Canadian Association of Neurosciences Review: Polyglutamine Expansion Neurodegenerative Diseases Academic Article uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • ABSTRACT:Since the early 1990s, DNA triplet repeat expansions have been found to be the cause in an ever increasing number of genetic neurologic diseases. A subset of this large family of genetic diseases has the expansion of a CAG DNA triplet in the open reading frame of a coding exon. The result of this DNA expansion is the expression of expanded glutamine amino acid repeat tracts in the affected proteins, leading to the term, Polyglutamine Diseases, which is applied to this sub-family of diseases. To date, nine distinct genes are known to be linked to polyglutamine diseases, including Huntington's disease, Machado-Joseph Disease and spinobulbar muscular atrophy or Kennedy's disease. Most of the polyglutamine diseases are characterized clinically as spinocerebellar ataxias. Here we discuss recent successes and advancements in polyglutamine disease research, comparing these different diseases with a common genetic flaw at the level of molecular biology and early drug design for a family of diseases where many new research tools for these genetic disorders have been developed. Polyglutamine disease research has successfully used interdisciplinary collaborative efforts, informative multiple mouse genetic models and advanced tools of pharmaceutical industry research to potentially serve as the prototype model of therapeutic research and development for rare neurodegenerative diseases.


  • Truant, Ray
  • Raymond, Lynn A
  • Xia, Jianrun
  • Pinchev, Deborah
  • Burtnik, Anjee
  • Atwal, Randy Singh

publication date

  • August 2006

has subject area