Oxford University Press (OUP), Human Molecular Genetics, 22(19), p. 4373-4384
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Expansion of a polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in the Huntingtin (Htt) protein causes Huntington's disease (HD), a fatal inherited neurodegenerative disorder. Loss of the normal function of Htt is thought to be an important pathogenetic component of HD. However, the function of wild-type Htt is not well defined. Htt is thought to be a multifunctional protein that plays distinct roles in several biological processes, including synaptic transmission, intracellular transport and neuronal transcription. Here, we show with biochemical and live cell imaging studies that wild-type Htt stimulates the transport of nuclear factor κ light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) out of dendritic spines (where NF-κB is activated by excitatory synaptic input) and supports a high level of active NF-κB in neuronal nuclei (where NF-κB stimulates the transcription of target genes). We show that this novel function of Htt is impaired by the polyQ expansion and thus may contribute to the etiology of HD.