985 research outputs found

    The Yin and Yang of nucleic acid-based therapy in the brain.

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    The post-genomic era has unveiled the existence of a large repertory of non-coding RNAs and repetitive elements that play a fundamental role in cellular homeostasis and dysfunction. These may represent unprecedented opportunities to modify gene expression at the right time in the correct space in vivo, providing an almost unlimited reservoir of new potential pharmacological agents. Hijacking their mode of actions, the druggable genome can be extended to regulatory RNAs and DNA elements in a scalable fashion. Here, we discuss the state-of-the–art of nucleic acid-based drugs to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Beneficial effects can be obtained by inhibiting (Yin) and increasing (Yang) gene expression, depending on the disease and the drug target. Together with the description of the current use of inhibitory RNAs (small inhibitory RNAs and antisense oligonucleotides) in animal models and clinical trials, we discuss the molecular basis and applications of new classes of activatory RNAs at transcriptional (RNAa) and translational (SINEUP) levels

    Synthetic in vitro transcribed lncRNAs (SINEUPs) with chemical modifications enhance target mRNA translation.

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    Chemically modified mRNAs are extensively studied with a view toward their clinical application. In particular, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) containing SINE elements, which enhance the translation of their target mRNAs (i.e., SINEUPs), have potential as RNA therapies for various diseases, such as haploinsufficiencies. To establish a SINEUP‐based system for efficient protein expression, we directly transfected chemically modified in vitro transcribed (mIVT) SINEUP RNAs to examine their effects on target mRNA translation. mIVT SINEUP RNAs enhanced translation of EGFP mRNA and endogenous target Sox9 mRNA in both cultured cells and a cell‐free translation system. Our findings reveal the functional role of RNA modifications in SINEUPs and suggest several broad clinical applications of such an RNA regulatory system

    Conformational ensembles of an RNA hairpin using molecular dynamics and sparse NMR data

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    Solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) experiments allow RNA dynamics to be determined in an aqueous environment. However, when a limited number of peaks are assigned, it is difficult to obtain structural information. We here show a protocol based on the combination of experimental data (Nuclear Overhauser Effect, NOE) and molecular dynamics simulations with enhanced sampling methods. This protocol allows to (a) obtain a maximum entropy ensemble compatible with NMR restraints and (b) obtain a minimal set of metastable conformations compatible with the experimental data (maximum parsimony). The method is applied to a hairpin of 29 nt from an inverted SINEB2, which is part of the SINEUP family and has been shown to enhance protein translation. A clustering procedure is introduced where the annotation of base-base interactions and glycosidic bond angles is used as a metric. By reweighting the contributions of the clusters, minimal sets of four conformations could be found which are compatible with the experimental data. A motif search on the structural database showed that some identified low-population states are present in experimental structures of other RNA transcripts. The introduced method can be applied to characterize RNA dynamics in systems where a limited amount of NMR information is available

    Identification of antisense long noncoding RNAs that function as SINEUPs in human cells

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    Mammalian genomes encode numerous natural antisense long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) that regulate gene expression. Recently, an antisense lncRNA to mouse Ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1 (Uchl1) was reported to increase UCHL1 protein synthesis, representing a new functional class of lncRNAs, designated as SINEUPs, for SINE element-containing translation UP-regulators. Here, we show that an antisense lncRNA to the human protein phosphatase 1 regulatory subunit 12A (PPP1R12A), named as R12A-AS1, which overlaps with the 5' UTR and first coding exon of the PPP1R12A mRNA, functions as a SINEUP, increasing PPP1R12A protein translation in human cells. The SINEUP activity depends on the aforementioned sense-antisense interaction and a free right Alu monomer repeat element at the 3' end of R12A-AS1. In addition, we identify another human antisense lncRNA with SINEUP activity. Our results demonstrate for the first time that human natural antisense lncRNAs can up-regulate protein translation, suggesting that endogenous SINEUPs may be widespread and present in many mammalian species

    Hemoglobin is present as a canonical α2ÎČ2 tetramer in dopaminergic neurons

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    AbstractHemoglobin is the oxygen carrier in blood erythrocytes. Oxygen coordination is mediated by α2ÎČ2 tetrameric structure via binding of the ligand to the heme iron atom. This structure is essential for hemoglobin function in the blood. In the last few years, expression of hemoglobin has been found in atypical sites, including the brain. Transcripts for α and ÎČ chains of hemoglobin as well as hemoglobin immunoreactivity have been shown in mesencephalic A9 dopaminergic neurons, whose selective degeneration leads to Parkinson's disease. To gain further insights into the roles of hemoglobin in the brain, we examined its quaternary structure in dopaminergic neurons in vitro and in vivo. Our results indicate that (i) in mouse dopaminergic cell line stably over-expressing α and ÎČ chains, hemoglobin exists as an α2ÎČ2 tetramer; (ii) similarly to the over-expressed protein, endogenous hemoglobin forms a tetramer of 64kDa; (iii) hemoglobin also forms high molecular weight insoluble aggregates; and (iv) endogenous hemoglobin retains its tetrameric structure in mouse mesencephalon in vivo. In conclusion, these results suggest that neuronal hemoglobin may be endowed with some of the biochemical activities and biological function associated to its role in erythroid cells. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Oxygen Binding and Sensing Proteins

