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Karl Bacos

Karl Bacos

Assistant researcher

Karl Bacos

No symphony without bassoon and piccolo : Changes in synaptic active zone proteins in Huntington's disease


  • Ting Ting Huang
  • Ruben Smith
  • Karl Bacos
  • Dong Yan Song
  • Richard M. Faull
  • Henry J. Waldvogel
  • Jia Yi Li

Summary, in English

Prominent features of HD neuropathology are the intranuclear and cytoplasmic inclusions of huntingtin and striatal and cortical neuronal cell death. Recently, synaptic defects have been reported on HD-related studies, including impairment of neurotransmitter release and alterations of synaptic components. However, the definite characteristics of synapse dysfunction and the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. We studied the gene expression levels and patterns of a number of proteins forming the cytoskeletal matrix of the presynaptic active zones in HD transgenic mice (R6/1), in hippocampal neuronal cultures overexpressing mutant huntingtin and in postmortem brain tissues of HD patients. To investigate the interactions between huntingtin and active proteins, we performed confocal microscopic imaging and immunoprecipitation in mouse and HEK 293 cell line models. The mRNA and protein levels of Bassoon were reduced in mouse and cell culture models of HD and in brain tissues of patients with HD. Moreover, a striking re-distribution of a complex of proteins including Bassoon, Piccolo and Munc 13-1 from the cytoplasm and synapses into intranuclear huntingtin aggregates with loss of active zone proteins and dendritic spines. This re-localization was age-dependent and coincided with the formation of huntingtin aggregates. Using co-immunoprecipitation, we demonstrated that huntingtin interacts with Bassoon, and that this interaction is likely mediated by a third linking protein. Three structural proteins involved in neurotransmitter release in the presynaptic active zones of neurons are altered in expression and that the proteins are redistributed from their normal functional site into mutant huntingtin aggregates.


  • Regeneration in Movement Disorders
  • MultiPark: Multidisciplinary research focused on Parkinson´s disease
  • Diabetes - Epigenetics
  • EXODIAB: Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden
  • Neural Plasticity and Repair

Publishing year





Acta Neuropathologica Communications





Document type

Journal article


BioMed Central (BMC)


  • Neurology


  • Active zone proteins
  • Huntington's disease
  • Protein aggregation
  • Synaptic dysfunction



Research group

  • Regeneration in Movement Disorders
  • Diabetes - Epigenetics
  • Neural Plasticity and Repair


  • ISSN: 2051-5960