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J Neurosci. 2010 Jan 6;30(1):126-30. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4489-09.2010.

Trans-splicing-mediated improvement in a severe mouse model of spinal muscular atrophy.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, USA.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
20053895
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2836862
Free PMC Article
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