involved in gene silencing. In dendrites, Htt co-localizes with components of neuronal granules and mRNAs, indicating that it might play a role in post-transcriptional processing/transport of dendritic mRNAs.

We conducted imaging experiments in cultured cortical neurons to demonstrate the co-localization of endogenous Htt and BDNF mRNA in fixed cells, and co-trafficking of BDNF 3'UTR mRNA with endogenous and fluorescently tagged Htt in live neurons. We used an enhanced technique that combines FISH and immunofluorescent staining to co-localize BDNF mRNA with Htt, Ago2, CPEB and dynein in thick vibratome sections of the rat cortex.

In cultured neurons and sections of the rat cortex, we found BDNF mRNA associated with Htt and components of neuronal RNA granules, which are centers for regulating RNA transport and local translation. Htt may play a role in post-transcriptional transport/targeting of mRNA for BDNF, thus contributing to neurotrophic support and neuron survival.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Biomed Central
Copyright: © 2010 Ma et al
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