Translate this page to:
In JoVE (1)
- Entrega de agentes terapêuticos Através intracerebroventricular (ICV) e injecção intravenosa (IV) em ratos
Other Publications (46)
- The Journal of Biological Chemistry
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Journal of Virology
- Journal of Virology
- Brain Research
- Brain Research. Molecular Brain Research
- Brain Research
- The Analyst
- The Journal of General Virology
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Molecular Therapy : the Journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy
- Human Genetics
- Molecular Therapy : the Journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy
- Human Genetics
- Neuroscience Letters
- Developmental Dynamics : an Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
- Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
- Journal of Neuroscience Methods
- PloS One
- Human Gene Therapy
- Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
- Trends in Molecular Medicine
- BMC Neuroscience
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Drug News & Perspectives
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Human Molecular Genetics
- The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
- Journal of Biochemistry
- Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
- Neuromuscular Disorders : NMD
- Human Gene Therapy
- Human Molecular Genetics
- Transgenic Research
- Acta Neuropathologica
- Journal of Molecular Neuroscience : MN
- Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. RNA
- Human Gene Therapy
- Molecular Therapy : the Journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy
- Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
- Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
This translation into Portuguese was automatically generated.
English Version | Other Languages
Articles by Christian L. Lorson in JoVE
Entrega de agentes terapêuticos Através intracerebroventricular (ICV) e injecção intravenosa (IV) em ratos
Jacqueline J. Glascock1, Erkan Y. Osman1, Tristan H. Coady2, Ferrill F. Rose1, Monir Shababi3, Christian L. Lorson3
1Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri, 2Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, 3Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri
Este artigo demonstra dois métodos muito diferentes de injecção: 1) para o cérebro (intracerebroventricular) e 2) sistêmica (intravenosa) para introduzir a agentes terapêuticos para o sistema nervoso central de camundongos recém-nascidos.
Other articles by Christian L. Lorson on PubMed
A Direct Interaction Between the Survival Motor Neuron Protein and P53 and Its Relationship to Spinal Muscular Atrophy
The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jan, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 11704667
Mutations in the SMN1 (survival motor neuron 1) gene cause spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). We now show that SMN protein, the SMN1 gene product, interacts directly with the tumor suppressor protein, p53. Pathogenic missense mutations in SMN reduce both self-association and p53 binding by SMN, and the extent of the reductions correlate with disease severity. The inactive, truncated form of SMN produced by the SMN2 gene in SMA patients fails to bind p53 efficiently. SMN and p53 co-localize in nuclear Cajal bodies, but p53 redistributes to the nucleolus in fibroblasts from SMA patients. These results suggest a functional interaction between SMN and p53, and the potential for apoptosis when this interaction is impaired may explain motor neuron death in SMA.
SRp30c-dependent Stimulation of Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) Exon 7 Inclusion is Facilitated by a Direct Interaction with HTra2 Beta 1
Human Molecular Genetics. Mar, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 11875052
Proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by the homozygous loss of survival motor neuron (SMN1). SMN2, a nearly identical copy gene, is present in all SMA patients; however this gene cannot provide protection from disease due to the aberrant splicing of a critical exon. SMN1-derived transcripts are exclusively full-length, whereas SMN2-derived transcripts predominantly lack SMN exon 7. A single non-polymorphic nucleotide difference (C in SMN1; T in SMN2) is responsible for the alternative splicing patterns. We have previously shown that transient expression of an SR-like splicing factor, hTra2 beta 1, stimulates inclusion of exon 7 in SMN2-derived mini-gene transcripts through an interaction with the AG-rich exonic splice enhancer within exon 7. We now demonstrate that a second splicing factor, SRp30c, can stimulate SMN exon 7-inclusion and that this activity required the same AG-rich enhancer as hTra2 beta 1. SRp30c did not directly associate with SMN exon 7; rather its association with the exonic enhancer was mediated by a direct interaction with hTra2 beta 1. In the absence of the hTra2 beta 1 binding site, SRp30c failed to complex with SMN exon 7. Taken together, these results identify SRp30c as a modulator of SMN exon 7-inclusion and provide insight into the molecular regulation of this critical exon.
Minute Virus of Mice NS1 Interacts with the SMN Protein, and They Colocalize in Novel Nuclear Bodies Induced by Parvovirus Infection
Journal of Virology. Apr, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 11907229
The human survival motor neuron (SMN) gene is the spinal muscular atrophy-determining gene, and a knockout of the murine Smn gene results in preembryonic lethality. Here we show that SMN can directly interact in vitro and in vivo with the large nonstructural protein NS1 of the autonomous parvovirus minute virus of mice (MVM), a protein essential for viral replication and a potent transcriptional activator. Typically, SMN localizes within nuclear Cajal bodies and diffusely in the cytoplasm. Following transient NS1expression, SMN and NS1 colocalize within Cajal bodies. At early time points following parvovirus infection, NS1 fails to colocalize with SMN within Cajal bodies; however, during the course of MVM infection, dramatic nuclear alterations occur. Formerly distinct nuclear bodies such as Cajal bodies, promyelocytic leukemia gene product (PML) oncogenic domains (PODs), speckles, and autonomous parvovirus-associated replication (APAR) bodies are seen aggregating at later points in infection. These newly formed large nuclear bodies (termed SMN-associated APAR bodies) are active sites of viral replication and viral capsid assembly. These results highlight the transient nature of nuclear bodies and their contents and identify a novel nuclear body formed during infection. Furthermore, simple transient expression of the viral nonstructural proteins is insufficient to induce this nuclear reorganization, suggesting that this event is induced specifically by a step in the viral infection process.
Journal of Virology. Jun, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12021369
The small nonstructural protein NS2 of the minute virus of mice (MVM) is required for efficient viral replication, although its mode of action is unclear. Here we demonstrate that NS2 and survival motor neuron protein (Smn) interact in vitro and in vivo. NS2 and Smn also colocalize in infected nuclei at late times following MVM infection.
Brain Research. Aug, 2002 | Pubmed ID: 12126878
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an inherited motor neuron disease caused by mutations in the survival motor neuron gene (SMN1). While it has been shown that the SMN protein is involved in spliceosome biogenesis and pre-mRNA splicing, there is increasing evidence indicating that SMN may also perform important functions in the nucleolus. We demonstrate here through the use of a previously characterized polyclonal anti-SMN antibody, abSMN, that the SMN protein shows a striking colocalization with the nucleolar protein, fibrillarin, in both nucleoli and Cajal bodies/gems of primary neurons. Immunoblot analysis with antifibrillarin and two different anti-SMN antibodies reveals that SMN and fibrillarin also cofractionate in the insoluble protein fraction of cultured cell lysates. Immunoprecipitation experiments using whole cell extracts of HeLa cells and cultured neurons revealed that abSMN coprecipitated small amounts of the U3 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) previously shown to be associated with fibrillarin in vivo. These studies raise the possibility that SMN may serve a function in rRNA maturation/ribosome synthesis similar to its role in spliceosome biogenesis.
