Deletion of the MBII-85 snoRNA gene cluster in mice results in postnatal growth retardation.
ABSTRACT: Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS [MIM 176270]) is a neurogenetic disorder characterized by decreased fetal activity, muscular hypotonia, failure to thrive, short stature, obesity, mental retardation, and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. It is caused by the loss of function of one or more imprinted, paternally expressed genes on the proximal long arm of chromosome 15. Several potential PWS mouse models involving the orthologous region on chromosome 7C exist. Based on the analysis of deletions in the mouse and gene expression in PWS patients with chromosomal translocations, a critical region (PWScr) for neonatal lethality, failure to thrive, and growth retardation was narrowed to the locus containing a cluster of neuronally expressed MBII-85 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) genes. Here, we report the deletion of PWScr. Mice carrying the maternally inherited allele (PWScr(m-/p+)) are indistinguishable from wild-type littermates. All those with the paternally inherited allele (PWScr(m+/p-)) consistently display postnatal growth retardation, with about 15% postnatal lethality in C57BL/6, but not FVB/N crosses. This is the first example in a multicellular organism of genetic deletion of a C/D box snoRNA gene resulting in a pronounced phenotype.
Project description:Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurogenetic disorder caused by loss of paternally expressed genes on chromosome 15q11-q13. The PWS-critical region (PWScr) contains an array of non-protein coding IPW-A exons hosting intronic SNORD116 snoRNA genes. Deletion of PWScr is associated with PWS in humans and growth retardation in mice exhibiting ~15% postnatal lethality in C57BL/6 background. Here we analysed a knock-in mouse containing a 5'HPRT-LoxP-Neo(R) cassette (5'LoxP) inserted upstream of the PWScr. When the insertion was inherited maternally in a paternal PWScr-deletion mouse model (PWScr(p-/m5'LoxP)), we observed compensation of growth retardation and postnatal lethality. Genomic methylation pattern and expression of protein-coding genes remained unaltered at the PWS-locus of PWScr(p-/m5'LoxP) mice. Interestingly, ubiquitous Snord116 and IPW-A exon transcription from the originally silent maternal chromosome was detected. In situ hybridization indicated that PWScr(p-/m5'LoxP) mice expressed Snord116 in brain areas similar to wild type animals. Our results suggest that the lack of PWScr RNA expression in certain brain areas could be a primary cause of the growth retardation phenotype in mice. We propose that activation of disease-associated genes on imprinted regions could lead to general therapeutic strategies in associated diseases.
Project description:The loss of HBII-52 and related C/D box small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) expression units have been implicated as a cause for the Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). We recently found that the C/D box snoRNA HBII-52 changes the alternative splicing of the serotonin receptor 2C pre-mRNA, which is different from the traditional C/D box snoRNA function in non-mRNA methylation. Using bioinformatic predictions and experimental verification, we identified five pre-mRNAs (DPM2, TAF1, RALGPS1, PBRM1 and CRHR1) containing alternative exons that are regulated by MBII-52, the mouse homolog of HBII-52. Analysis of a single member of the MBII-52 cluster of snoRNAs by RNase protection and northern blot analysis shows that the MBII-52 expressing unit generates shorter RNAs that originate from the full-length MBII-52 snoRNA through additional processing steps. These novel RNAs associate with hnRNPs and not with proteins associated with canonical C/D box snoRNAs. Our data indicate that not a traditional C/D box snoRNA MBII-52, but a processed version lacking the snoRNA stem is the predominant MBII-52 RNA missing in PWS. This processed snoRNA functions in alternative splice-site selection. Its substitution could be a therapeutic principle for PWS.
Project description:Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is the leading genetic cause of obesity. After initial severe hypotonia, PWS children become hyperphagic and morbidly obese, if intake is not restricted. Short stature with abnormal growth hormone secretion, hypogonadism, cognitive impairment, anxiety and behavior problems are other features. PWS is caused by lack of expression of imprinted genes in a approximately 4 mb region of chromosome band 15q11.2. Our previous translocation studies predicted a major role for the C/D box small nucleolar RNA cluster SNORD116 (PWCR1/HBII-85) in PWS. To test this hypothesis, we created a approximately 150 kb deletion of the > 40 copies of Snord116 (Pwcr1/MBII-85) in C57BL/6 mice. Snord116del mice with paternally derived deletion lack expression of this snoRNA. They have early-onset postnatal growth deficiency, but normal fertility and lifespan. While pituitary structure and somatotrophs are normal, liver Igf1 mRNA is decreased. In cognitive and behavior tests, Snord116del mice are deficient in motor learning and have increased anxiety. Around three months of age, they develop hyperphagia, but stay lean on regular and high-fat diet. On reduced caloric intake, Snord116del mice maintain their weight better than wild-type littermates, excluding increased energy requirement as a cause of hyperphagia. Normal compensatory feeding after fasting, and ability to maintain body temperature in the cold indicate normal energy homeostasis regulation. Metabolic chamber studies reveal that Snord116del mice maintain energy homeostasis by altered fuel usage. Prolonged mealtime and increased circulating ghrelin indicate a defect in meal termination mechanism. Snord116del mice, the first snoRNA deletion animal model, reveal a novel role for a non-coding RNA in growth and feeding regulation.
