Promyelocytic leukaemia-immunoreactive neuronal intranuclear rodlets in the human brain

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Abstract

In a previous study, we demonstrated immunoreactivity of a subset of neuronal intranuclear rodlets (INRs) in the human substantia nigra for promyelocytic leukaemia (PML) protein, the signature protein of PML bodies. In the present study, we extend these observations and describe the ultrastructural features, immunohistochemical staining characteristics, and topographical pattern of distribution of PML-immunoreactive intranuclear rodlets (PML-INRs). Consistent with a purported role for PML bodies in nuclear proteolysis and/or transcriptional regulation, PML-INRs are immunoreactive for components of the ubiquitin–proteasome system, the transcriptional regulator CREB-binding protein, acetylated histone H4, and the eukaryotic translation initiation factor eIF4E. Immunoelectron microscopy reveals that they all possess a filamentous core and, in some, this is surrounded by a granular shell. We further demonstrate that a proportion of INRs in extranigral sites also show partial immunoreactivity for PML. These observations indicate an intimate association between two neuronal nuclear bodies, PML bodies and INRs. Because both of these structures have been implicated in neurodegenerative disease, PML-INRs may provide a tool with which to study changes in nuclear substructure in disease.

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