Brain Research. Molecular Brain Research. Nov, 2003 | Pubmed ID: 14597228
The survival motor neuron (SMN) gene is the spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) determining gene. Here we report that the SMN protein product interacts in vitro and in vivo with the arginine/glycine (RG)-rich RNA binding protein and transcription factor, Ewing's sarcoma (EWS). Recently, the SMN encoded Tudor domain (exon 3) and the YG-motifs (exon 6) have been shown to be involved in binding to RG-rich proteins. Here, we demonstrate that the Tudor domain encoded by SMN exon 3 is independently sufficient to mediate the interaction with EWS. Synthetic mutations within the Tudor domain, as well as a SMA patient-derived mutation within exon 3, reduced the levels of the SMN/EWS interaction. Carboxyl-terminal SMN mutations that prevent formation of SMN oligomers also indirectly reduced EWS binding. A role for arginine methylation has been observed in some RG-containing SMN-interacting proteins. Here we demonstrate that SMN interacts with non-methylated EWS and an EWS-derived RG-containing peptide. In contrast to previously reported results, symmetrical dimethylation of the EWS-derived RG-peptide results in a quantitative increase in the dissociation rate between SMN and the symmetrical dimethylated EWS RG-peptide. Consistent with the interaction data, endogenous and transiently expressed SMN co-localizes with endogenous EWS in a number of cultured cell lines, as well as rat primary neuron cultures. Anti-sense RNA experiments, however, demonstrate that EWS does not mediate the nuclear distribution of SMN or other Cajal body components.
A Survival Motor Neuron:tetanus Toxin Fragment C Fusion Protein for the Targeted Delivery of SMN Protein to Neurons
Brain Research. Jan, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 14644474
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a degenerative disorder of spinal motor neurons caused by homozygous mutations in the survival motor neuron (SMN1) gene. Because increased tissue levels of human SMN protein (hSMN) in transgenic mice reduce the motor neuron loss caused by murine SMN knockout, we engineered a recombinant SMN fusion protein to deliver exogenous hSMN to the cytosolic compartment of motor neurons. The fusion protein, SDT, is comprised of hSMN linked to the catalytic and transmembrane domains of diphtheria toxin (DTx) followed by fragment C of tetanus toxin (TTC). Following overexpression in Escherichia coli, SDT possessed a subunit molecular weight of approximately 130 kDa as revealed by both SDS-PAGE and immunoblot analyses with anti-SMN, anti-DTx, and anti-TTC antibodies. Like wild-type SMN, purified SDT showed specific binding in vitro to an RG peptide derived from Ewing's sarcoma protein. The fusion protein also bound to cultured primary neurons in amounts similar to those achieved by TTC. Unlike the case with TTC, however, immunolabeling of SDT-treated neurons with anti-TTC and anti-SMN antibodies showed staining restricted to the cell surface. Results from cytotoxicity studies in which the DTx catalytic domain of SDT was used as a reporter protein for internalization and membrane translocation activity suggest that the SMN moiety of the fusion protein is interfering with one or both of these processes. While these studies indicate that SDT may not be useful for SMA therapy, the use of the TTC:DTx fusion construct to deliver other passenger proteins to the neuronal cytosol should not be ruled out.
The Analyst. Sep, 2004 | Pubmed ID: 15343403
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is caused by the homozygous loss of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene. A nearly identical copy gene exists known as SMN2, however, due to an aberrant splicing event, the SMN2 gene fails to produce sufficient full-length protein to protect against disease development in the absence of SMN1. While a number of compounds have recently been identified that can stimulate full-length survival motor neuron (SMN) expression from the nearly identical copy SMN2, one of the difficulties has been the lack of a highly reproducible and quantitative means to measure the levels of SMN protein. To develop a technique that allows the rapid and highly sensitive measurement of SMN protein, a Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) application has been developed. The ability to quantify unassociated SMN protein and monitor the binding of SMN with other proteins in solution using a SPR sensor in less than 15 min and at low ng mL(-1) levels in HEPES Buffer Saline (HBS) has been achieved. The detection limit for the specific binding of SMN in HBS pH 7.4 solution is 0.99 ng mL(-1) with non-specific binding accounting for approximately 30% of the signal. Quantification of SMN is based on an immunoassay performed on the gold surface of the SPR sensor. 16-mercaptohexadecanoic acid (MHA) was reacted with dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) to form a pre-activated thiol (MHA-NHS). Antibodies for SMN were then coupled to the sensor with the pre-activated thiol. Sensor specificity was examined with mixtures of myoglobin (MG) and SMN. SMN sensor response decreases by more than 60% when MG was added to SMN. The decrease in sensor response can be attributed to non-specific binding of SMN to MG, verified with a sensor for MG.
Minute Virus of Mice Small Non-structural Protein NS2 Localizes Within, but is Not Required for the Formation Of, Smn-associated Autonomous Parvovirus-associated Replication Bodies
The Journal of General Virology. Apr, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15784894
The non-structural proteins NS1 and NS2 of the parvovirus minute virus of mice (MVM) are required for efficient virus replication. It has previously been shown that NS1 and NS2 interact and colocalize with the survival motor neuron (Smn) gene product in novel nuclear structures that are formed late in infection, termed Smn-associated APAR (autonomous parvovirus-associated replication) bodies (SAABs). It is not clear what molecular viral intermediate(s) contribute to SAAB formation. The current results address the role of NS2 in SAAB formation. In highly synchronized wild-type MVM infection of murine A9(2L) cells, NS2 colocalizes with Smn and other SAAB constituents. An MVM mutant that does not produce NS2 still generates SAABS, albeit with a temporal delay. The lag in SAAB formation seen in the absence of NS2 is probably related to the temporal delay in virus replication, suggesting that, whilst NS2 is required for efficient viral infection, it is dispensable for SAAB formation.
A Non-sequence-specific Requirement for SMN Protein Activity: the Role of Aminoglycosides in Inducing Elevated SMN Protein Levels
Human Molecular Genetics. May, 2005 | Pubmed ID: 15790598
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by homozygous loss of the survival motor neuron (SMN1) gene. In virtually all SMA patients, a nearly identical copy gene is present, SMN2. SMN2 cannot fully compensate for the loss of SMN1 because the majority of transcripts derived from SMN2 lack a critical exon (exon 7), resulting in a dysfunctional SMN protein. Therefore, the critical distinction between a functional and a dysfunctional SMN protein is the inclusion or the exclusion of the exon 7 encoded peptide. To determine the role of the 16 amino acids encoded by SMN exon 7, a panel of synthetic mutations were transiently expressed in SMA patient fibroblasts and HeLa cells. Consistent with previous reports, the protein encoded by SMN exons 1-6 was primarily restricted to the nucleus. However, a variety of heterologous sequences fused to the C-terminus of SMN exons 1-6 allowed mutant SMN proteins to properly distribute to the cytoplasm and to the nuclear gems. These data demonstrate that the SMN exon 7 sequence is not specifically required, rather this region functions as a non-specific 'tail' that facilitates proper localization. Therefore, a possible means to restore additional activity to the SMNDelta7 protein could be to induce a longer C-terminus by suppressing recognition of the native stop codon. To address this possibility, aminoglycosides were examined for their ability to restore detectable levels of SMN protein in SMA patient fibroblasts. Aminoglycosides can suppress the accurate identification of translation termination codons in eukaryotic cells. Consistent with this, treatment of SMA patient fibroblasts with tobramycin and amikacin resulted in a quantitative increase in SMN-positive gems and an overall increase in detectable SMN protein. Taken together, this work describes the role of the critical exon 7 region and identifies a possible alternative approach for therapeutic intervention.
