[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expanded hexanucleotide repeats in the chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) gene are the most common genetic cause of ALS and frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). Here, we identify nuclear RNA foci containing the hexanucleotide expansion (GGGGCC) in patient cells, including white blood cells, fibroblasts, glia, and multiple neuronal cell types (spinal motor, cortical, hippocampal, and cerebellar neurons). RNA foci are not present in sporadic ALS, familial ALS/FTD caused by other mutations (SOD1, TDP-43, or tau), Parkinson disease, or nonneurological controls. Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) are identified that reduce GGGGCC-containing nuclear foci without altering overall C9orf72 RNA levels. By contrast, siRNAs fail to reduce nuclear RNA foci despite marked reduction in overall C9orf72 RNAs. Sustained ASO-mediated lowering of C9orf72 RNAs throughout the CNS of mice is demonstrated to be well tolerated, producing no behavioral or pathological features characteristic of ALS/FTD and only limited RNA expression alterations. Genome-wide RNA profiling identifies an RNA signature in fibroblasts from patients with C9orf72 expansion. ASOs targeting sense strand repeat-containing RNAs do not correct this signature, a failure that may be explained, at least in part, by discovery of abundant RNA foci with C9orf72 repeats transcribed in the antisense (GGCCCC) direction, which are not affected by sense strand-targeting ASOs. Taken together, these findings support a therapeutic approach by ASO administration to reduce hexanucleotide repeat-containing RNAs and raise the potential importance of targeting expanded RNAs transcribed in both directions.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2013; 110(47). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1318835110 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myotonic dystrophy (DM) of type 1 and 2 (DM1 and DM2) are inherited autosomal dominant diseases caused by dynamic and unstable expanded microsatellite sequences (CTG and CCTG, respectively) in the non-coding regions of the genes DMPK and ZNF9, respectively. These mutations result in the intranuclear accumulation of mutated transcripts and the mis-splicing of numerous transcripts. This so-called RNA gain of toxic function is the main feature of an emerging group of pathologies known as RNAopathies. Interestingly, in addition to these RNA inclusions, called foci, the presence of neurofibrillary tangles (NFT) in patient brains also distinguishes DM as a tauopathy. Tauopathies are a group of nearly 30 neurodegenerative diseases that are characterized by intraneuronal protein aggregates of the microtubule-associated protein Tau (MAPT) in patient brains. Furthermore, a number of neurodegenerative diseases involve the dysregulation of splicing regulating factors and have been characterized as spliceopathies. Thus, myotonic dystrophies are pathologies resulting from the interplay among RNAopathy, spliceopathy, and tauopathy. This review will describe how these processes contribute to neurodegeneration. We will first focus on the tauopathy associated with DM1, including clinical symptoms, brain histology, and molecular mechanisms. We will also discuss the features of DM1 that are shared by other tauopathies and, consequently, might participate in the development of a tauopathy. Moreover, we will discuss the determinants common to both RNAopathies and spliceopathies that could interfere with tau-related neurodegeneration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2) is a genetic, autosomal dominant disease due to expansion of tetraplet (CCTG) repetitions in the first intron of the ZNF9/CNBP gene. DM2 is a multisystemic disorder affecting the skeletal muscle, the heart, the eye and the endocrine system. According to the proposed pathological mechanism, the expanded tetraplets have an RNA toxic effect, disrupting the splicing of many mRNAs. Thus, the identification of aberrantly spliced transcripts is instrumental for our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underpinning the disease. The aim of this study was the identification of new aberrant alternative splicing events in DM2 patients. By genome wide analysis of 10 DM2 patients and 10 controls (CTR), we identified 273 alternative spliced exons in 218 genes. While many aberrant splicing events were already identified in the past, most were new. A subset of these events was validated by qPCR assays in 19 DM2 and 15 CTR subjects. To gain insight into the molecular pathways involving the identified aberrantly spliced genes, we performed a bioinformatics analysis with Ingenuity system. This analysis indicated a deregulation of development, cell survival, metabolism, calcium signaling and contractility. In conclusion, our genome wide analysis provided a database of aberrant splicing events in the skeletal muscle of DM2 patients. The affected genes are involved in numerous pathways and networks important for muscle physio-pathology, suggesting that the identified variants may contribute to DM2 pathogenesis.
PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e93983. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0093983 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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