A H Burghes

The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, United States

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Publications (76)682.92 Total impact

  • Paul Porensky, Arthur Burghes
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disease effecting ~1 in 10,000 live births. The most striking component is the loss of alpha motor neurons in the ventral horn of the spinal cord, resulting in progressive paralysis and eventually premature death. There is no current treatment paradigm other than supportive care, though the past 15 years has seen a striking advancement in understanding of both SMA genetics and molecular mechanisms. A variety of disease modifying interventions are rapidly bridging the translational gap from the laboratory to clinical trials, including the application of antisense oligomer (ASO) therapy for the correction of aberrant RNA splicing characteristic of SMA. Survival motor neuron (SMN) is a ubiquitously expressed 38-KD protein. Humans have two genes that produce SMN, SMN1 and SMN2, the former of which is deleted or non-functional in the majority of patients with SMA. These two genes are nearly identical, with one exception a C to T transition (C6T) within exon 7 of SMN2. C6T disrupts a modulator of splicing, leading to the exclusion of exon 7 from ~90% of mRNA transcript. The resultant truncated Δ7SMN protein does not oligomerize efficiently and is rapidly degraded. SMA can therefore be considered a disease of too little SMN protein. A number of cis-acting splice modifiers have been identified in the region of exon 7, the steric block of which enhances the retention of the exon and a resultant full length mRNA sequence. ASOs targeted to these splice-motifs have shown impressive phenotype rescue in multiple SMA mouse models.
    Human gene therapy 04/2013; · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the most common lethal recessive disease in childhood, and there is currently no effective treatment to halt disease progression. The translation of scientific advances into effective therapies is hampered by major roadblocks in clinical trials, including the complex regulatory environment in Europe, variations in standards of care, patient ascertainment and enrolment, a narrow therapeutic window and a lack of biomarkers of efficacy. In this context, SMA-Europe organized its first international workshop in July 2012 in Rome, gathering 34 scientists, clinicians and representatives of patient organizations to establish recommendations for improving clinical trials for SMAa.
    Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 03/2013; 8(1):44. · 4.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by mutation of the Survival Motor Neurons 1 (SMN1) gene and is characterized by degeneration of spinal motor neurons. The severity of SMA is primarily influenced by the copy number of the SMN2 gene. Additional modifier genes that lie outside the SMA locus exist and one gene that could modify SMA is the Zinc Finger Protein (ZPR1) gene. To test the significance of ZPR1 downregulation in SMA, we examined the effect of reduced ZPR1 expression in mice with mild and severe SMA. We report that the reduced ZPR1 expression causes increase in the loss of motor neurons, hypermyelination in phrenic nerves, increase in respiratory distress and disease severity and reduces the lifespan of SMA mice. The deficiency of SMN-containing sub-nuclear bodies correlates with the severity of SMA. ZPR1 is required for the accumulation of SMN in sub-nuclear bodies. Further, we report that ZPR1 overexpression increases levels of SMN and promotes accumulation of SMN in sub-nuclear bodies in SMA patient fibroblasts. ZPR1 stimulates neurite growth and rescues axonal growth defects in SMN-deficient spinal cord neurons from SMA mice. These data suggest that the severity of disease correlates negatively with ZPR1 levels and ZPR1 may be a protective modifier of SMA.
    Human Molecular Genetics 03/2012; 21(12):2745-58. · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    Le T Hao, Arthur Hm Burghes, Christine E Beattie
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    ABSTRACT: Animal models of human diseases are essential as they allow analysis of the disease process at the cellular level and can advance therapeutics by serving as a tool for drug screening and target validation. Here we report the development of a complete genetic model of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in the vertebrate zebrafish to complement existing zebrafish, mouse, and invertebrate models and show its utility for testing compounds that alter SMN2 splicing. The human motoneuron disease SMA is caused by low levels, as opposed to a complete absence, of the survival motor neuron protein (SMN). To generate a true model of SMA in zebrafish, we have generated a transgenic zebrafish expressing the human SMN2 gene (hSMN2), which produces only a low amount of full-length SMN, and crossed this onto the smn-/- background. We show that human SMN2 is spliced in zebrafish as it is in humans and makes low levels of SMN protein. Moreover, we show that an antisense oligonucleotide that enhances correct hSMN2 splicing increases full-length hSMN RNA in this model. When we placed this transgene on the smn mutant background it rescued the neuromuscular presynaptic SV2 defect that occurs in smn mutants and increased their survival. We have generated a transgenic fish carrying the human hSMN2 gene. This gene is spliced in fish as it is in humans and mice suggesting a conserved splicing mechanism in these vertebrates. Moreover, antisense targeting of an intronic splicing silencer site increased the amount of full length SMN generated from this transgene. Having this transgene on the smn mutant fish rescued the presynaptic defect and increased survival. This model of zebrafish SMA has all of the components of human SMA and can thus be used to understand motoneuron dysfunction in SMA, can be used as an vivo test for drugs or antisense approaches that increase full-length SMN, and can be developed for drug screening.