Molecular Therapy : the Journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. Jul, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16580882
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder that is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is caused by the loss of survival motor neuron-1 (SMN1). In humans, a nearly identical copy gene is present, called SMN2. SMN2 is retained in all SMA patients and encodes an identical protein compared to SMN1. However, a single silent nucleotide difference in SMN2 exon 7 results in the production of a spliced isoform (called SMNDelta7) that encodes a nonfunctional protein. The presence of SMN2 represents a unique therapeutic target since SMN2 has the capacity to encode a fully functional protein. Here we describe an in vivo delivery system for short bifunctional RNAs that modulate SMN2 splicing. Bifunctional RNAs derive their name from the presence of two domains: an antisense RNA sequence specific to a target RNA and an untethered RNA segment that serves as a binding platform for splicing factors. Plasmid-based and recombinant adeno-associated virus vectors were developed that expressed bifunctional RNAs that stimulated SMN2 exon 7 inclusion and full-length SMN protein in patient fibroblasts. These experiments provide a mechanism to modulate splicing from a variety of genetic contexts and demonstrate directly a novel therapeutic approach for SMA.
Human Genetics. Nov, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16951947
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is caused by the homozygous absence of survival motor neuron-1 (SMN1). SMN2, a nearly identical copy gene, is retained in all SMA patients and encodes an identical protein as SMN1; however, SMN1 and SMN2 differ by a silent C to T transition which results in the production of an alternatively spliced isoform (SMNDelta7), which encodes a defective protein, demonstrating that the absence of the short peptide encoded by SMN exon 7 is critical in SMA development. Previously, we have shown that for some functions heterologous sequences can compensate for the exon 7 peptide, suggesting that the SMN C-terminus functions non-specifically. Consistent with this hypothesis, we now identify novel aminoglycosides that can induce SMN protein levels in patient fibroblasts. This hypothesis was supported, in part, by a novel fluorescent SMN read-through assay. Interestingly, however, through the development of a SMN exon 7-specific antibody, results suggested that levels of normal full-length SMN might also be elevated by aminoglycoside treatment. These results demonstrate that the compounds that promote read-through may provide an alternative platform for the discovery of compounds that induce SMN protein levels.
Molecular Therapy : the Journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. Aug, 2007 | Pubmed ID: 17551501
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by loss of survival motor neuron-1 (SMN1). A nearly identical copy gene called SMN2 is present in all SMA patients; however SMN2 produces low levels of functional protein due to alternative splicing. Recently a therapeutic approach has been developed referred to as trans-splicing. Conceptually, this strategy relies upon pre-messenger RNA (pre-mRNA) splicing occurring between two separate molecules: (i) the endogenous target RNA and (ii) the therapeutic RNA that provides the correct RNA sequence via a trans-splicing event. SMN trans-splicing RNAs were initially examined and expressed from a plasmid-backbone and shown to re-direct splicing from a SMN2 mini-gene as well as from endogenous transcripts. Subsequently, recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors were developed that expressed and delivered trans-splicing RNAs to SMA patient fibroblasts. In the severe SMA patient fibroblasts, SMN2 splicing was redirected via trans-splicing to produce increased levels of full-length SMN mRNA and total SMN protein levels. Finally, small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) assembly, a critical function of SMN, was restored to SMN-deficient SMA fibroblasts following treatment with the trans-splicing vector. Together these results demonstrate that the alternatively spliced SMN2 exon 7 is a tractable target for replacement by trans-splicing.
Human Genetics. Jan, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 17962980
The loss of survival motor neuron-1 (SMN1) is responsible for the development of the neurodegenerative disorder spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). A nearly identical copy of SMN1 is present on the same chromosomal region called SMN2. While SMN2 encodes a normal SMN protein, the majority of SMN2-derived transcripts are alternatively spliced, resulting in a truncated protein that lacks the 16 amino acids encoded by SMN exon 7. Numerous studies have shown that the SMN2-derived protein product, called SMNDelta7, is unstable and dysfunctional. Therefore, identifying molecules that stimulate full-length SMN expression from the SMN2 gene could lead to the development of effective therapies for a broad range of SMA patient populations. Polyphenol compounds have been shown to provide benefit in varied genetic disease contexts. For example, epigallocatechin galate (EGCG) was found to correct aberrant alternative mRNA splicing in familiar dysautonomia (FD). A series of polyphenols were screened and a subset was shown to increase full-length SMN expression from SMN2. Curcumin, EGCG, and resveratrol increased exon 7 inclusion of SMN2 transcripts in transient reporter assays. In SMA patient fibroblasts, these compounds stimulated the production of full-length SMN RNA and protein as well as the formation of SMN-containing nuclear gems. Collectively, these compounds elevated total SMN concentrations in SMA patient fibroblasts, potentially through the modulation of SMN2 exon 7 alternative splicing.
Neuroscience Letters. Sep, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18601974
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) affects about 1 in every 6000 children born and is the leading genetic cause of infant death. SMA is a recessive disorder caused by the mutation or deletion of Survival Motor Neuron-1 (SMN1). SMN2, a nearly identical copy gene, has the potential to encode the same protein as SMN1 and is retained in all SMA patients. The majority of SMN2-derived transcripts are alternatively spliced and therefore encode a truncated isoform lacking exon 7 (SMNDelta7), which is a defective protein because it is unstable, has a reduced ability to self-associate and is unable to efficiently function in SMN cellular activities. However, we have shown that the SMN C-terminus functions non-specifically, since heterologous sequences can compensate for the exon 7 sequence. Several classes of compounds identified in SMN-inducing high throughput screens have been proposed to function through a read-through mechanism; however, a functional analysis of the SMNDelta7 read-through product has not been performed. In this report, the SMNDelta7 read-through product is characterized and compared to the SMNDelta7 protein. In a series of in vitro and cell based assays, SMNDelta7 read-through product is shown to increase protein stability, promote neurite outgrowths in SMN deficient neurons, and significantly elevate SMN-dependent UsnRNP assembly in extracts from SMA patient fibroblasts. Collectively, these results demonstrate that SMNDelta7 read-through product is more active than the SMNDelta7 protein and suggest that SMA therapeutics that specifically induce SMNDelta7 read-through may provide an alternative platform for drug discovery.
Identification and Characterization of the Porcine (Sus Scrofa) Survival Motor Neuron (SMN1) Gene: an Animal Model for Therapeutic Studies
Developmental Dynamics : an Official Publication of the American Association of Anatomists. Aug, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18651653
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disorder that is characterized by the degeneration of the motor neurons of the spinal cord leading to muscle atrophy. SMA is a result of a loss-of-function of the gene survival motor neuron-1 (SMN1). We have chosen to generate a transgenic swine model of SMA for the development and testing of therapeutics and evaluation of toxicology. To this end, we report the first cloning and identification of the swine SMN1 gene and show that there is significant sequence homology between swine and human SMN throughout the coding region. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction results demonstrated slight changes in SMN RNA expression during development and in different tissues. In contrast, protein expression profiles were dramatically different based upon different tissues and developmental stages, consistent with human SMN expression. Porcine SMN localization is consistent with human SMN, localizing diffusely within the cytoplasm and in punctate nuclear structures characteristic of nuclear gems. Importantly, transient transfection of porcine SMN1 in 3813 SMA type 1 fibroblasts demonstrate that porcine SMN1 can rescue the deficiency of SMN protein and gem formation in these cells. These studies provide the first characterization of the porcine SMN1 gene and SMN protein and suggest that a transgenic swine SMA model is feasible.
