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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 10;8(4):e60478. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060478. Print 2013.

Attenuation of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay enhances in vivo nonsense suppression.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America.


Nonsense suppression therapy is an approach to treat genetic diseases caused by nonsense mutations. This therapeutic strategy pharmacologically suppresses translation termination at Premature Termination Codons (PTCs) in order to restore expression of functional protein. However, the process of Nonsense-Mediated mRNA Decay (NMD), which reduces the abundance of mRNAs containing PTCs, frequently limits this approach. Here, we used a mouse model of the lysosomal storage disease mucopolysaccharidosis I-Hurler (MPS I-H) that carries a PTC in the Idua locus to test whether NMD attenuation can enhance PTC suppression in vivo. Idua encodes alpha-L-iduronidase, an enzyme required for degradation of the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) heparan sulfate and dermatan sulfate. We found that the NMD attenuator NMDI-1 increased the abundance of the PTC-containing Idua transcript. Furthermore, co-administration of NMDI-1 with the PTC suppression drug gentamicin enhanced alpha-L-iduronidase activity compared to gentamicin alone, leading to a greater reduction of GAG storage in mouse tissues, including the brain. These results demonstrate that NMD attenuation significantly enhances suppression therapy in vivo.

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