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RNA. 2017 Jun;23(6):899-909. doi: 10.1261/rna.056788.116. Epub 2017 Mar 3.

A new cis-acting motif is required for the axonal SMN-dependent Anxa2 mRNA localization.

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IGMM, CNRS, Université Montpellier, Montpellier, France.
Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Physiopathologie du Retard Mental, 06560 Valbonne, France.


Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by mutations and/or deletions of the survival motor neuron gene (SMN1). Besides its function in the biogenesis of spliceosomal snRNPs, SMN might possess a motor neuron specific role and could function in the transport of axonal mRNAs and in the modulation of local protein translation. Accordingly, SMN colocalizes with axonal mRNAs of differentiated NSC-34 motor neuron-like cells. We recently showed that SMN depletion gives rise to a decrease in the axonal transport of the mRNAs encoding Annexin A2 (Anxa2). In this work, we have characterized the structural features of the Anxa2 mRNA required for its axonal targeting by SMN. We found that a G-rich motif located near the 3'UTR is essential for axonal localization of the Anxa2 transcript. We also show that mutations in the motif sequence abolish targeting of Anxa2 reporter mRNAs in axon-like structures of differentiated NSC-34 cells. Finally, localization of both wild-type and mutated Anxa2 reporters is restricted to the cell body in SMN-depleted cells. Altogether, our studies show that this G-motif represents a novel and essential determinant for axonal localization of the Anxa2 mRNA mediated by the SMN complex.


Anxa2; RNA transport; SMA; SMN; cis-acting motif

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