Abstract

Neuronal cell death in neurodegenerative diseases is not fully understood. Here we report that mutant huntingtin (Htt), a causative gene product of Huntington’s diseases (HD) selectively induces a new form of necrotic cell death, in which endoplasmic reticulum (ER) enlarges and cell body asymmetrically balloons and finally ruptures. Pharmacological and genetic analyses revealed that the necrotic cell death is distinct from the RIP1/3 pathway-dependent necroptosis, but mediated by a functional deficiency of TEAD/YAP-dependent transcription. In addition, we revealed that a cell cycle regulator, Plk1, switches the balance between TEAD/YAP-dependent necrosis and p73/YAP-dependent apoptosis by shifting the interaction partner of YAP from TEAD to p73 through YAP phosphorylation at Thr77. In vivo ER imaging with two-photon microscopy detects similar ER enlargement, and viral vector-mediated delivery of YAP as well as chemical inhibitors of the Hippo pathway such as S1P recover the ER instability and necrosis in HD model mice. Intriguingly S1P completely stops the decline of motor function of HD model mice even after the onset of symptom. Collectively, we suggest approaches targeting the signalling pathway of TEAD/YAP-transcription-dependent necrosis (TRIAD) could lead to a therapeutic development against HD.

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