Intragenic telSMN mutations: frequency, distribution, evidence of a founder effect, and modification of the spinal muscular atrophy phenotype by cenSMN copy number.
ABSTRACT: The autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by the loss or mutation of the survival motor neuron (SMN) gene, which exists in two nearly identical copies, telomeric SMN (telSMN) and centromeric SMN (cenSMN). Exon 7 of the telSMN gene is homozygously absent in approximately 95% of SMA patients, whereas loss of cenSMN does not cause SMA. We searched for other telSMN mutations among 23 SMA compound heterozygotes, using heteroduplex analysis. We identified telSMN mutations in 11 of these unrelated SMA-like individuals who carry a single copy of telSMN: these include two frameshift mutations (800ins11 and 542delGT) and three missense mutations (A2G, S262I, and T274I). The telSMN mutations identified to date cluster at the 3' end, in a region containing sites for SMN oligomerization and binding of Sm proteins. Interestingly, the novel A2G missense mutation occurs outside this conserved carboxy-terminal domain, closely upstream of an SIP1 (SMN-interacting protein 1) binding site. In three patients, the A2G mutation was found to be on the same allele as a rare polymorphism in the 5' UTR, providing evidence for a founder chromosome; Ag1-CA marker data also support evidence of an ancestral origin for the 800ins11 and 542delGT mutations. We note that telSMN missense mutations are associated with milder disease in our patients and that the severe type I SMA phenotype caused by frameshift mutations can be ameliorated by an increase in cenSMN gene copy number.
Project description:5q spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a common autosomal recessive disorder in humans and the leading genetic cause of infantile death. Patients lack a functional survival of motor neurons (SMN1) gene, but carry one or more copies of the highly homologous SMN2 gene. A homozygous knockout of the single murine Smn gene is embryonic lethal. Here we report that in the absence of the SMN2 gene, a mutant SMN A2G transgene is unable to rescue the embryonic lethality. In its presence, the A2G transgene delays the onset of motor neuron loss, resulting in mice with mild SMA. We suggest that only in the presence of low levels of full-length SMN is the A2G transgene able to form partially functional higher order SMN complexes essential for its functions. Mild SMA mice exhibit motor neuron degeneration, muscle atrophy, and abnormal EMGs. Animals homozygous for the mutant transgene are less severely affected than heterozygotes. This demonstrates the importance of SMN levels in SMA even if the protein is expressed from a mutant allele. Our mild SMA mice will be useful in (a) determining the effect of missense mutations in vivo and in motor neurons and (b) testing potential therapies in SMA.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease. Loss of the survival motor neuron (SMN1) gene, in the presence of the SMN2 gene causes SMA. SMN functions in snRNP assembly in all cell types, however, it is unclear how this function results in specifically motor neuron cell death. Lack of endogenous mouse SMN (Smn) in mice results in embryonic lethality. Introduction of two copies of human SMN2 results in a mouse with severe SMA, while one copy of SMN2 is insufficient to overcome embryonic lethality. We show that SMN(A111G), an allele capable of snRNP assembly, can rescue mice that lack Smn and contain either one or two copies of SMN2 (SMA mice). The correction of SMA in these animals was directly correlated with snRNP assembly activity in spinal cord, as was correction of snRNA levels. These data support snRNP assembly as being the critical function affected in SMA and suggests that the levels of snRNPs are critical to motor neurons. Furthermore, SMN(A111G) cannot rescue Smn-/- mice without SMN2 suggesting that both SMN(A111G) and SMN from SMN2 undergo intragenic complementation in vivo to function in heteromeric complexes that have greater function than either allele alone. The oligomer composed of limiting full-length SMN and SMN(A111G) has substantial snRNP assembly activity. Also, the SMN(A2G) and SMN(A111G) alleles in vivo did not complement each other leading to the possibility that these mutations could affect the same function.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by reduced levels of full-length SMN (FL-SMN). In SMA patients with one or two copies of the Survival Motor Neuron 2 (SMN2) gene there are a number of SMN missense mutations that result in milder-than-predicted SMA phenotypes. These mild SMN missense mutation alleles are often assumed to have partial function. However, it is important to consider the contribution of FL-SMN as these missense alleles never occur in the absence of SMN2. We propose that these patients contain a partially functional oligomeric SMN complex consisting of FL-SMN from SMN2 and mutant SMN protein produced from the missense allele. Here we show that mild SMN missense mutations SMND44V, SMNT74I or SMNQ282A alone do not rescue mice lacking wild-type FL-SMN. Thus, missense mutations are not functional in the absence of FL-SMN. In contrast, when the same mild SMN missense mutations are expressed in a mouse containing two SMN2 copies, functional SMN complexes are formed with the small amount of wild-type FL-SMN produced by SMN2 and the SMA phenotype is completely rescued. This contrasts with SMN missense alleles when studied in C. elegans, Drosophila and zebrafish. Here we demonstrate that the heteromeric SMN complex formed with FL-SMN is functional and sufficient to rescue small nuclear ribonucleoprotein assembly, motor neuron function and rescue the SMA mice. We conclude that mild SMN missense alleles are not partially functional but rather they are completely non-functional in the absence of wild-type SMN in mammals.
