SMN Deficiency Causes Tissue-Specific Perturbations in the Repertoire of snRNAs and Widespread Defects in Splicing

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6148, USA.
Cell (Impact Factor: 33.12). 06/2008; 133(4):585-600. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.03.031
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The survival of motor neurons (SMN) protein is essential for the biogenesis of small nuclear RNA (snRNA)-ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), the major components of the pre-mRNA splicing machinery. Though it is ubiquitously expressed, SMN deficiency causes the motor neuron degenerative disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). We show here that SMN deficiency, similar to that which occurs in severe SMA, has unexpected cell type-specific effects on the repertoire of snRNAs and mRNAs. It alters the stoichiometry of snRNAs and causes widespread pre-mRNA splicing defects in numerous transcripts of diverse genes, preferentially those containing a large number of introns, in SMN-deficient mouse tissues. These findings reveal a key role for the SMN complex in RNA metabolism and in splicing regulation and indicate that SMA is a general splicing disease that is not restricted to motor neurons.


Available from: Ihab Younis, Apr 28, 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is caused by deletions or mutations in the Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. The second gene copy, SMN2, produces some, but not enough, functional SMN protein. SMN is essential to assemble small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) that form the spliceosome. However, it is not clear whether SMA is caused by defects in this function that could lead to splicing changes in all tissues, or by the impairment of an additional, less well characterized, but motoneuron-specific SMN function. We addressed the first possibility by exon junction microarray analysis of motoneurons (MNs) isolated by laser capture microdissection from a severe SMA mouse model. This revealed changes in multiple U2-dependent splicing events. Moreover, splicing appeared to be more strongly affected in MNs than in other cells. By testing mutiple genes in a model of progressive SMN depletion in NB2a neuroblastoma cells, we obtained evidence that U2-dependent splicing changes occur earlier than U12-dependent ones. As several of these changes affect genes coding for splicing regulators, this may acerbate the splicing response induced by low SMN levels and induce secondary waves of splicing alterations.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disease caused by disruption of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene, partly compensated for by the paralogous gene SMN2. Exon 7 inclusion is critical for full-length SMN protein production and occurs at a much lower frequency for SMN2 than for SMN1. Antisense oligonucleotide (ASO)-mediated blockade of intron 7 was previously shown to promote inclusion of SMN2 exon 7 in SMA mouse models and mediate phenotypic rescue. However, downstream molecular consequences of this ASO therapy have not been defined. Here we characterize the gene-expression changes that occur in an induced model of SMA and show substantial rescue of those changes in central nervous system tissue upon intracerebroventricular administration of an ASO that promotes inclusion of exon 7, with earlier administration promoting greater rescue. This study offers a robust reference set of preclinical pharmacodynamic gene expression effects for comparison of other investigational therapies for SMA.
    Genomics 01/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ygeno.2015.01.007 · 2.79 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Surveillance of integrity of the basic elements of the cell including DNA, RNA, and proteins is a critical element of cellular physiology. Mechanisms of surveillance of DNA and protein integrity are well understood. Surveillance of structural RNAs making up the vast majority of RNA in a cell is less well understood. Here, we sought to explore integrity of processing of structural RNAs in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) and other inflammatory diseases. Results We employed mononuclear cells obtained from subjects with RRMS and cell lines. We used quantitative-PCR and whole genome RNA sequencing to define defects in structural RNA surveillance and siRNAs to deplete target proteins. We report profound defects in surveillance of structural RNAs in RRMS exemplified by elevated levels of poly(A) + Y1-RNA, poly(A) + 18S rRNA and 28S rRNAs, elevated levels of misprocessed 18S and 28S rRNAs and levels of the U-class of small nuclear RNAs. Multiple sclerosis is also associated with genome-wide defects in mRNA splicing. Ro60 and La proteins, which exist in ribonucleoprotein particles and play different roles in quality control of structural RNAs, are also deficient in RRMS. In cell lines, silencing of the genes encoding Ro60 and La proteins gives rise to these same defects in surveillance of structural RNAs. Conclusions Our results establish that profound defects in structural RNA surveillance exist in RRMS and establish a causal link between Ro60 and La proteins and integrity of structural RNAs. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-015-0629-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    Genome Biology 03/2015; 16(1). DOI:10.1186/s13059-015-0629-x · 10.47 Impact Factor