Protein Phosphatase 1 Binds to the RNA Recognition Motif of Several Splicing Factors and Regulates Alternative Pre-mRNA Processing
Human Molecular Genetics. Jan, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 17913700
Alternative splicing emerges as one of the most important mechanisms to generate transcript diversity. It is regulated by the formation of protein complexes on pre-mRNA. We demonstrate that protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) binds to the splicing factor transformer2-beta1 (tra2-beta1) via a phylogenetically conserved RVDF sequence located on the RNA recognition motif (RRM) of tra2-beta1. PP1 binds directly to tra2-beta1 and dephosphorylates it, which regulates the interaction between tra2-beta1 and other proteins. Eight other proteins, including SF2/ASF and SRp30c, contain an evolutionary conserved PP1 docking motif in the beta-4 strand of their RRMs indicating that binding to PP1 is a new function of some RRMs. Reducing PP1 activity promotes usage of numerous alternative exons, demonstrating a role of PP1 activity in splice site selection. PP1 inhibition promotes inclusion of the survival of motoneuron 2 exon 7 in a mouse model expressing the human gene. This suggests that reducing PP1 activity could be a new therapeutic principle to treat spinal muscular atrophy and other diseases caused by missplicing events. Our data indicate that the binding of PP1 to evolutionary conserved motifs in several RRMs is the link between known signal transduction pathways regulating PP1 activity and pre-mRNA processing.
Identification and Characterisation of a Nuclear Localisation Signal in the SMN Associated Protein, Gemin4
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Oct, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18675250
Gemin4 is a ubiquitously expressed multifunctional protein that is involved in U snRNP assembly, apoptosis, nuclear/cytoplasmic transportation, transcription, and RNAi pathways. Gemin4 is one of the core components of the Gemin-complex, which also contains survival motor neuron (SMN), the seven Gemin proteins (Gemin2-8), and Unrip. Mutations in the SMN1 gene cause the autosomal recessive disorder spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Although the functions assigned to Gemin4 predominantly occur in the nucleus, the mechanisms that mediate the nuclear import of Gemin4 remain unclear. Here, using a novel panel of Gemin4 constructs we identify a canonical nuclear import sequence (NLS) in the N-terminus of Gemin4. The Gemin4 NLS is necessary and independently sufficient to mediate nuclear import of Gemin4. This is the first functional NLS identified within the SMN-Gemin complex.
The Wallerian Degeneration Slow (Wld(s)) Gene Does Not Attenuate Disease in a Mouse Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Oct, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18680723
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a severe neuromuscular disease characterized by loss of spinal alpha-motor neurons, resulting in the paralysis of skeletal muscle. SMA is caused by deficiency of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein levels. Recent evidence has highlighted an axon-specific role for SMN protein, raising the possibility that axon degeneration may be an early event in SMA pathogenesis. The Wallerian degeneration slow (Wld(s)) gene is a spontaneous dominant mutation in mice that delays axon degeneration by approximately 2-3 weeks. We set out to examine the effect of Wld(s) on the phenotype of a mouse model of SMA. We found that Wld(s) does not alter the SMA phenotype, indicating that Wallerian degeneration does not directly contribute to the pathogenesis of SMA development.
Detection of Human Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) Protein in Mice Containing the SMN2 Transgene: Applicability to Preclinical Therapy Development for Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Journal of Neuroscience Methods. Oct, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18771690
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the leading genetic cause of infant death results from loss of spinal motor neurons causing atrophy of skeletal muscle. SMA is caused by loss of the Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1) gene, however, an identically coding gene called SMN2 is retained, but is alternatively spliced to produce approximately 90% truncated protein. Most SMA translational and preclinical drug development has relied on the use of SMA mice to determine changes in SMN protein levels. However, the SMA mouse models are relatively severe and analysis of SMN-inducing compounds is confounded by the early mortality of these animals. An antibody that could detect SMN protein on a Smn background could circumvent this limitation and allow unaffected, heterozygous animals to be examined. Here we describe the generation and characterization of a monoclonal anti-SMN antibody, 4F11, which specifically recognizes human SMN protein. 4F11 detects SMN (human) but not native Smn (mouse) protein in SMN2 transgenic mice and in SMA cell lines. We demonstrate the feasibility of using 4F11 to detect changes in SMN2-derived SMN protein in SMA patient fibroblasts and in healthy SMN2 transgenic mice. This antibody is, therefore, an excellent tool for examining SMN2-inducing therapeutics in patient cells as well as in transgenic mice.
PloS One. 2008 | Pubmed ID: 18941511
RNA modalities are developing as a powerful means to re-direct pathogenic pre-mRNA splicing events. Improving the efficiency of these molecules in vivo is critical as they move towards clinical applications. Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by loss of SMN1. A nearly identical copy gene called SMN2 produces low levels of functional protein due to alternative splicing. We previously reported a trans-splicing RNA (tsRNA) that re-directed SMN2 splicing. Now we show that reducing the competition between endogenous splices sites enhanced the efficiency of trans-splicing. A single vector system was developed that expressed the SMN tsRNA and a splice-site blocking antisense (ASO-tsRNA). The ASO-tsRNA vector significantly elevated SMN levels in primary SMA patient fibroblasts, within the central nervous system of SMA mice and increased SMN-dependent in vitro snRNP assembly. These results demonstrate that the ASO-tsRNA strategy provides insight into the trans-splicing mechanism and a means of significantly enhancing trans-splicing activity in vivo.