Project description:The survival of motor neurons (SMN) gene is the disease gene of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a common motor neuron degenerative disease. The SMN protein is part of a complex containing several proteins, of which one, SIP1 (SMN interacting protein 1), has been characterized so far. The SMN complex is found in both the cytoplasm and in the nucleus, where it is concentrated in bodies called gems. In the cytoplasm, SMN and SIP1 interact with the Sm core proteins of spliceosomal small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), and they play a critical role in snRNP assembly. In the nucleus, SMN is required for pre-mRNA splicing, likely by serving in the regeneration of snRNPs. Here, we report the identification of another component of the SMN complex, a novel DEAD box putative RNA helicase, named Gemin3. Gemin3 interacts directly with SMN, as well as with SmB, SmD2, and SmD3. Immunolocalization studies using mAbs to Gemin3 show that it colocalizes with SMN in gems. Gemin3 binds SMN via its unique COOH-terminal domain, and SMN mutations found in some SMA patients strongly reduce this interaction. The presence of a DEAD box motif in Gemin3 suggests that it may provide the catalytic activity that plays a critical role in the function of the SMN complex on RNPs.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disease with dysfunctional ?-motor neurons in the anterior horn of the spinal cord. SMA is caused by loss (?95% of SMA cases) or mutation (?5% of SMA cases) of the survival motor neuron 1 gene SMN1. As the product of SMN1, SMN is a component of the SMN complex, and is also involved in the biosynthesis of the small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs), which play critical roles in pre-mRNA splicing in the pathogenesis of SMA. To investigate how SMA-linked mutations of SMN1 lead to structural/functional deficiency of SMN, a set of computational analysis of SMN-related structures were conducted and are described in this article. Of extraordinary interest, the structural analysis highlights three SMN residues (Asp44, Glu134 and Gln136) with SMA-linked missense mutations, which cause disruptions of electrostatic interactions for Asp44, Glu134 and Gln136, and result in three functionally deficient SMA-linked SMN mutants, Asp44Val, Glu134Lys and Gln136Glu. From the computational analysis, it is also possible that SMN's Lys45 and Asp36 act as two electrostatic clips at the SMN-Gemin2 complex structure interface.
Project description:Problems with diagnosis and genetic counseling occur for patients with autosomal recessive proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) who do not show the most common mutation: homozygous absence of at least exon 7 of the telomeric survival motor neuron gene (SMN1). Here we present molecular genetic data for 42 independent nondeleted SMA patients. A nonradioactive quantitative PCR test showed one SMN1 copy in 19 patients (45%). By sequencing cloned reverse-transcription (RT) PCR products or genomic fragments of SMN1, we identified nine different mutations in 18 of the 19 patients, six described for the first time: three missense mutations (Y272C, T274I, S262I), three frameshift mutations in exons 2a, 2b, and 4 (124insT, 241-242ins4, 591delA), one nonsense mutation in exon 1 (Q15X), one Alu-mediated deletion from intron 4 to intron 6, and one donor splice site mutation in intron 7 (c.922+6T-->G). The most frequent mutation, Y272C, was found in 6 (33%) of 18 patients. Each intragenic mutation found in at least two patients occurred on the same haplotype background, indicating founder mutations. Genotype-phenotype correlation allowed inference of the effect of each mutation on the function of the SMN1 protein and the role of the SMN2 copy number in modulating the SMA phenotype. In 14 of 23 SMA patients with two SMN1 copies, at least one intact SMN1 copy was sequenced, which excludes a 5q-SMA and suggests the existence of further gene(s) responsible for approximately 4%-5% of phenotypes indistinguishable from SMA. We determined the validity of the test, and we discuss its practical implications and limitations.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Proximal spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a common neuromuscular disorder resulting in death during childhood. Around 81~95% of SMA cases are a result of homozygous deletions of survival motor neuron gene 1 (SMN1) gene or gene conversions from SMN1 to SMN2. Less than 5% of cases showed rare subtle mutations in SMN1. Our aim was to identify subtle mutations in Chinese SMA patients carrying a single SMN1 copy. METHODS: We examined 14 patients from 13 unrelated families. Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification analysis was carried out to determine the copy numbers of SMN1 and SMN2. