Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Our capacity for tracking how misfolded proteins aggregate inside a cell and how different aggregation states impact cell biology remains enigmatic. To address this, we built a new toolkit that enabled the high throughput tracking of individual cells enriched with polyglutamine-expanded Htt exon 1 (Httex1) monomers, oligomers, and inclusions using biosensors of aggregation state and flow cytometry pulse shape analysis. Supplemented with gel filtration chromatography and fluorescence-adapted sedimentation velocity analysis of cell lysates, we collated a multidimensional view of Httex1 aggregation in cells with respect to time, polyglutamine length, expression levels, cell survival, and overexpression of protein quality control chaperones hsp40 (DNAJB1) and hsp70 (HSPA1A). Cell death rates trended higher for Neuro2a cells containing Httex1 in inclusions than with Httex1 dispersed through the cytosol at time points of expression over 2 days. hsp40 stabilized monomers and suppressed inclusion formation but did not otherwise change Httex1 toxicity. hsp70, however, had no major effect on aggregation of Httex1 but increased the survival rate of cells with inclusions. hsp40 and hsp70 also increased levels of a second bicistronic reporter of Httex1 expression, mKate2, and increased total numbers of cells in culture, suggesting these chaperones partly rectify Httex1-induced deficiencies in quality control and growth rates. Collectively, these data suggest that Httex1 overstretches the protein quality control resources and that the defects can be partly rescued by overexpression of hsp40 and hsp70. Importantly, these effects occurred in a pronounced manner for soluble Httex1, which points to Httex1 aggregation occurring subsequently to more acute impacts on the cell.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





37192 - 37203


Amyloid, Analytical Ultracentrifugation, Chaperone Chaperonin, Flow Cytometry, Oligomers, Polyglutamine, Protein Aggregation, PulSA, huntingtin, Amyloid, Animals, Cell Death, Cell Line, Cell Survival, Exons, Gene Expression Regulation, HSP40 Heat-Shock Proteins, HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins, Humans, Huntingtin Protein, Mice, Nerve Tissue Proteins