Inactivation of the SMN Complex by Oxidative Stress

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6148, USA.
Molecular cell (Impact Factor: 14.46). 07/2008; 31(2):244-54. DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2008.06.004
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The SMN complex is essential for the biogenesis of small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), the major constituents of the spliceosome. Deficiency in functional SMN protein causes spinal muscular atrophy, a common motor neuron degenerative disease of severity commensurate with SMN levels and, correspondingly, snRNP assembly decreases. We developed a high-throughput screen for snRNP assembly modifiers and discovered that reactive oxygen species (ROS) inhibit SMN-complex activity in a dose-dependent manner. ROS-generating compounds, e.g., the environmental toxins menadione and beta-lapachone (in vivo IC(50) = 0.45 muM) also cause intermolecular disulfide crosslinking of SMN. Both the oxidative inactivation and SMN crosslinking can be reversed by reductants. We identified two cysteines that form SMN-SMN disulfide crosslinks, defining specific contact points in oligomeric SMN. Thus, the SMN complex is a redox-sensitive assemblyosome and an ROS target, suggesting that it may play a role in oxidative stress pathophysiology, which is associated with many degenerative diseases.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a rare genetic condition characterized by an accelerated aging phenotype and an average life span of 13 years. Patients typically exhibit extensive pathophysiological vascular alterations, eventually resulting in death from stroke or myocardial infarction. A silent point mutation at position 1824 (C1824T) of the LMNA gene, generating a truncated form of lamin A (progerin), has been shown to be the cause of most cases of HGPS. Interestingly, this mutation induces the use of an internal 5’ cryptic splice site within exon 11 of the LMNA pre-mRNA, leading to the generation of progerin via aberrant alternative splicing. The serine-arginine rich splicing factor 1 (SRSF1 or ASF/SF2) has been shown to function as an oncoprotein and is upregulated in many cancers and other age-related disorders. Indeed, SRSF1 inhibition results in a splicing ratio in the LMNA pre-mRNA favoring lamin A production over that of progerin. It is our hypothesis that activation of AMP- activated protein kinase (AMPK), a master regulator of cellular metabolism, may lead to a reduction in SRSF1 and thus a decrease in the use of the LMNA 5’ cryptic splice site in exon 11 through upregulation of p32, a splicing factor-associated protein and putative mitochondrial chaperone that has been shown to inhibit SRSF1 and enhance mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication and oxidative phosphorylation. AMPK activation by currently available compounds such as metformin, resveratrol, and berberine may thus have wide-ranging implications for disorders associated with increased production and accumulation of progerin.
    Medical Hypotheses 08/2014; In Press-Accepted Manuscript. DOI:10.1016/j.mehy.2014.08.016_ · 1.15 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The spliceosome plays a fundamental role in RNA metabolism by facilitating pre-RNA splicing. To understand how this essential complex is formed, we have used protein crystallography to determine the first complete structures of the key assembler protein, SMN, and the truncated isoform, SMNΔ7, which is found in patients with the disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Comparison of the structures of SMN and SMNΔ7 shows many similar features, including the presence of two Tudor domains, but significant differences are observed in the C-terminal domain, including 12 additional amino acid residues encoded by exon 7 in SMN compared with SMNΔ7. Mapping of missense point mutations found in some SMA patients reveals clustering around three spatial locations, with the largest cluster found in the C-terminal domain. We propose a structural model of SMN binding with the Gemin2 protein and a heptameric Sm ring, revealing a critical assembly role of the residues 260-294, with the differences at the C-terminus of SMNΔ7 compared with SMN likely leading to loss of small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) assembly. The SMN complex is proposed to form a dimer driven by formation of a glycine zipper involving α helix formed by amino acid residues 263-294. These results explain how structural changes of SMN give rise to loss of SMN-mediated snRNP assembly and support the hypothesis that this loss results in atrophy of neurons in SMA. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
    Human Molecular Genetics 01/2015; DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu734 · 6.68 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Abstract Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder resulting in degeneration of α-motor neurons of the anterior horn and proximal muscle weakness. It is the leading cause of genetic mortality in children younger than 2 years. It affects ∼1 in 11,000 live births. In 95% of cases, SMA is caused by homozygous deletion of the SMN1 gene. In addition, all patients possess at least one copy of an almost identical gene called SMN2. A single point mutation in exon 7 of the SMN2 gene results in the production of low levels of full-length survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein at amounts insufficient to compensate for the loss of the SMN1 gene. Although no drug treatments are available for SMA, a number of drug discovery and development programs are ongoing, with several currently in clinical trials. This review describes the assays used to identify candidate drugs for SMA that modulate SMN2 gene expression by various means. Specifically, it discusses the use of high-throughput screening to identify candidate molecules from primary screens, as well as the technical aspects of a number of widely used secondary assays to assess SMN messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and protein expression, localization, and function. Finally, it describes the process of iterative drug optimization utilized during preclinical SMA drug development to identify clinical candidates for testing in human clinical trials.
    Assay and Drug Development Technologies 08/2014; 12(6):315-41. DOI:10.1089/adt.2014.587 · 2.08 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 29, 2014