Increased susceptibility of cytoplasmic over nuclear polyglutamine aggregates to autophagic degradation.
Iwata A., Christianson JC., Bucci M., Ellerby LM., Nukina N., Forno LS., Kopito RR.
CNS neurons are endowed with the ability to recover from cytotoxic insults associated with the accumulation of proteinaceous aggregates in mouse models of polyglutamine disease, but the cellular mechanism underlying this phenomenon is unknown. Here, we show that autophagy is essential for the elimination of aggregated forms of mutant huntingtin and ataxin-1 from the cytoplasmic but not nuclear compartments. Human orthologs of yeast autophagy genes, molecular determinants of autophagic vacuole formation, are recruited to cytoplasmic but not nuclear inclusion bodies in vitro and in vivo. These data indicate that autophagy is a critical component of the cellular clearance of toxic protein aggregates and may help to explain why protein aggregates are more toxic when directed to the nucleus.