Expansion of CUG RNA repeats causes stress and inhibition of translation in myotonic dystrophy 1 (DM1) cells

Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Baylor College of Medicine, 1 Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
The FASEB Journal (Impact Factor: 5.48). 10/2010; 24(10):3706-19. DOI: 10.1096/fj.09-151159
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of the mutant CUGn RNA in the induction of stress in type 1 myotonic dystrophy (DM1) cells and in the stress-mediated inhibition of protein translation in DM1. To achieve our goals, we performed HPLC-based purification of stress granules (SGs), immunoanalysis of SGs with stress markers TIA-1, CUGBP1, and ph-eIF2, site-specific mutagenesis, and examinations of RNA-protein and protein-protein interactions in myoblasts from control and DM1 patients. The cause-and-effect relationships were addressed in stable cells expressing mutant CUG repeats. We found that the mutant CUGn RNA induces formation of SGs through the increase of the double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) and following inactivation of eIF2α, one of the substrates of PKR. We show that SGs trap mRNA coding for the DNA repair and remodeling factor MRG15 (MORF4L1), translation of which is regulated by CUGBP1. As the result of the trapping, the levels of MRG15 are reduced in DM1 cells and in CUG-expressing cells. These data show that CUG repeats cause stress in DM1 through the PKR-ph-eIF2α pathway inhibiting translation of certain mRNAs, such as MRG15 mRNA. The repression of protein translation by stress might contribute to the progressive muscle loss in DM1.

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    ABSTRACT: Myotonic dystrophy type 1 is caused by abnormal expansion of a CTG-trinucleotide repeat in the gene encoding Dystrophia Myotonica Protein Kinase (DMPK), which in turn leads to global deregulation of gene expression in affected individuals. The transcribed mRNA contains a massive CUG-expansion in the 3' untranslated region (3'UTR) facilitating nucleation of several regulatory RNA-binding proteins, which are thus unable to perform their normal cellular function. These CUG-expanded mRNA-protein aggregates form distinct, primarily nuclear foci. In differentiated muscle cells, most of the CUG-expanded RNA remains in the nuclear compartment, while in dividing cells such as fibroblasts a considerable fraction of the mutant RNA reaches the cytoplasm, consistent with findings that both nuclear and cytoplasmic events are mis-regulated in DM1. Recent evidence suggests that the nuclear aggregates, or ribonuclear foci, are more dynamic than previously anticipated and regulated by several proteins, including RNA helicases. In this review, we focus on the homeostasis of DMPK mRNA foci and discuss how their dynamic regulation may affect disease-causing mechanisms in DM1. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
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Claudia H. Huichalaf