Article

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.

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