Human Gene Therapy. Nov, 2008 | Pubmed ID: 19848583
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder and is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is caused by the loss of survival motor neuron-1 (SMN1). In humans, a nearly identical copy gene is present called SMN2, but this gene cannot compensate for the loss of SMN1 because of a single silent nucleotide difference in SMN2 exon 7. This single-nucleotide difference attenuates an exonic splice enhancer, resulting in the production of an alternatively spliced isoform lacking exon 7, which is essential for protein function. SMN2, however, is a critical disease modifier and is an outstanding target for therapeutic intervention because all SMA patients retain SMN2 and SMN2 maintains the same coding sequence as SMN1. Therefore, compounds or molecules that increase SMN2 exon 7 inclusion hold great promise for SMA therapeutics. Bifunctional RNAs have been previously used to increase SMN protein levels and derive their name from the presence of two domains: an antisense RNA sequence specific to the target RNA and an untethered RNA segment that serves as a binding platform for splicing factors. This study was designed to develop negatively acting bifunctional RNAs that recruit hnRNPA1 to exon 8 and block the general splicing machinery from the exon 8. By blocking the downstream splice site, this could competitively favor the inclusion of SMN exon 7 and therefore increase full-length SMN production. Here we identify a bifunctional RNA that stimulated full-length SMN expression in a variety of cell-based assays including SMA patient fibroblasts. Importantly, this molecule was also able to induce SMN expression in a previously described mouse model of SMA and demonstrates a novel therapeutic approach for SMA as well as a variety of diseases caused by a defect in splicing.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Dec, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19879242
The Ewing Sarcoma (EWS) protein is a ubiquitously expressed RNA processing factor that localises predominantly to the nucleus. However, the mechanism through which EWS enters the nucleus remains unclear, with differing reports identifying three separate import signals within the EWS protein. Here we have utilized a panel of truncated EWS proteins to clarify the reported nuclear localisation signals. We describe three C-terminal domains that are important for efficient EWS nuclear localization: (1) the third RGG-motif; (2) the last 10 amino acids (known as the PY-import motif); and (3) the zinc-finger motif. Although these three domains are involved in nuclear import, they are not independently capable of driving the efficient import of a GFP-moiety. However, collectively they form a complex tripartite signal that efficiently drives GFP-import into the nucleus. This study helps clarify the EWS import signal, and the identification of the involvement of both the RGG- and zinc-finger motifs has wide reaching implications.
Trends in Molecular Medicine. Dec, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19906562
Although most molecular therapy strategies for genetic diseases are based on gene replacement, interesting alternative approaches target RNA. These strategies rely on the modification of the mutated gene's expression in vivo by modulating pre-mRNA splicing, mRNA stability or mRNA translation. Here, we review recent progress using these RNA-based approaches in the field of muscle and muscle-related genetic diseases. Different molecular tools, including modified antisense oligonucleotides, pre-mRNA trans-splicing molecules, ribozymes or chemical compounds have been used successfully on patient cells or animal models of disease. These diverse strategies show tremendous therapeutic potential and several clinical trials have been initiated with Duchenne muscular dystrophy patients with promising results.
BMC Neuroscience. 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19948047
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is the leading genetic cause of infantile death. It is caused by the loss of functional Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1). There is a nearly identical copy gene, SMN2, but it is unable to rescue from disease due to an alternative splicing event that excises a necessary exon (exon 7) from the majority of SMN2-derived transcripts. While SMNDelta7 protein has severely reduced functionality, the exon 7 sequences may not be specifically required for all activities. Therefore, aminoglycoside antibiotics previously shown to suppress stop codon recognition and promote translation read-through have been examined to increase the length of the SMNDelta7 C-terminus.
Delivery of Recombinant Follistatin Lessens Disease Severity in a Mouse Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Human Molecular Genetics. Mar, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19074460
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the most common genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is caused by loss of functional survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1), resulting in death of spinal motor neurons. Current therapeutic research focuses on modulating the expression of a partially functioning copy gene, SMN2, which is retained in SMA patients. However, a treatment strategy that improves the SMA phenotype by slowing or reversing the skeletal muscle atrophy may also be beneficial. Myostatin, a member of the TGF-beta super-family, is a potent negative regulator of skeletal muscle mass. Follistatin is a natural antagonist of myostatin, and over-expression of follistatin in mouse muscle leads to profound increases in skeletal muscle mass. To determine whether enhanced muscle mass impacts SMA, we administered recombinant follistatin to an SMA mouse model. Treated animals exhibited increased mass in several muscle groups, elevation in the number and cross-sectional area of ventral horn cells, gross motor function improvement and mean lifespan extension by 30%, by preventing some of the early deaths, when compared with control animals. SMN protein levels in spinal cord and muscle were unchanged in follistatin-treated SMA mice, suggesting that follistatin exerts its effect in an SMN-independent manner. Reversing muscle atrophy associated with SMA may represent an unexploited therapeutic target for the treatment of SMA.
Nature. Jan, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19098894
Spinal muscular atrophy is one of the most common inherited forms of neurological disease leading to infant mortality. Patients have selective loss of lower motor neurons resulting in muscle weakness, paralysis and often death. Although patient fibroblasts have been used extensively to study spinal muscular atrophy, motor neurons have a unique anatomy and physiology which may underlie their vulnerability to the disease process. Here we report the generation of induced pluripotent stem cells from skin fibroblast samples taken from a child with spinal muscular atrophy. These cells expanded robustly in culture, maintained the disease genotype and generated motor neurons that showed selective deficits compared to those derived from the child's unaffected mother. This is the first study to show that human induced pluripotent stem cells can be used to model the specific pathology seen in a genetically inherited disease. As such, it represents a promising resource to study disease mechanisms, screen new drug compounds and develop new therapies.
Delivery of Bifunctional RNAs That Target an Intronic Repressor and Increase SMN Levels in an Animal Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Human Molecular Genetics. May, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19228773
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a motor neuron disease caused by the loss of survival motor neuron-1 (SMN1). A nearly identical copy gene, SMN2, is present in all SMA patients, which produces low levels of functional protein. Although the SMN2 coding sequence has the potential to produce normal, full-length SMN, approximately 90% of SMN2-derived transcripts are alternatively spliced and encode a truncated protein lacking the final coding exon (exon 7). SMN2, however, is an excellent therapeutic target. Previously, we developed bifunctional RNAs that bound SMN exon 7 and modulated SMN2 splicing. To optimize the efficiency of the bifunctional RNAs, a different antisense target was required. To this end, we genetically verified the identity of a putative intronic repressor and developed bifunctional RNAs that target this sequence. Consequently, there is a 2-fold mechanism of SMN induction: inhibition of the intronic repressor and recruitment of SR proteins via the SR recruitment sequence of the bifunctional RNA. The bifunctional RNAs effectively increased SMN in human primary SMA fibroblasts. Lead candidates were synthesized as 2'-O-methyl RNAs and were directly injected in the central nervous system of SMA mice. Single-RNA injections were able to illicit a robust induction of SMN protein in the brain and throughout the spinal column of neonatal SMA mice. In a severe model of SMA, mean life span was extended following the delivery of bifunctional RNAs. This technology has direct implications for the development of an SMA therapy, but also lends itself to a multitude of diseases caused by aberrant pre-mRNA splicing.
Delivery of a Read-through Inducing Compound, TC007, Lessens the Severity of a Spinal Muscular Atrophy Animal Model
Human Molecular Genetics. Oct, 2009 | Pubmed ID: 19625298
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality and is caused by the loss of a functional SMN1 gene. In humans, there exists a nearly-identical copy gene known as SMN2 that encodes an identical protein as SMN1, but differs by a silent C to T transition within exon 7. This single nucleotide difference produces an alternatively spliced isoform, SMNDelta7, which encodes a rapidly degraded protein. The absence of the short peptide encoded by SMN exon 7 is critical in the disease development process; however, heterologous sequences can partially compensate for the SMN exon 7 peptide in several cellular assays. Consistent with this, aminoglycosides, compounds that can suppress efficient recognition of stop codons, resulted in significantly increased levels of SMN protein in SMA patient fibroblasts. We now examine the potential therapeutic capabilities of a novel aminoglycoside, TC007. In an intermediate SMA model (Smn-/-; SMN2+/+; SMNDelta7), when delivered directly to the central nervous system (CNS), TC007 induces SMN in both the brain and spinal cord, significantly increases lifespan ( approximately 30%) and increases ventral horn cell number, consistent with its ability to increase SMN levels in induced pluripotent stem cell-derived human SMA motor neuron cultures. Collectively, these experiments are the first in vivo examination of therapeutics for SMA designed to induce read-through of the SMNDelta7 stop codon to show increased benefit by direct administration to the CNS.
