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Open Access Research article

HAP1 can sequester a subset of TBP in cytoplasmic inclusions via specific interaction with the conserved TBPCORE

Justin R Prigge1 and Edward E Schmidt12*

Author Affiliations

1 Veterinary Molecular Biology, Molecular Biosciences, Montana State University, 960 Technology Blvd. Bozeman, MT 59717, USA

2 Center for Reproductive Biology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA

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BMC Molecular Biology 2007, 8:76  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-8-76

Published: 14 September 2007



Huntington's disease, spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy, and spinocerebellar ataxia 17 (SCA17) are caused by expansions in the polyglutamine (polyQ) repeats in Huntingtin protein (Htt), androgen receptor protein (AR), and TATA-binding protein (TBP), respectively. Htt-associated protein 1 (HAP1), a component of neuronal cytoplasmic stigmoid bodies (STBs), can sequester polyQ-expanded Htt and AR in STBs, thereby antagonizing formation of the nuclear aggregates associated with apoptotic neuron loss and disease progression.


Clones of HAP1 were isolated from unbiased two-hybrid screens for proteins that interact with TBP. Domain mapping showed that regions between amino acids 157 and 261 and between amino acids 473 and 582 of mouse HAP1 both bind specifically to the conserved C-terminal TBPCORE domain, away from the TBP N-terminal polyQ region. When fluorescently tagged versions of HAP1 or TBP were expressed independently in COS-7, 293, or Neuro-2a cells, all TBP localized to the nucleus and all HAP1 assembled into cytoplasmic stigmoid-like bodies (STLBs). When co-expressed, a portion of the TBP was assembled into the HAP1 STLBs while the remainder was localized to the nucleus. Although the TBP N terminus, including the polyQ region, was unnecessary for TBP-HAP1 interaction, in mammalian cells, removal of the TBP Qrepeat reduced the proportion of TBP that assembled into STLBs, whereas expansion of the Qrepeat had no significant affect on TBP subcellular localization.


HAP1 can sequester a subset of TBP protein away from the nucleus; extranuclear TBP sequestration is quantitatively influenced by the TBP polyQ repeat. These results suggest HAP1 could provide protection from SCA17 neuropathology.