Histones Could Play Role in Huntington Disease

Mouse study yields clues to underlying mechanism

THURSDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Histone modifications could be an underlying mechanism in the pathogenesis of Huntington disease, according to research presented at the American Neurological Association meeting in San Diego. Histone proteins bind to DNA, give chromosomes their shape and help regulate gene expression.

Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, Ph.D., of the MassGeneral Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease in Charlestown, Mass., and colleagues analyzed histone H3 and H4 acetylation in a mouse model of Huntington disease.

They found hypoacetylation of histones at eight and 12 weeks in the striatum, but not the cortex, hippocampus or cerebellum, of the mice. Among other findings, they also discovered a decrease in histone acetyltransferase activity in the striatum.

"Together, these results suggest that histone hypoacetylation can possibly be an underlying mechanism of transcriptional dysregulation in Huntington disease," the authors write.


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