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Curr Biol. 2009 May 12;19(9):774-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.03.030. Epub 2009 Apr 9.

Five siRNAs targeting three SNPs may provide therapy for three-quarters of Huntington's disease patients.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01655, USA.

Abstract

Among dominant neurodegenerative disorders, Huntington's disease (HD) is perhaps the best candidate for treatment with small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) [1-9]. Invariably fatal, HD is caused by expansion of a CAG repeat in the Huntingtin gene, creating an extended polyglutamine tract that makes the Huntingtin protein toxic [10]. Silencing mutant Huntingtin messenger RNA (mRNA) should provide therapeutic benefit, but normal Huntingtin likely contributes to neuronal function [11-13]. No siRNA strategy can yet distinguish among the normal and disease Huntingtin alleles and other mRNAs containing CAG repeats [14]. siRNAs targeting the disease isoform of a heterozygous single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in Huntingtin provide an alternative [15-19]. We sequenced 22 predicted SNP sites in 225 human samples corresponding to HD and control subjects. We find that 48% of our patient population is heterozygous at a single SNP site; one isoform of this SNP is associated with HD. Several other SNP sites are frequently heterozygous. Consequently, five allele-specific siRNAs, corresponding to just three SNP sites, could be used to treat three-quarters of the United States and European HD patient populations. We have designed and validated selective siRNAs for the three SNP sites, laying the foundation for allele-specific RNA interference (RNAi) therapy for HD.

PMID:
19361997
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2746439
Free PMC Article
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