Drug News & Perspectives. Oct, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 21031163
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the second most common autosomal recessive disease and is a leading cause of infantile death. This disease has a carrier frequency of 1:35, affecting 1/6,000 live births and is the result of a homozygous loss of the survival of motor neuron 1 gene (SMN1). Humans carry a nearly identical copy gene, SMN2, that codes for very low levels of the full-length protein, ∼10% when compared to SMN1. This is due to one silent nucleotide transition at the 5' end of exon 7 that disrupts a critical splicing regulatory domain. The underlying protein coding region, however, is unaffected by this and other nucleotide differences between SMN1 and SMN2. SMN2 has, therefore, been envisioned as an outstanding target for therapeutic strategies that 1) increases SMN2 expression, 2) alters the pre-messenger RNA splicing of exon 7 or 3) stabilizes the SMN2-derived protein products. In this review, we summarize numerous therapeutic approaches including nucleic acid-based and drug-oriented therapies that have progressed toward treating SMA.
Human Molecular Genetics. Apr, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20392710
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder and a leading genetic cause of infantile mortality. SMA is caused by mutation or deletion of Survival Motor Neuron-1 (SMN1). The clinical features of the disease are caused by specific degeneration of alpha-motor neurons in the spinal cord, leading to muscle weakness, atrophy and, in the majority of cases, premature death. A highly homologous copy gene (SMN2) is retained in almost all SMA patients but fails to generate adequate levels of SMN protein due to its defective splicing pattern. The severity of the SMA phenotype is inversely correlated with SMN2 copy number and the level of full-length SMN protein produced by SMN2 ( approximately 10-15% compared with SMN1). The natural history of SMA has been altered over the past several decades, primarily through supportive care measures, but an effective treatment does not presently exist. However, the common genetic etiology and recent progress in pre-clinical models suggest that SMA is well-suited for the development of therapeutic regimens. We summarize recent advances in translational research that hold promise for the progression towards clinical trials.
Human Molecular Genetics. Oct, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20696672
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive disorder, which is the leading genetic cause of infantile death. SMA is the most common inherited motor neuron disease and occurs in approximately 1:6000 live births. The gene responsible for SMA is called Survival Motor Neuron-1 (SMN1). Interestingly, a human-specific copy gene is present on the same region of chromosome 5q, called SMN2. Motor neurons are the primary tissue affected in SMA. Although it is clear that SMA is a neurodegenerative disease, there are clinical reports that suggest that other tissues contribute to the overall phenotype, especially in the most severe forms of the disease. In severe SMA cases, a growing number of congenital heart defects have been identified upon autopsy. The most common defect is a developmental defect referred to as hypoplastic left heart. The purpose of this report is to determine whether cardiac tissue is altered in SMA models and whether this could contribute to SMA pathogenesis. Here we identified early-stage developmental defects in a severe model of SMA. Additionally, pathological responses including fibrosis and oxidative stress markers were observed shortly after birth in a less severe model of disease. Similarly, functional differences were detected between wild-type and early-stage SMA animals. Collectively, this work demonstrates the importance of cardiac development and function in these severe models of SMA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Jan, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20053895
Spinal muscular atrophy is a leading genetic cause of infantile death and occurs in approximately 1/6000 live births. SMA is caused by the loss of Survival Motor Neuron-1 (SMN1), however, all patients retain at least one copy of a nearly identical gene called SMN2. While SMN2 and SMN1 are comprised of identical coding sequences, the majority of SMN2 transcripts are alternatively spliced, encoding a truncated protein that is unstable and nonfunctional. Considerable effort has focused upon modulating the SMN2 alternative splicing event since this would produce more wild-type protein. Recently we reported the development of an optimized trans-splicing system that involved the coexpression of a SMN2 trans-splicing RNA and an antisense RNA that blocks a downstream splice site in SMN2 pre-mRNA. Here, we demonstrate that in vivo delivery of the optimized trans-splicing vector increases an important SMN-dependent activity, snRNP assembly, in disease-relevant tissue in the SMA mouse model. A single injection of the vector into the intracerebral-ventricular space in SMA neonates also lessens the severity of the SMA phenotype in a severe SMA mouse model, extending survival approximately 70%. Collectively, these results provide the first in vivo demonstration that SMN2 trans-splicing leads to a lessening of the severity of the SMA phenotype and provide evidence for the power of this strategy for reprogramming genetic diseases at the pre-mRNA level.
Identification of a Self-association Domain in the Ewing's Sarcoma Protein: a Novel Function for Arginine-glycine-glycine Rich Motifs?
Journal of Biochemistry. Jun, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 20211855
The Ewing's sarcoma (EWS) protein is a ubiquitously expressed RNA chaperone. The EWS protein localizes predominantly to the nucleus. Previous reports have suggested that the EWS protein is capable of dimerizing. However, to date this has not been confirmed. Here, using a novel panel of recombinant proteins, we have performed an in vitro biomolecular interaction analysis of the EWS protein. We have demonstrated that all three arginine-glycine-glycine (RGG) motifs are capable of binding directly to the survival motor neuron protein, a Tudor domain containing EWS binding partner. We have also confirmed EWS is capable of self-associating, and we have mapped this binding domain to the RGG motifs. We have also found that self-association may be required for EWS nuclear import. This is the first direct evidence of RGG domains being involved in self-association and has implications on all RGG-containing proteins.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Jan, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 19945425
Proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a leading genetic cause of infant death. Patients with SMA lose alpha-motor neurons in the ventral horn of the spinal cord which leads to skeletal muscle weakness and atrophy. SMA is the result of reduction in Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) expression. Transgenic mouse models of SMA have been generated and are extremely useful in understanding the mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration in SMA and in developing new therapeutic candidates for SMA patients. Several research groups have reported varying average lifespans of SMNDelta7 SMA mice (SMN2(+/+);SMNDelta7(+/+);mSmn(-/-)), the most commonly used mouse model for preclinical therapeutic candidate testing. One environmental factor that varied between research groups was maternal diet. In this study, we compared the effects of two different commercially available rodent chows (PicoLab20 Mouse diet and Harlan-Teklad 22/5 diet) on the survival and motor phenotype of the SMNDelta7 mouse model of SMA. Specifically, the PicoLab20 diet significantly extends the average lifespan of the SMNDelta7 SMA mice by approximately 25% and improved the motor phenotype as compared to the Harlan diet. These findings indicate that maternal diet alone can have considerable impact on the SMA phenotype.
