Citation

d'Ydewalle C, Ramos DM, Pyles NJ, Ng SY, Gorz M, Pilato CM, Ling K, Kong L, Ward AJ, Rubin LL, Rigo F, Bennett CF, Sumner CJ. 2017. The Antisense Transcript SMN-AS1 Regulates SMN Expression and Is a Novel Therapeutic Target for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Neuron. 93(1):66-79. Pubmed: 28017471 DOI:10.1016/j.neuron.2016.11.033

Abstract

The neuromuscular disorder spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the most common inherited killer of infants, is caused by insufficient expression of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. SMA therapeutics development efforts have focused on identifying strategies to increase SMN expression. We identified a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) that arises from the antisense strand of SMN, SMN-AS1, which is enriched in neurons and transcriptionally represses SMN expression by recruiting the epigenetic Polycomb repressive complex-2. Targeted degradation of SMN-AS1 with antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) increases SMN expression in patient-derived cells, cultured neurons, and the mouse central nervous system. SMN-AS1 ASOs delivered together with SMN2 splice-switching oligonucleotides additively increase SMN expression and improve survival of severe SMA mice. This study is the first proof of concept that targeting a lncRNA to transcriptionally activate SMN2 can be combined with SMN2 splicing modification to ameliorate SMA and demonstrates the promise of combinatorial ASOs for the treatment of neurogenetic disorders.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Lee Rubin investigates the key molecular mediators of different neurodegenerative diseases, with the ultimate goal of finding effective preclinical therapeutic candidates.

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