    On the Oligomeric State of DJ-1 Protein and Its Mutants Associated with Parkinson Disease A COMBINED COMPUTATIONAL AND IN VITRO STUDY

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    Mutations in the DJ-1 protein are present in patients suffering from familial Parkinson disease. Here we use computational methods and biological assays to investigate the relationship between DJ-1 missense mutations and the protein oligomeric state. Molecular dynamics calculations suggest that: (i) the structure of DJ-1 wild type (WT) in aqueous solution, in both oxidized and reduced forms, is similar to the crystal structure of the reduced form; (ii) the Parkinson disease-causing M26I variant is structurally similar to the WT, consistent with the experimental evidence showing the protein is a dimer as WT; (iii) R98Q is structurally similar to the WT, consistent with the fact that this is a physiological variant; and (iv) the L166P monomer rapidly evolves toward a conformation significantly different from WT, suggesting a change in its ability to oligomerize. Our combined computational and experimental approach is next used to identify a mutant (R28A) that, in contrast to L166P, destabilizes the dimer subunit-subunit interface without significantly changing secondary structure elements

    SINEUP Non-coding RNA Targeting GDNF Rescues Motor Deficits and Neurodegeneration in a Mouse Model of Parkinson's Disease.

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    International audience; Glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) has a potent action in promoting the survival of dopamine (DA) neurons. Several studies indicate that increasing GDNF levels may be beneficial for the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) by reducing neurodegeneration of DA neurons. Despite a plethora of preclinical studies showing GDNF efficacy in PD animal models, its application in humans remains questionable for its poor efficacy and side effects due to its uncontrolled, ectopic expression. Here we took advantage of SINEUPs, a new class of antisense long non-coding RNA, that promote translation of partially overlapping sense protein-coding mRNAs with no effects on their mRNA levels. By synthesizing a SINEUP targeting Gdnf mRNA, we were able to increase endogenous GDNF protein levels by about 2-fold. Adeno-associated virus (AAV)9-mediated delivery in the striatum of wild-type (WT) mice led to an increase of endogenous GDNF protein for at least 6 months and the potentiation of the DA system's functions while showing no side effects. Furthermore, SINEUP-GDNF was able to ameliorate motor deficits and neurodegeneration of DA neurons in a PD neurochemical mouse model. Our data indicate that SINEUP-GDNF could represent a new strategy to increase endogenous GDNF protein levels in a more physiological manner for therapeutic treatments of PD

    An EEG-fMRI Study on the Termination of Generalized Spike-And-Wave Discharges in Absence Epilepsy

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    INTRODUCTION: Different studies have investigated by means of EEG-fMRI coregistration the brain networks related to generalized spike-and-wave discharges (GSWD) in patients with idiopathic generalized epilepsy (IGE). These studies revealed a widespread GSWD-related neural network that involves the thalamus and regions of the default mode network. In this study we investigated which brain regions are critically involved in the termination of absence seizures (AS) in a group of IGE patients. METHODS: Eighteen patients (6 male; mean age 25 years) with AS were included in the EEG-fMRI study. Functional data were acquired at 3T with continuous simultaneous video-EEG recording. Event-related analysis was performed with SPM8 software, using the following regressors: (1) GSWD onset and duration; (2) GSWD offset. Data were analyzed at single-subject and at group level with a second level random effect analysis. RESULTS: A mean of 17 events for patient was recorded (mean duration of 4.2 sec). Group-level analysis related to GSWD onset respect to rest confirmed previous findings revealing thalamic activation and a precuneus/posterior cingulate deactivation. At GSWD termination we observed a decrease in BOLD signal over the bilateral dorsolateral frontal cortex respect to the baseline (and respect to GSWD onset). The contrast GSWD offset versus onset showed a BOLD signal increase over the precuneus-posterior cingulate region bilaterally. Parametric correlations between electro-clinical variables and BOLD signal at GSWD offset did not reveal significant effects. CONCLUSION: The role of the decreased neural activity of lateral prefrontal cortex at GSWD termination deserve future investigations to ascertain if it has a role in promoting the discharge offset, as well as in the determination of the cognitive deficits often present in patients with AS. The increased BOLD signal at precuneal/posterior cingulate cortex might reflect the recovery of neural activity in regions that are "suspended" during spike and waves activity, as previously hypothesized

    Non-24-hour sleep-wake rhythm disorder and melatonin secretion impairment in a patient with pineal cyst

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    We report the case of a 14-year-old girl with a wide non-compressive pineal cyst, associated with the inability to control her sleep-wake schedule. Actigraphic monitoring showed a 24-hour free-running disorder (tau 26.96 hours). A 24-hour serum melatonin curve assay, with concomitant video-polysomnographic and body-core temperature monitoring, was performed. Melatonin curve showed a blunted nocturnal peak, lower total quantity of melatonin, and prolonged melatonin secretion in the morning, with normal temperature profile and sleep parameters. Treatment with melatonin up to 14 mg at bedtime was initiated with complete realignment of the sleep-wake rhythm (tau 23.93 hours). The role of the pineal cyst in the aforementioned alteration of melatonin secretion and free-running disorder remains controversial, but our case supports the utility of monitoring sleep/wake, temperature, and melatonin rhythms in the diagnostic work-up of pineal cysts associated with free-running disorder