    Molecular Neurodegeneration 03/2011; 6(1):24. · 4.01 Impact Factor
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    Neuromuscular Disorders 12/2005; 15(11):802-16. · 3.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have exploited the existence of a second copy of the human SMN gene (SMN2) to develop a high-throughput screening strategy to identify potential small molecule therapeutics for the genetic disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which is caused by the loss of the SMN1 gene. Our screening process was designed to identify synthetic compounds that increase the total amount of full-length SMN messenger RNA and protein arising from the SMN2 gene, thereby suppressing the deleterious effects of losing SMN1. A cell-based bioassay was generated that detects SMN2 promoter activity, on which greater than 550,000 compounds was tested. This resulted in the identification of 17 distinct compounds with confirmed biological activity on the cellular primary assay, belonging to nine different structural families. Six of the nine scaffolds were chosen on the basis of their drug-like features to be tested for their ability to modulate SMN gene expression in SMA patient-derived fibroblasts. Five of the six compound classes altered SMN mRNA levels or mRNA splicing patterns in SMA patient-derived fibroblasts. Two of the compound classes, a quinazoline compound series and an indole compound, also increased SMN protein levels and nuclear gem/Cajal body numbers in patient-derived cells. In addition, these two distinct scaffolds showed additive effects when used in combination, suggesting that they may act on different molecular targets. The work described here has provided the foundation for a successful medicinal chemistry effort to further advance these compounds as potential small molecule therapeutics for SMA.
    Human Molecular Genetics 08/2005; 14(14):2003-18. · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Most patients with the pediatric neurodegenerative disease spinal muscular atrophy have a homozygous deletion of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene, but retain one or more copies of the closely related SMN2 gene. The SMN2 gene encodes the same protein (SMN) but produces it at a low efficiency compared with the SMN1 gene. We performed a high-throughput screen of approximately 47,000 compounds to identify those that increase production of an SMN2-luciferase reporter protein, but not an SMN1-luciferase reporter protein. Indoprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibitor, selectively increased SMN2-luciferase reporter protein and endogenous SMN protein and caused a 5-fold increase in the number of nuclear gems in fibroblasts from SMA patients. No other NSAIDs or COX inhibitors tested exhibited this activity.
    Chemistry & Biology 12/2004; 11(11):1489-93. · 6.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Molecular Therapy (2004) 9, S200–S200; doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2004.06.474 528. VEGF gene therapy with retrogradely transported lentivirus prolongs survival in mouse ALS model Mimoun Azzouz1, Thanh Le2, Scott G. Ralph1, Fraser Wilkes1, Arthur H. Burghes2, Susan M. Kingsman1, Kyriacous A. Mitrophanous1 and Nicholas D. Mazarakis11Oxford BioMedica, Medawar Centre, The Oxford Science Park, Oxford, United Kingdom2Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
    Molecular Therapy 04/2004; · 7.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a common motor neuron disorder caused by mutation of the telomeric survival of motor neuron gene SMN1. The centromeric survival of motor neuron SMN2 gene is retained in all SMA patients but does not produce sufficient SMN protein to prevent the development of clinical symptoms. The SMN1 and SMN2 genes differ functionally by a single nucleotide change. This change affects the efficiency with which exon 7 is incorporated into the mRNA transcript. Thus, SMN2 produces less full-length mRNA and protein than SMN1. We have screened a library of compounds in order to identify ones that can alter the splicing pattern of the SMN2 gene. Here, we report that the compound aclarubicin increases the retention of exon 7 into the SMN2 transcript. We show that aclarubicin effectively induces incorporation of exon 7 into SMN2 transcripts from the endogenous gene in type I SMA fibroblasts as well as into transcripts from a SMN2 minigene in the motor neuron cell line NSC34. In type I fibroblasts, treatment resulted in an increase in SMN protein and gems to normal levels. Our results suggest that alteration of splicing pattern represents a new approach to modification of gene expression in disease treatment and demonstrate the feasibility of high throughput screens to detect compounds that affect the splicing pattern of a gene.
