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Cell Rep. 2018 Dec 18;25(12):3422-3434.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.11.076.

An Integrative Study of Protein-RNA Condensates Identifies Scaffolding RNAs and Reveals Players in Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome.

Author information

1
Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), The Barcelona Institute for Science and Technology, Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.
2
Department of Clinical Genetics, Erasmus MC, 3000 CA Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
3
Neurological Tissue Biobank of the Hospital Clinic and Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Carrer del Rosselló, 149, 08036, Barcelona, Spain; Institute of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria.
4
Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), The Barcelona Institute for Science and Technology, Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: teresa.botta@idibaps.org.
5
Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), The Barcelona Institute for Science and Technology, Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain; Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), 08003 Barcelona, Spain; Department of Biology 'Charles Darwin', Sapienza University of Rome, P.le A. Moro 5, Rome 00185, Italy; Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), 23 Passeig Lluís Companys, 08010 Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address: gian@tartaglialab.com.

Abstract

Recent evidence indicates that specific RNAs promote the formation of ribonucleoprotein condensates by acting as scaffolds for RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). We systematically investigated RNA-RBP interaction networks to understand ribonucleoprotein assembly. We found that highly contacted RNAs are structured, have long UTRs, and contain nucleotide repeat expansions. Among the RNAs with such properties, we identified the FMR1 3' UTR that harbors CGG expansions implicated in fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). We studied FMR1 binding partners in silico and in vitro and prioritized the splicing regulator TRA2A for further characterization. In a FXTAS cellular model, we validated the TRA2A-FMR1 interaction and investigated implications of its sequestration at both transcriptomic and post-transcriptomic levels. We found that TRA2A co-aggregates with FMR1 in a FXTAS mouse model and in post-mortem human samples. Our integrative study identifies key components of ribonucleoprotein aggregates, providing links to neurodegenerative disease and allowing the discovery of therapeutic targets.

KEYWORDS:

CGG repeat expansion; FMR1 premutation; FXTAS; RBP; RNA aggregates; RNA binding proteins; TRA2A splicing regulator; fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome; neurodegeneration; phase separation; scaffolding RNA

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