Developmental expression of mouse muscleblind genes Mbnl1, Mbnl2 and Mbnl3.
ABSTRACT The RNA-mediated pathogenesis model for the myotonic dystrophies DM1 and DM2 proposes that mutant transcripts from the affected genes sequester a family of double-stranded RNA-binding factors, the muscleblind proteins MBNL1, MBNL2 and MBNL3, in the nucleus. These proteins are homologues of the Drosophila muscleblind proteins that are required for the terminal differentiation of muscle and photoreceptor tissues, and thus nuclear sequestration of the human proteins might impair their normal function in muscle and eye development and maintenance. To examine this model further, we analyzed the expression pattern of the mouse Mbnl1, Mbnl2, and Mbnl3 genes during embryonic development and compared muscleblind gene expression to Dmpk since the RNA pathogenesis model for DM1 requires the coordinate synthesis of mutant Dmpk transcripts and muscleblind proteins. Our studies reveal a striking overlap between the expression of Dmpk and the muscleblind genes during development of the limbs, nervous system and various muscles, including the diaphragm and tongue.
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ABSTRACT: The phylogenetically conserved family of Muscleblind proteins are RNA-binding factors involved in a variety of gene expression processes including alternative splicing regulation, RNA stability and subcellular localization, and miRNA biogenesis, which typically contribute to cell-type specific differentiation. In humans, sequestration of Muscleblind-like proteins MBNL1 and MBNL2 has been implicated in degenerative disorders, particularly expansion diseases such as myotonic dystrophy type 1 and 2. Drosophila muscleblind was previously shown to be expressed in embryonic somatic and visceral muscle subtypes, and in the central nervous system, and to depend on Mef2 for transcriptional activation. Genomic approaches have pointed out candidate gene promoters and tissue-specific enhancers, but experimental confirmation of their regulatory roles was lacking. In our study, luciferase reporter assays in S2 cells confirmed that regions P1 (515 bp) and P2 (573 bp), involving the beginning of exon 1 and exon 2, respectively, were able to initiate RNA transcription. Similarly, transgenic Drosophila embryos carrying enhancer reporter constructs supported the existence of two regulatory regions which control embryonic expression of muscleblind in the central nerve cord (NE, neural enhancer; 830 bp) and somatic (skeletal) musculature (ME, muscle enhancer; 3.3 kb). Both NE and ME were able to boost expression from the Hsp70 heterologous promoter. In S2 cell assays most of the ME enhancer activation could be further narrowed down to a 1200 bp subregion (ME.3), which contains predicted binding sites for the Mef2 transcription factor. The present study constitutes the first characterization of muscleblind enhancers and will contribute to a deeper understanding of the transcriptional regulation of the gene.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e93125. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The GGGGCC (G4C2) intronic repeat expansion within C9ORF72 is the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Intranuclear neuronal RNA foci have been observed in ALS and FTD tissues, suggesting that G4C2 RNA may be toxic. Here, we demonstrate that the expression of 38× and 72× G4C2 repeats form intranuclear RNA foci that initiate apoptotic cell death in neuronal cell lines and zebrafish embryos. The foci colocalize with a subset of RNA binding proteins, including SF2, SC35, and hnRNP-H in transfected cells. Only hnRNP-H binds directly to G4C2 repeats following RNA immunoprecipitation, and only hnRNP-H colocalizes with 70% of G4C2 RNA foci detected in C9ORF72 mutant ALS and FTD brain tissues. We show that expanded G4C2 repeats are potently neurotoxic and bind hnRNP-H and other RNA binding proteins. We propose that RNA toxicity and protein sequestration may disrupt RNA processing and contribute to neurodegeneration.Cell Reports 11/2013; · 7.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Myotonic Dystrophy Type I (DM1) is a multi-system, autosomal dominant disorder due to expansion of a CTG repeat sequence in the 3'UTR of the DMPK gene. Repeat size correlates with age of onset and disease severity, with large repeats leading to congenital forms of DM1 associated with hypotonia and intellectual disability. In models of adult DM1, expanded CUG repeats lead to an RNA toxic gain of function at least in part mediated by sequestering specific RNA splicing proteins, most notably muscleblind related proteins (MBNL). However, the impact of CUG RNA repeat expression on early developmental processes is not well understood. To better understand early developmental processes in DM1, we utilized the zebrafish, Danio rerio, as a model system. Direct injection of (CUG)91 repeat-ontaining mRNA into single cell embryos induces toxicity in the nervous system and muscle during early development. These effects manifest as abnormal morphology, behavioral abnormalities, and broad transcriptional changes based on cDNA microarray analysis. Co-injection of zebrafish mbnl2 RNA suppresses (CUG)91 RNA toxicity and reverses the associated behavioral and transcriptional abnormalities. Taken together, these findings suggest that early expression of exogenously transcribed CUG repeat RNA can disrupt normal muscle and nervous system development and provides a new model for DM1 research that is amenable to small molecule therapeutic development.Disease Models and Mechanisms 10/2013; · 4.96 Impact Factor