    Human Molecular Genetics 12/2001; 10(24):2841-9. · 7.69 Impact Factor
  • Science 10/2001; 293(5538):2213-4. · 31.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SMN, the affected protein in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), is a cytoplasmic protein that also occurs in nuclear structures called "gems" and is involved in snRNP maturation. Coilin-p80 is a marker protein for nuclear Cajal bodies (coiled bodies; CBs) which are also involved in snRNP maturation, storage or transport. We now show that gems and CBs are present in all fetal tissues, even those that lack gems/CBs in the adult. Most gems and CBs occur as separate nuclear structures in fetal tissues, but their colocalization increases with fetal age and is almost complete in the adult. In adult tissues, up to half of all gems/CBs are inside the nucleolus, whereas in cultured cells they are almost exclusively nucleoplasmic. The nucleolar SMN is often more diffusely distributed, compared with nucleoplasmic gems. Up to 30% of cells in fetal tissues have SMN distributed throughout the nucleolus, instead of forming gems in the nucleoplasm. The results suggest a function for gems distinct from Cajal bodies in fetal nuclei and a nucleolar function for SMN. Spinal cord, the affected tissue in SMA, behaves differently in several respects. In both fetal and adult motor neurons, many gems/CBs occur as larger bodies closely associated with the nucleolar perimeter. Uniquely in motor neurons, gems/CBs are more numerous in adult than in fetal stages and colocalization of gems and CBs occurs earlier in development. These unusual features of motor neurons may relate to their special sensitivity to reduced SMN levels in SMA patients.
    Experimental Cell Research 06/2001; 265(2):252-61. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have analyzed the survival motor neuron gene (SMN1) dosage in 100 parents of children with homozygous SMN1 deletions. Of these parents, 96 (96%) demonstrated the expected one-copy SMN1 carrier genotype. However, four parents (4%) were observed to have a normal two-copy SMN1 dosage. The presence of two intact SMN1 genes in the parent of an affected child indicates either the occurrence of a de novo mutation event or a situation in which one chromosome has two copies of SMN1, whereas the other is null. We have separated individual chromosomes from two of these parents with two-copy SMN1 dosage by somatic cell hybridization and have employed a modified quantitative dosage assay to provide direct evidence that one parent is a two-copy/zero-copy SMN1 carrier, whereas the other parent had an affected child as the result of a de novo mutation. These findings are important for assessing the recurrence risk of parents of children with spinal muscular atrophy and for providing accurate family counseling.
    Human Genetics 02/2001; 108(2):109-115. · 4.63 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase rho (RPTPrho, gene symbol PTPRT) is a member of the type IIB RPTP family. These transmembrane molecules have been linked to signal transduction, cell adhesion and neurite extension. The extracellular segment contains MAM, Ig-like and fibronectin type III domains, and the intracellular segment contains two phosphatase domains. The human RPTPrho gene is located on chromosome 20q12-13.1, and the mouse gene is located on a syntenic region of chromosome 2. RPTPrho expression is restricted to the central nervous system. The cloning of the mouse cDNA, identification of alternatively spliced exons, detection of an 8 kb 3'-UTR, and the genomic organization of human and mouse RPTPrho genes are described. The two genes are comprised of at least 33 exons. Both RPTPrho genes span over 1 Mbp and are the largest RPTP genes characterized. Exons encoding the extracellular segment through the intracellular juxtamembrane 'wedge' region are widely spaced, with introns ranging from 9.7 to 303.7 kb. In contrast, exons encoding the two phosphatase domains are more tightly clustered, with 15 exons spanning approximately 60 kb, and introns ranging in size from 0.6 kb to 13.1 kb. Phase 0 introns predominate in the intracellular, and phase 1 in the extracellular segment. We report the first genomic characterization of a RPTP type IIB gene. Alternatively spliced variants may result in different RPTPrho isoforms. Our findings suggest that RPTPrho extracellular and intracellular segments originated as separate modular proteins that fused into a single transmembrane molecule during a later evolutionary period.
    BMC Genomics 02/2001; 2:1. · 4.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the potential importance of dystrophin, alpha-sarcoglycan (adhalin), and beta-dystroglycan, by use of western blot analysis, in several breeds of dogs with dilated cardiomyopathy. Myocardial samples obtained from 12 dogs were evaluated, including tissues from 7 dogs affected with dilated cardiomyopathy, 4 control dogs with no identifiable heart disease (positive control), and 1 dog affected with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (negative control for dystrophin). Of the affected dogs, 4 breeds were represented (Doberman Pinscher, Dalmatian, Bullmastiff, and Irish Wolfhound). Western blot analysis was used for evaluation of myocardial samples obtained from dogs with and without dilated cardiomyopathy for the presence of dystrophin and 2 of its associated glycoproteins, alpha-sarcoglycan and beta-dystroglycan. Detectable differences were not identified between dogs with and without myocardial disease in any of the proteins evaluated. Abnormalities in dystrophin, alpha-sarcoglycan, and beta-dystroglycan proteins were not associated with the development of dilated cardiomyopathy in the dogs evaluated in this study. In humans, the development of molecular biological techniques has allowed for the identification of specific causes of dilated cardiomyopathy that were once considered to be idiopathic. The use of similar techniques in veterinary medicine may aid in the identification of the cause of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs, and may offer new avenues for therapeutic intervention.
