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Theses

Huntington disease and breast cancer

Abstract : Huntington disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder caused by an abnormal CAG expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. The corresponding polyglutamine expansion in the HTT protein causes specific neuronal death, but the consequences of HTT mutation in other tissues are less well understood. Nevertheless, HD mutation causes peripheral symptoms as HTT is an ubiquitous protein. HD was associated to lower cancer incidence, however, the mechanisms behind this effect were not described. Here we have studied the role of wild-type and mutant HTT in breast cancer, where we found the protein to be highly expressed. We demonstrate that mouse breast cancer models (MMTV-PyVT and MMTV-ErbB2) expressing mutant HTT (knock-in mice carrying 111 CAGs) develop aggressive mammary tumors as compared to control mice. Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition is enhanced with subsequent increased cell motility and metastasis. These tumors accumulate tyrosine-kinase receptor HER2 at the membrane, due to a dynamin-dependent endocytosis defect in the presence of mutant HTT. HER2 enhanced signaling is responsible for the aggressiveness of the mutant HTT expressing tumors, as demonstrated by Trastuzumab treatment, an antibody against HER2 that restores motility and invasion in tumor cells carrying HD mutation. The wild-type HTT has itself a protective role in cancer, inhibiting metastasis due to a possible role in cellular junction maintenance. Thus, our work unravels a key role of HTT in breast cancer progression, with the mutant HTT triggering the development of aggressive and metastatic tumors.
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  • HAL Id : tel-02003617, version 1

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Cristovao Sousa. Huntington disease and breast cancer. Agricultural sciences. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013PA114823⟩. ⟨tel-02003617⟩

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