Treating Huntington's Disease by Autophagy

Summer 2017

Dawei Liu : MCB Immunology

Donor: Thye Fund
Mentor: Randy Schekman

Huntington’s disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease resulting from accumulation of neurotoxic protein aggregates in the brain. The leading cause is the abnormal expansion of glutamine (polyQ) in the huntingtin protein (HTT). A major quest in this field is to develop strategies to clear the polyQ HTT aggregates. Autophagy is an essential pathway for cellular homeostasis by removing damaged proteins and organelles through the formation of autophagic membranes. The aim of my project is to manipulate autophagy to enhance the clearance of polyQ HTT aggregate. Specifically, I will design a series of protein adaptors that can theoretically enhance the targeting of the autophagic membrane to the polyQ HTT aggregate and test their effect on autophagy-mediated clearance of polyQ HTT aggregates. My methodological approaches include cloning, flow cytometry, immunoblot, co-immunoprecipitation, and immunofluorescence.

I would like to thank Thye Fund for funding me in my research project. It means a lot to me knowing that even as an undergraduate my research is being valued. I hope that this project will bring meaningful progress to the field.