Therapeutic gene silencing strategies for polyglutamine disorders.
ABSTRACT Dominantly inherited polyglutamine disorders are chronic neurodegenerative diseases therapeutically amenable to gene-specific silencing strategies. Several compelling nucleic acid-based approaches have recently been developed to block the expression of mutant proteins and prevent toxic neurodegenerative sequelae. With such approaches, avoiding potential side effects caused by the concomitant ablation of the normal protein is an important objective. Therefore, allele-specific gene silencing is highly desirable; however, retaining wild type function is complex given that the common CAG mutation cannot be directly targeted, and might not be necessary or justifiable in all cases. Insights from polyglutamine gene function studies and the further development of allele-specific and other gene silencing methodologies will be important to determine the optimal therapeutic strategy for each polyglutamine disorder.
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ABSTRACT: We targeted 266 CAG repeats (a number that causes infantile-onset disease) into the mouse Sca7 locus to generate an authentic model of spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7). These mice reproduced features of infantile SCA7 (ataxia, visual impairments, and premature death) and showed impaired short-term synaptic potentiation; downregulation of photoreceptor-specific genes, despite apparently normal CRX activity, led to shortening of photoreceptor outer segments. Wild-type ataxin-7 was barely detectable, as was mutant ataxin-7 in young animals; with increasing age, however, ataxin-7 staining became more pronounced. Neurons that appeared most vulnerable had relatively high levels of mutant ataxin-7; it is interesting, however, that marked dysfunction occurred in these neurons weeks prior to the appearance of nuclear inclusions. These data demonstrate that glutamine expansion stabilizes mutant ataxin-7, provide an explanation for selective neuronal vulnerability, and show that mutant ataxin-7 impairs posttetanic potentiation (PTP).Neuron 03/2003; 37(3):383-401. · 15.77 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: By using a cre-lox conditional knockout strategy, we report here the generation of androgen receptor knockout (ARKO) mice. Phenotype analysis shows that ARKO male mice have a female-like appearance and body weight. Their testes are 80% smaller and serum testosterone concentrations are lower than in wild-type (wt) mice. Spermatogenesis is arrested at pachytene spermatocytes. The number and size of adipocytes are also different between the wt and ARKO mice. Cancellous bone volumes of ARKO male mice are reduced compared with wt littermates. In addition, we found the average number of pups per litter in homologous and heterozygous ARKO female mice is lower than in wt female mice, suggesting potential defects in female fertility and/or ovulation. The cre-lox ARKO mouse provides a much-needed in vivo animal model to study androgen functions in the selective androgen target tissues in female or male mice.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2002; 99(21):13498-503. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Machado-Joseph disease (MJD; MIM 109150) is a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of a polyglutamine tract within the MJD1 gene. We have previously reported the generation of human yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) constructs encompassing the MJD1 locus into which expanded (CAG)(76) and (CAG)(84) repeat motifs have been introduced by homologous recombination. Transgenic mice containing pathological alleles with polyglutamine tract lengths of 64, 67, 72, 76 and 84 repeats, as well as the wild type with 15 repeats, have now been generated using these YAC constructs. The mice with expanded alleles demonstrate a mild and slowly progressive cerebellar deficit, manifesting as early as 4 weeks of age. As the disease progresses, pelvic elevation becomes markedly flattened, accompanied by hypotonia, and motor and sensory loss. Neuronal intranuclear inclusion (NII) formation and cell loss is prominent in the pontine and dentate nuclei, with variable cell loss in other regions of the cerebellum from 4 weeks of age. Interestingly, peripheral nerve demyelination and axonal loss is detected in symptomatic mice from 26 weeks of age. In contrast, transgenic mice carrying the wild-type (CAG)(15) allele of the MJD1 locus appear completely normal at 20 months. Disease severity increases with the level of expression of the expanded protein and the size of the repeat. These mice are representative of MJD and will be a valuable resource for the detailed analysis of the roles of repeat length, tissue specificity and level of expression in the neurodegenerative processes underlying MJD pathogenesis.Human Molecular Genetics 06/2002; 11(9):1075-94. · 7.69 Impact Factor