Transgenic Inactivation of Murine Myostatin Does Not Decrease the Severity of Disease in a Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Neuromuscular Disorders : NMD. Nov, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 22079083
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a devastating neurodegenerative disease and is a leading genetic cause of infantile death. SMA is caused by the homozygous loss of Survival Motor Neuron-1 (SMN1). The presence of a nearly identical copy gene called SMN2 has led to the development of several strategies that are designed to elevate SMN levels, and it is clear that SMN2 is an important modifier gene. However, the possibility exists that SMN-independent strategies to lessen the severity of the SMA phenotype could provide insight into disease development as well as aid in the identification of potential therapeutic targets. Muscle enhancement has been considered an interesting target for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, including SMA. Previously we have shown in SMA mice that delivery of recombinant follistatin resulted in an extension in survival and a general lessening of disease severity. Follistatin is known to functionally block myostatin (MSTN), a potent inhibitor of muscle development. However, follistatin is a multifaceted protein involved in a variety of cellular pathways. To determine whether MSTN inhibition was the primary pathway associated with the previously reported follistatin results, we generated an animal model of SMA in which Mstn was genetically inactivated. In this report we characterize the novel SMA/Mstn model and demonstrate that Mstn inactivation does not significantly enhance muscle development in neonatal animals, nor does it result in an amelioration of the SMA phenotype.
Combination of SMN Trans-splicing and a Neurotrophic Factor Increases the Life Span and Body Mass in a Severe Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Human Gene Therapy. Feb, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 20804424
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neurodegenerative disease, is the second most common genetic disorder and the leading genetic cause of infantile death. SMA arises from the loss of Survival Motor Neuron-1 (SMN1), leading to degeneration of lower motor neurons and, consequently, the atrophy of voluntary muscles. A duplicated copy gene called SMN2 exists in humans. SMN2 is unable to fully compensate for the loss of SMN1 because it produces very low levels of functional SMN protein due to an alternative splicing event. A C/T transition in SMN2 exon 7 results in a transcript lacking exon 7 and, therefore, creates a truncated SMN protein that cannot fully compensate for the loss of SMN1. However, SMN2 is an ideal target for therapeutic strategies that redirect this critical splicing event. Previously, we developed the first trans-splicing strategy to increase the full-length mRNA and functional SMN protein from the SMN2 gene. To improve the trans-splicing efficacy, we then developed a single-vector system that expressed a trans-splicing RNA (tsRNA) and an antisense blocking the downstream splice site. This single vector greatly enhanced trans-splicing of SMN2 transcripts in vitro and in vivo. In this report, we have added a neurotrophic factor [insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1] to this single vector to determine whether neuroprotection and SMN induction provide greater protection in an SMA animal model. Intracerebroventricular injection of the trans-splicing/IGF vector significantly increased SMN protein in brain and spinal cord of SMAΔ7 mice and lessened the severity of disease in a more severe mouse model as evidenced by an extension of life span and increased body mass.
Human Molecular Genetics. May, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21300694
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), an inherited disease of motor neuron dysfunction, results from insufficient levels of the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. Movement of the SMN protein as granules within cultured axons suggests that the pathogenesis of SMA may involve defects in neuronal transport, yet the nature of axon transport vesicles remains enigmatic. Here we show that SMN directly binds to the α-subunit of the coat protein I (COPI) vesicle coat protein. The α-COP protein co-immunoprecipitates with SMN, small nuclear ribonucleoprotein-associated assembly factors and β-actin mRNA. Although typically Golgi associated, in neuronal cells α-COP localizes to lamellipodia and growth cones and moves within the axon, with a subset of these granules traveling together with SMN. Depletion of α-COP resulted in mislocalization of SMN and actin at the leading edge at the lamellipodia. We propose that neurons utilize the Golgi-associated COPI vesicle to deliver cargoes necessary for motor neuron integrity and function.
Transgenic Research. Dec, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21350916
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease that is a result of a deletion or mutation of the SMN1 (Survival Motor Neuron) gene. A duplicated and nearly identical copy, SMN2, serves as a disease modifier as increasing SMN2 copy number decreases the severity of the disease. Currently many therapeutic approaches for SMA are being developed. Therapeutic strategies aim to modulate splicing of SMN2-derived transcripts, increase SMN2 gene expression, increase neuro-protection of motor neurons, stabilize the SMN protein, replace the SMN1 gene and reconstitute the motor neuron population. It is our goal to develop a pig animal model of SMA for the development and testing of therapeutics and evaluation of toxicology. In the development of a SMA pig model, it was important to demonstrate that the human SMN2 gene would splice appropriately as the model would be based on the presence of the human SMN2 transgene. In this manuscript, we show splicing of the human SMN1 and SMN2 mini-genes in porcine cells is consistent with splicing in human cells, and we report the first genetic knockout of a gene responsible for a neurodegenerative disease in a large animal model using gene targeting with single-stranded DNA and somatic cell nuclear transfer.
The Spinal Muscular Atrophy Mouse Model, SMAΔ7, Displays Altered Axonal Transport Without Global Neurofilament Alterations
Acta Neuropathologica. Sep, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21681521
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neurodegenerative disease resulting from decreased levels of survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) protein. Reduced SMN1 levels are linked to pathology at neuromuscular junctions (NMJs), which includes decreased vesicle density and organization, decreased quantal release, increased endplate potential duration, and neurofilament (NF) accumulations. This work presents a first study towards defining molecular alterations that may lead to the development of NMJ pathology in SMA. Fast, anterograde transport of synaptic vesicle 2 (SV2-c) and synaptotagmin (Syt1) proteins was reduced 2 days prior to the observed decrease in synaptic vesicle density. Moreover, reduced accumulation of SV2-c or Syt1 was not due to reduced protein expression or reduced kinesin activity. Dynein levels were reduced at times that are consistent with NF accumulations at NMJs. Furthermore, NF distribution, from cell body to sciatic nerve, appeared normal in SMA∆7 mice. Taken together, these results suggest that reduced axonal transport may provide a mechanistic explanation for reduced synaptic vesicle density and concomitant synaptic transmission defects, while providing evidence that suggests NF accumulations result from local NMJ alterations to NFs.
Journal of Molecular Neuroscience : MN. Aug, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21826391
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neurodegenerative disease, is the leading genetic cause of infantile death and is caused by the loss of survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1). Humans carry a duplicated copy gene, SMN2, which produces very low levels of functional protein due to an alternative splicing event. This splicing difference is the reason that SMN2 cannot prevent SMA development when SMN1 is deleted. SMN2 generates a transcript lacking exon 7 and consequently gives rise to an unstable truncated SMN protein that cannot protect from SMA. To increase full-length SMN protein, we utilize a strategy referred to as trans-splicing. This strategy relies upon pre-mRNA splicing occurring between two separate molecules: (1) the endogenous target RNA and (2) the therapeutic RNA that provides the correct RNA sequence via a trans-splicing event. The initial trans-splicing RNA targeted intron 6 and replaced exon 7 with the SMN1 exon 7 in SMN2 pre-mRNA. To determine the most efficient intron for SMN trans-splicing event, a panel of trans-splicing RNA molecules was constructed. Each trans-splicing RNA molecule targets a specific intron within the SMN2 pre-mRNA and based on the target intron, replaces the downstream exons including exon 7. These constructs were examined by RT-PCR, immunofluorescence, and Western blotting. We have identified intron 3 as the most efficient intron to support trans-splicing in cellular assays. The intron 3 trans-splicing construct targets intron 3 and replaces exons 4-7 and was distinguished based on its ability to produce the highest level of the trans-spliced RNA and full-length SMN protein in SMA patient fibroblasts. The efficiency of the intron 3 construct was further improved by addition of an antisense that blocks the 3' splice site at the intron 4/exon 5 junction. Most importantly, intracerebroventricular injection of the Int3 construct into SMNΔ7 mice elevated the SMN protein levels in the central nervous system. This research demonstrates an alternative platform to correct genetic defects, including SMN expression and examines the molecular basis for trans-splicing.
