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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Sep 6;102(36):12873-8. Epub 2005 Aug 29.

Blocking protein farnesyltransferase improves nuclear shape in fibroblasts from humans with progeroid syndromes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Division of Cardiology, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Defects in the biogenesis of lamin A from its farnesylated precursor, prelamin A, lead to the accumulation of prelamin A at the nuclear envelope, cause misshapen nuclei, and result in progeroid syndromes. A deficiency in ZMPSTE24, a protease involved in prelamin A processing, leads to prelamin A accumulation, an absence of mature lamin A, misshapen nuclei, and a lethal perinatal progeroid syndrome: restrictive dermopathy (RD). Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is caused by a mutant prelamin A that cannot be processed to lamin A. The hallmark cellular abnormality in RD and HGPS is misshapen nuclei. We hypothesized that the farnesylation of prelamin A is important for its targeting to the nuclear envelope in RD and HGPS and that blocking farnesylation would ameliorate the nuclear shape abnormalities. Indeed, when RD fibroblasts were treated with a farnesyltransferase inhibitor (FTI), prelamin A was partially mislocalized away from the nuclear envelope, and the frequency of nuclear shape abnormalities was reduced (P < 0.0001). A FTI also mislocalized prelamin A and improved nuclear shape in Zmpste24-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts (P < 0.0001) and improved nuclear shape in human HGPS fibroblasts (P < 0.0001). Most remarkably, a FTI significantly improved nuclear shape in two fibroblast cell lines from atypical progeria patients with lamin A missense mutations in the absence of prelamin A accumulation (P = 0.0003 and P < 0.0001). These findings establish a paradigm for ameliorating the most obvious cellular pathology in lamin-related progeroid syndromes and suggest a potential strategy for treating these diseases.

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