Protein context clearly influences neurotoxicity in polyglutamine diseases, but the contribution of alternative splicing to this phenomenon has rarely been investigated. Ataxin-3, a deubiquitinating enzyme and the disease protein in SCA3, is alternatively spliced to encode either a C-terminal hydrophobic stretch or a third ubiquitin interacting motif (termed 2UIM and 3UIM isoforms, respectively). In light of emerging insights into ataxin-3 function, we examined the significance of this splice variation. We confirmed neural expression of several minor 59 variants and both of the known 39 ataxin-3 splice variants. Regardless of polyglutamine expansion, 3UIM ataxin-3 is the predominant isoform in brain. Although 2UIM and 3UIM ataxin-3 display similar in vitro deubiquitinating activity, 2UIM ataxin-3 is more prone to aggregate and more rapidly degraded by the proteasome. Our data demonstrate how alternative splicing of sequences distinct from the trinucleotide repeat can alter properties of the encoded polyglutamine disease protein and thereby perhaps contribute to selective neurotoxicity. © 2010 Harris et al.
Harris, G. M., Dodelzon, K., Gong, L., Gonzalez-Alegre, P., & Paulson, H. L. (2010). Splice isoforms of the polyglutamine disease protein ataxin-3 exhibit similar enzymatic yet different aggregation properties. PLoS ONE, 5(10). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0013695