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and clone sequencing were used to detect subtle mutations in SMN1. SMN transcript levels were determined using quantitative RT-PCR. RESULTS: Six subtle mutations (p.Ser8LysfsX23, p.Glu134Lys, p.Leu228X, p.Ser230Leu, p.Tyr277Cys, and p.Arg288Met) were identified in 12 patients. The p.Tyr277Cys mutation has not been reported previously. The p.Ser8LysfsX23, p.Leu228X, and p.Tyr277Cys mutations have only been reported in Chinese SMA patients and the first two mutations seem to be the common ones. Levels of full length SMN1 (fl-SMN1) transcripts were very low in patients carrying p.Ser8LysfsX23, p.Leu228X or p.Arg288Met compared with healthy carriers. In patients carrying p.Glu134Lys or p.Ser230Leu, levels of fl-SMN1 transcripts were reduced but not significant. The SMN1 transcript almost skipped exon 7 entirely in patients with the p.Arg288Met mutation. CONCLUSIONS: Our study reveals a distinct spectrum of subtle mutations in SMN1 of Chinese SMA patients from that of other ethnicities. The p.Arg288Met missense mutation possibly influences the correct splicing of exon 7 in SMN1. Mutation analysis of the SMN1 gene in Chinese patients may contribute to the identification of potential ethnic differences and enrich the SMN1 subtle mutation database.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a recessive genetic disease, affects lower motoneurons leading to denervation, atrophy, paralysis and in severe cases death. Reduced levels of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein cause SMA. As a first step towards generating a genetic model of SMA in zebrafish, we identified three smn mutations. Two of these alleles, smnY262stop and smnL265stop, were stop mutations that resulted in exon 7 truncation, whereas the third, smnG264D, was a missense mutation corresponding to an amino acid altered in human SMA patients. Smn protein levels were low/undetectable in homozygous mutants consistent with unstable protein products. Homozygous mutants from all three alleles were smaller and survived on the basis of maternal Smn dying during the second week of larval development. Analysis of the neuromuscular system in these mutants revealed a decrease in the synaptic vesicle protein, SV2. However, two other synaptic vesicle proteins, synaptotagmin and synaptophysin were unaffected. To address whether the SV2 decrease was due specifically to Smn in motoneurons, we tested whether expressing human SMN protein exclusively in motoneurons in smn mutants could rescue the phenotype. For this, we generated a transgenic zebrafish line with human SMN driven by the motoneuron-specific zebrafish hb9 promoter and then generated smn mutant lines carrying this transgene. We found that introducing human SMN specifically into motoneurons rescued the SV2 decrease observed in smn mutants. Our analysis indicates the requirement for Smn in motoneurons to maintain SV2 in presynaptic terminals indicating that Smn, either directly or indirectly, plays a role in presynaptic integrity.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the most common autosomal recessive cause of infant death, is typically diagnosed by determination of SMN1 copy number. Approximately 3-5% of patients with SMA retain at least one copy of the SMN1 gene carrying pathogenic insertions, deletions, or point mutations. We report a patient with SMA who is homozygous for two mutations carried in cis: an 8 bp duplication (c.48_55dupGGATTCCG; p.Val19fs*24) and a point mutation (c.662C>T; p.Pro221Leu). The consanguineous parents carry the same two mutations within one SMN1 gene copy. We demonstrate that a more accurate diagnosis of the disease is obtained through a novel diagnostic assay and development of a capillary electrophoresis method to determine the copy number of their mutant alleles. This illustrates the complexity of SMN mutations and suggests additional testing (gene sequencing) may be appropriate when based on family lines.
Project description:Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by homozygous mutations in human SMN1 Expression of a duplicate gene (SMN2) primarily results in skipping of exon 7 and production of an unstable protein isoform, SMN?7. Although SMN2 exon skipping is the principal contributor to SMA severity, mechanisms governing stability of survival motor neuron (SMN) isoforms are poorly understood. We used a Drosophila model system and label-free proteomics to identify the SCFSlmb ubiquitin E3 ligase complex as a novel SMN binding partner. SCFSlmb interacts with a phosphor degron embedded within the human and fruitfly SMN YG-box oligomerization domains. Substitution of a conserved serine (S270A) interferes with SCFSlmb binding and stabilizes SMN?7. SMA-causing missense mutations that block multimerization of full-length SMN are also stabilized in the degron mutant background. Overexpression of SMN?7S270A, but not wild-type (WT) SMN?7, provides a protective effect in SMA model mice and human motor neuron cell culture systems. Our findings support a model wherein the degron is exposed when SMN is monomeric and sequestered when SMN forms higher-order multimers.