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. RNA. Jul-Aug, 2011 | Pubmed ID: 21957043
Ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes function in nearly every facet of cellular activity. The spliceosome is an essential RNP that accurately identifies introns and catalytically removes the intervening sequences, providing exquisite control of spatial, temporal, and developmental gene expressions. U-snRNPs are the building blocks for the spliceosome. A significant amount of insight into the molecular assembly of these essential particles has recently come from a seemingly unexpected area of research: neurodegeneration. Survival motor neuron (SMN) performs an essential role in the maturation of snRNPs, while the homozygous loss of SMN1 results in the development of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a devastating neurodegenerative disease. In this review, the function of SMN is examined within the context of snRNP biogenesis and evidence is examined which suggests that the SMN functional defects in snRNP biogenesis may account for the motor neuron pathology observed in SMA.
Decreasing Disease Severity in Symptomatic, Smn(-/-);SMN2(+/+), Spinal Muscular Atrophy Mice Following ScAAV9-SMN Delivery
Human Gene Therapy. Jan, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22029744
Abstract Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder, is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is caused by the homozygous loss of Survival Motor Neuron-1 (SMN1). In humans, a nearly identical copy gene is present, SMN2. SMN2 is retained in all SMA patients and encodes the same protein as SMN1. However, SMN1 and SMN2 differ by a silent C-to-T transition at the 5' end of exon 7, causing alternative splicing of SMN2 transcripts and low levels of full-length SMN. SMA is monogenic and therefore well suited for gene-replacement strategies. Recently, self-complementary adeno-associated virus (scAAV) vectors have been used to deliver the SMN cDNA to an animal model of disease, the SMNΔ7 mouse. In this study, we examine a severe model of SMA, Smn(-/-);SMN2(+/+), to determine whether gene replacement is viable in a model in which disease development begins in utero. Using two delivery paradigms, intracerebroventricular injections and intravenous injections, we delivered scAAV9-SMN and demonstrated a two to four fold increase in survival, in addition to improving many of the phenotypic parameters of the model. This represents the longest extension in survival for this severe model for any therapeutic intervention and suggests that postsymptomatic treatment of SMA may lead to significant improvement of disease severity.
Bifunctional RNAs Targeting the Intronic Splicing Silencer N1 Increase SMN Levels and Reduce Disease Severity in an Animal Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Molecular Therapy : the Journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. Jan, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22031236
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by loss of survival motor neuron-1 (SMN1). A nearly identical copy gene, SMN2, is present in all SMA patients. Although the SMN2 coding sequence has the potential to produce full-length SMN, nearly 90% of SMN2-derived transcripts are alternatively spliced and encode a truncated protein. SMN2, however, is an excellent therapeutic target. Previously, we developed antisense-based oligonucleotides (bifunctional RNAs) that specifically recruit SR/SR-like splicing factors and target a negative regulator of SMN2 exon-7 inclusion within intron-6. As a means to optimize the antisense sequence of the bifunctional RNAs, we chose to target a potent intronic repressor downstream of SMN2 exon 7, called intronic splicing silencer N1 (ISS-N1). We developed RNAs that specifically target ISS-N1 and concurrently recruit the modular SR proteins SF2/ASF or hTra2β1. RNAs were directly injected in the brains of SMA mice. Bifunctional RNA injections were able to elicit robust induction of SMN protein in the brain and spinal column of neonatal SMA mice. Importantly, hTra2β1-ISS-N1 and SF2/ASF-ISS-N1 bifunctional RNAs significantly extended lifespan and increased weight in the SMNΔ7 mice. This technology has direct implications for SMA therapy and provides similar therapeutic strategies for other diseases caused by aberrant splicing.
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. Jan, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22285962
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a leading genetic cause of infantile death. Loss of a gene called Survival Motor Neuron 1 (SMN1) and, as a result, reduced levels of the Survival Motor Neuron (SMN) protein leads to SMA development. SMA is characterized by the loss of functional motor neurons in the spinal cord. However, accumulating evidence suggests the contribution of other organs to the composite SMA phenotype and disease progression. A growing number of congenital heart defects have been identified in severe SMA patients. Consistent with the clinical cases, we have recently identified developmental and functional heart defects in two SMA mouse models, occurring at embryonic stage in a severe SMA model and shortly after birth in a less severe model (SMN∆7). Our goal was to examine the late stage cardiac abnormalities in untreated SMN∆7 mice and to determine whether gene replacement therapy restores cardiac structure/function in rescued SMN∆7 model. To reveal the extent of the cardiac structural/functional repair in the rescued mice, we analyzed the heart of untreated and treated SMN∆7 model using self-complementary Adeno-associated virus (serotype 9) expressing the full-length SMN cDNA. We examined the characteristics of the heart failure such as remodeling, fibrosis, oxidative stress, and vascular integrity in both groups. Our results clearly indicate that fibrosis, oxidative stress activation, vascular remodeling, and a significant decrease in the number of capillaries exist in the SMA heart. The cardiac structural defects were improved drastically in the rescued animals, however, the level of impairment was still significant compared to the age-matched wildtype littermates. Furthermore, functional analysis by in vivo cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed that the heart of the treated SMA mice still exhibits functional defects. In conclusion, cardiac abnormalities are only partially rescued in post-birth treated SMA animals and these abnormalities may contribute to the premature death of vector-treated SMA animals with seemingly rescued motor function but an average life span of less than 70days as reported in several studies.
Direct Central Nervous System Delivery Provides Enhanced Protection Following Vector Mediated Gene Replacement in a Severe Model of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. Jan, 2012 | Pubmed ID: 22172949
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder, is the leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is caused by the homozygous loss of Survival Motor Neuron-1 (SMN1). SMA, however, is not due to complete absence of SMN, rather a low level of functional full-length SMN is produced by a nearly identical copy gene called SMN2. Despite SMN's ubiquitous expression, motor neurons are preferentially affected by low SMN levels. Recently gene replacement strategies have shown tremendous promise in animal models of SMA. In this study, we used self-complementary Adeno Associated Virus (scAAV) expressing full-length SMN cDNA to compare two different routes of viral delivery in a severe SMA mouse model. This was accomplished by injecting scAAV9-SMN vector intravenously (IV) or intracerebroventricularly (ICV) into SMA mice. Both routes of delivery resulted in a significant increase in lifespan and weight compared to untreated mice with a subpopulation of mice surviving more than 200days. However, the ICV injected mice gained significantly more weight than their IV treated counterparts. Likewise, survival analysis showed that ICV treated mice displayed fewer early deaths than IV treated animals. Collectively, this report demonstrates that route of delivery is a crucial component of gene therapy treatment for SMA.