QNQKE targeting motif for the SMN-Gemin multiprotein complexin neurons

Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.
Journal of Neuroscience Research (Impact Factor: 2.73). 09/2007; 85(12):2657-67. DOI: 10.1002/jnr.21308
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a heritable neurodegenerative disease affecting motor neurons that is caused by the impaired expression of the full-length form of the survival of motor neuron protein (SMN), which may have a specialized function in neurons related to mRNA localization. We have previously shown that a population SMN complexes contain Gemin ribonucleoproteins and traffic in the form of granules to neuronal processes and growth cones of cultured neurons. A QNQKE sequence within exon 7 has been shown to be necessary for both cytoplasmic localization of SMN and axonal function. Here we show that the QNQKE sequence can influence the nucleocytoplasmic distribution of the SMN-Gemin complex and its localization into neuronal processes. QNQKE exerted a stronger effect on SMN localization in primary neurons compared with COS-7 cells. By using double-label fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence, SMN granules within neuronal processes colocalized with poly-(A) mRNA and PABP. These findings provide further evidence in support of a neuronal function for SMN and motivation to investigate for impaired assembly and/or localization of mRNP complexes as an underlying cause of SMA.


Available from: Gary Bassell, Aug 04, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: The survival motor neuron (SMN) complex is a macromolecular machine comprising 9 core proteins: SMN, Gemin2-8 and unrip in vertebrates. It performs tasks in RNA metabolism including the cytoplasmic assembly of spliceosomal small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particles (snRNPs). The SMN complex also localises to the nucleus, where it accumulates in Cajal Bodies (CB) and may function in transcription and/or pre-mRNA splicing. The SMN complex is subject to extensive phosphorylation. Detailed understanding of SMN complex regulation necessitates a comprehensive analysis of these post-translational modifications. Here, we report on the first comprehensive phosphoproteome analysis of the intact human SMN complex, which identify 48 Serine/Threonine phosphosites in the complex. We find that 7 out of 9 SMN components of the intact complex are phosphoproteins and confidently place 29 phosphorylation sites, 12 of them in SMN itself. By the generation of multi non-phosphorylatable or phosphomimetic variants of SMN, respectively, we address to which extent phosphorylation regulates SMN complex function and localisation. Both phosphomimetic and non-phosphorylatable variants assemble into intact SMN complexes and can compensate the loss of endogenous SMN in snRNP assembly at least to some extent. However, they partially or completely fail to target to nuclear Cajal bodies. Moreover, using a mutant of SMN, which cannot be phosphorylated on previously reported tyrosine residues, we provide first evidence that this PTM regulates SMN localisation and nuclear accumulation. Our data suggest complex regulatory cues mediated by phosphorylation of serine/threonine and tyrosine residues, which control the subcellular localisation of the SMN complex and its accumulation in nuclear CB.
    European journal of cell biology 03/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.ejcb.2014.01.006 · 3.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Low levels of the survival motor neuron protein (SMN) cause the disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). A primary characteristic of this disease is motoneuron dysfunction and paralysis. Understanding why motoneurons are affected by low levels of this protein will lend insight into this disease and to motoneuron biology in general. Motoneurons in zebrafish smn mutants develop abnormally however it is unclear where Smn is needed for motoneuron development since it is a ubiquitously expressed protein. We have addressed this issue by expressing human SMN in motoneurons in zebrafish maternal-zygotic (mz) smn mutants. Firstly, we demonstrate that SMN is present in axons, but only during the period of robust motor axon outgrowth. We also conclusively demonstrate that SMN acts cell autonomously in motoneurons for proper motoneuron development. This includes the formation of both axonal and dendritic branches. Analysis of the peripheral nervous system revealed that Schwann cells and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons developed abnormally in mz-smn mutants. Schwann cells did not wrap axons tightly and had expanded nodes of Ranvier. The majority of DRG neurons had abnormally short peripheral axons and later many of them failed to divide and died. Expressing SMN just in motoneurons rescued both of these cell types showing that their failure to develop was secondary to the developmental defects in motoneurons. Driving SMN just in motoneurons did not increase survival of the animal suggesting that SMN is needed for motoneuron development and motor circuitry, but that SMN in other cells types factors into survival.
    Human Molecular Genetics 09/2014; DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu447 · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is due to the loss of the survival motor neuron gene 1 (SMN1), resulting in motor neuron (MN) degeneration, muscle atrophy and loss of motor function. While SMN2 encodes a protein identical to SMN1, a single nucleotide difference in exon 7 causes most of the SMN2-derived transcripts to be alternatively spliced resulting in a truncated and unstable protein (SMNDelta7). SMA patients retain at least one SMN2 copy, making it an important target for therapeutics. Many of the existing SMA models are very severe, with animals typically living less than 2 weeks. Here, we present a novel intermediate mouse model of SMA based upon the human genomic SMN2 gene. Genetically, this model is similar to the well-characterized SMNDelta7 model; however, we have manipulated the SMNDelta7 transgene to encode a modestly more functional protein referred to as SMN read-through (SMN(RT)). By introducing the SMN(RT) transgene onto the background of a severe mouse model of SMA (SMN2(+/+);Smn(-/-)), disease severity was significantly decreased based upon a battery of phenotypic parameters, including MN pathology and a significant extension in survival. Importantly, there is not a full phenotypic correction, allowing for the examination of a broad range of therapeutics, including SMN2-dependent and SMN-independent pathways. This novel animal model serves as an important biological and therapeutic model for less severe forms of SMA and provides an in vivo validation of the SMN(RT) protein.
    Human Molecular Genetics 02/2013; 22(9):1843. DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddt037 · 6.68 Impact Factor

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