    American Journal of Veterinary Research 02/2001; 62(1):67-71. · 1.35 Impact Factor
  • American Journal of Veterinary Research - AMER J VET RES. 01/2001; 62(1):67-71.
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by mutations in the SMN (survival of motor neurons) gene and there is a correlation between disease severity and levels of functional SMN protein. Studies of structure-function relationships in SMN protein may lead to a better understanding of SMA pathogenesis. Self-association of the spinal muscular atrophy protein, SMN, is important for its function in RNA splicing. Biomolecular interaction analysis core analysis now shows that SMN self-association occurs via SMN regions encoded by exons 2b and 6, that exon 2b encodes a binding site for SMN-interacting protein-1 and that interaction occurs between exon 2- and 4-encoded regions within the SMN monomer. The presence of two separate self-association sites suggests a novel mechanism by which linear oligomers or closed rings might be formed from SMN monomers.
    Human Molecular Genetics 12/2000; 9(19):2869-77. · 7.69 Impact Factor
  • U R Monani, D D Coovert, A H Burghes
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    ABSTRACT: Proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the second most common autosomal recessive inherited disorder in humans. It is the most common genetic cause of infant mortality. As yet, there is no cure for this neuromuscular disorder which affects the lower motor neurons and proximal muscles of the limbs and trunk. In the last decade, significant advances have been made in understanding this disease, from linkage analysis to isolating the defective gene and identifying its protein product. This review summarizes the most recent advance in SMA research: the development of animal models of the disease, in particular mouse models of SMA. The SMA mice that we describe here present with symptoms similar to those seen in SMA patients. They promise to further the understanding of the molecular basis of this disease and demonstrate the feasibility of using the intact SMN2 gene, found in all SMA patients, as a means of treating this disorder.
    Human Molecular Genetics 11/2000; 9(16):2451-7. · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Medical Genetics 08/2000; 37(7):536-9. · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive childhood onset spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a leading cause of infant mortality caused by mutations in the survival motor neuron (SMN) gene. The SMN protein is involved in RNA processing and is localised in structures called GEMs in the nucleus. Nothing is yet understood about why mutations in SMN gene result in the selective motor neuron loss observed in patients. The SMN protein domains conserved across several species may indicate functionally significant regions. Exon 3 of SMN contains homology to a tudor domain, where a Type I SMA patient has been reported to harbour a missense mutation. We have generated missense mutants in this region of SMN and have tested their ability to form GEMs when transfected into HeLa cells. Our results show such mutant SMN proteins still localise to GEMs. Furthermore, exon 7 deleted SMN protein appears to exert a dominant negative effect on localisation of endogenous SMN protein. However, exon 3 mutant protein and exon 5 deleted protein exert no such effect.
    European Journal of HumanGenetics 08/1999; 7(5):519-25. · 4.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an inherited neuro-muscular disease characterized by specific degeneration of spinal cord anterior horn cells and subsequent muscle atrophy. Survival motor neuron ( SMN ), located on chromosome 5q13, is the SMA-determining gene. In the nucleus, SMN is present in large foci called gems, the function of which is not yet known, while cytoplasmic SMN has been implicated in snRNP biogenesis. In SMA patients, SMN protein levels and the number of gems generally correlate with disease severity, suggesting a critical nuclear function for SMN. In a screen for proteins associated with the nuclear transcription activator 'E2' of papillomavirus, two independent SMN cDNAs were isolated. The E2 and SMN proteins were found to associate specifically in vitro and in vivo. Expression of SMN enhanced E2-dependent transcriptional activation, and patient-derived SMN missense mutations reduced E2 gene expression. Our results demonstrate that SMN interacts with a nuclear transcription factor and imply that SMN may serve a role in regulating gene expression. These observations suggest that SMA may in part result from abnormal gene expression and that E2 may influence viral gene expression through SMN interaction.
    Human Molecular Genetics 08/1999; 8(7):1219-26. · 7.69 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
682.92 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1991–2013
    • The Ohio State University
      • • Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
      • • Department of Molecular Genetics
      • • Department of Pathology
      • • College of Medicine
      • • Department of Neurology
      Columbus, OH, United States
  • 2001
    • Columbus State University
      Columbus, Georgia, United States
  • 1988–1989
    • SickKids
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada