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.
"MBNL3 antagonizes muscle differentiation by promoting exclusion of the alternatively spliced β-exon of Myocyte enhancer factor 2D (Mef2D)  and also by the inhibition of myogenesis by maintaining myoblasts in a proliferative state , . As a result of this regulation a negative correlation exists between MBNL1 and MBNL3 expression levels in muscle during development when MBNL3 is mainly detected during embryonic development, but also transiently during injury-induced adult skeletal muscle regeneration , . MBNL1 and MBNL2 have a similar expression pattern in skeletal and heart muscle, kidney, liver, lung, intestine, brain and placenta. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] 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 03/2014; 9(3):e93125. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0093125 · 3.23 Impact Factor
"These findings are similar to a previous study done by Ho and colleagues, in which all of the MBNL proteins were shown to promote either exon inclusion in the case of the human insulin receptor exon 11, or exon repression in human and chicken cardiac troponin T when over-expressed in cells along with minigene reporters . Although all of the family members function redundantly in the transfection experiments, MBNL3 might not have a significant role physiologically in the regulation of this alternative splicing event since its expression profile is not as extensive as that of the other two family members . Furthermore, the simultaneous disruption of both of the endogenous MBNL proteins in HeLa cells by siRNA knockdown promotes NF1 exon 23a skipping which is consistent with our hypothesis that they are positive regulators and that they function redundantly in this system. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Alternative splicing is often subjected to complex regulatory control that involves many protein factors and cis-acting RNA sequence elements. One major challenge is to identify all of the protein players and define how they control alternative expression of a particular exon in a combinatorial manner. The Muscleblind-like (MBNL) and CUG-BP and ELAV-Like family (CELF) proteins are splicing regulatory proteins, which function as antagonists in the regulation of several alternative exons. Currently only a limited number of common targets of MBNL and CELF are known that are antagonistically regulated by these two groups of proteins.
Recently, we identified neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) exon 23a as a novel target of negative regulation by CELF proteins. Here we report that MBNL family members are positive regulators of this exon. Overexpression of MBNL proteins promote exon 23a inclusion in a low MBNL-expressing cell line, and simultaneous siRNA-mediated knockdown of MBNL1 and MBNL2 family members in a high MBNL-expressing cell line promotes exon 23a skipping. Importantly, these two groups of proteins antagonize each other in regulating inclusion of exon 23a. Furthermore, we analyzed the binding sites of these proteins in the intronic sequences upstream of exon 23a by UV cross-linking assays. We show that in vitro, in addition to the previously identified preferred binding sequence UGCUGU, the MBNL proteins need the neighboring sequences for optimal binding.
This study along with our previous work that demonstrated roles for Hu, CELF, and TIA-1 and TIAR proteins in the regulation of NF1 exon 23a establish that this exon is under tight, complex control.
"Flies possess a single gene, mbl, whereas mammals express three closely related Mbnl genes (Fardaei et al., 2002). In mouse and human, Mbnl1 and Mbnl2 are expressed across many tissues, including brain, heart, and muscle, whereas Mbnl3 is expressed primarily in placenta (Kanadia et al., 2003b; Squillace et al., 2002). Mammalian Mbnl proteins contain two pairs of highly conserved zinc fingers, which bind to pre-mRNA to regulate alternative splicing (Pascual et al., 2006). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The muscleblind-like (Mbnl) family of RNA-binding proteins plays important roles in muscle and eye development and in myotonic dystrophy (DM), in which expanded CUG or CCUG repeats functionally deplete Mbnl proteins. We identified transcriptome-wide functional and biophysical targets of Mbnl proteins in brain, heart, muscle, and myoblasts by using RNA-seq and CLIP-seq approaches. This analysis identified several hundred splicing events whose regulation depended on Mbnl function in a pattern indicating functional interchangeability between Mbnl1 and Mbnl2. A nucleotide resolution RNA map associated repression or activation of exon splicing with Mbnl binding near either 3' splice site or near the downstream 5' splice site, respectively. Transcriptomic analysis of subcellular compartments uncovered a global role for Mbnls in regulating localization of mRNAs in both mouse and Drosophila cells, and Mbnl-dependent translation and protein secretion were observed for a subset of mRNAs with Mbnl-dependent localization. These findings hold several new implications for DM pathogenesis.
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