Project description:The Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) genetic interval contains several brain-expressed small nucleolar (sno)RNA species that are subject to genomic imprinting. In vitro studies have shown that one of these snoRNA molecules, h/mbii-52, negatively regulates editing and alternative splicing of the serotonin 2C receptor (5htr2c) pre-RNA. However, the functional consequences of loss of h/mbii-52 and subsequent increased post-transcriptional modification of 5htr2c are unknown. 5HT2CRs are important in controlling aspects of cognition and the cessation of feeding, and disruption of their function may underlie some of the psychiatric and feeding abnormalities seen in PWS. In a mouse model for PWS lacking expression of mbii-52 (PWS-IC+/-), we show an increase in editing, but not alternative splicing, of the 5htr2c pre-RNA. This change in post-transcriptional modification is associated with alterations in a number of 5HT2CR-related behaviours, including impulsive responding, locomotor activity and reactivity to palatable foodstuffs. In a non-5HT2CR-related behaviour, marble burying, loss of mbii-52 was without effect. The specificity of the behavioural effects to changes in 5HT2CR function was further confirmed using drug challenges. These data illustrate, for the first time, the physiological consequences of altered RNA editing of 5htr2c linked to mbii-52 loss that may underlie specific aspects of the complex PWS phenotype and point to an important functional role for this imprinted snoRNA.
Project description:We have identified three C/D-box small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) and one H/ACA-box snoRNA in mouse and human. In mice, all four snoRNAs (MBII-13, MBII-52, MBII-85, and MBI-36) are exclusively expressed in the brain, unlike all other known snoRNAs. Two of the human RNA orthologues (HBII-52 and HBI-36) share this expression pattern, and the remainder, HBII-13 and HBII-85, are prevalently expressed in that tissue. In mice and humans, the brain-specific H/ACA box snoRNA (MBI-36 and HBI-36, respectively) is intron-encoded in the brain-specific serotonin 2C receptor gene. The three human C/D box snoRNAs map to chromosome 15q11-q13, within a region implicated in the Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), which is a neurogenetic disease resulting from a deficiency of paternal gene expression. Unlike other C/D box snoRNAs, two snoRNAs, HBII-52 and HBII-85, are encoded in a tandemly repeated array of 47 or 24 units, respectively. In mouse the homologue of HBII-52 is processed from intronic portions of the tandem repeats. Interestingly, these snoRNAs were absent from the cortex of a patient with PWS and from a PWS mouse model, demonstrating their paternal imprinting status and pointing to their potential role in the etiology of PWS. Despite displaying hallmarks of the two families of ubiquitous snoRNAs that guide 2'-O-ribose methylation and pseudouridylation of rRNA, respectively, they lack any telltale rRNA complementarity. Instead, brain-specific C/D box snoRNA HBII-52 has an 18-nt phylogenetically conserved complementarity to a critical segment of serotonin 2C receptor mRNA, pointing to a potential role in the processing of this mRNA.
Project description:Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurobehavioral disorder manifested by infantile hypotonia and feeding difficulties in infancy, followed by morbid obesity secondary to hyperphagia. It is caused by deficiency of paternally expressed transcript(s) within the human chromosome region 15q11.2. PWS patients harboring balanced chromosomal translocations with breakpoints within small nuclear ribonucleoprotein polypeptide N (SNRPN) have provided indirect evidence for a role for the imprinted C/D box containing small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) genes encoded downstream of SNRPN. In addition, recently published data provide strong evidence in support of a role for the snoRNA SNORD116 cluster (HBII-85) in PWS etiology. In this study, we performed detailed phenotypic, cytogenetic, and molecular analyses including chromosome analysis, array comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH), expression studies, and single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping for parent-of-origin determination of the 15q11.2 microdeletion on an 11-year-old child expressing the major components of the PWS phenotype. This child had an ?236.29?kb microdeletion at 15q11.2 within the larger Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome critical region that included the SNORD116 cluster of snoRNAs. Analysis of SNP genotypes in proband and mother provided evidence in support of the deletion being on the paternal chromosome 15. This child also met most of the major PWS diagnostic criteria including infantile hypotonia, early-onset morbid obesity, and hypogonadism. Identification and characterization of this case provide unequivocal evidence for a critical role for the SNORD116 snoRNA molecules in PWS pathogenesis. Array CGH testing for genomic copy-number changes in cases with complex phenotypes is proving to be invaluable in detecting novel alterations and enabling better genotype-phenotype correlations.
Project description:Genomic imprinting is a phenomenon that some genes are expressed differentially according to the parent of origin. Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and Angelman syndrome (AS) are neurobehavioral disorders caused by deficiency of imprinted gene expression from paternal and maternal chromosome 15q11-q13, respectively. Imprinted genes at the PWS/AS domain are regulated through a bipartite imprinting center, the PWS-IC and AS-IC. The PWS-IC activates paternal-specific gene expression and is responsible for the paternal imprint, whereas the AS-IC functions in the maternal imprint by allele-specific repression of the PWS-IC to prevent the paternal imprinting program. Although mouse chromosome 7C has a conserved PWS/AS imprinted domain, the mouse equivalent of the human AS-IC element has not yet been identified. Here, we suggest another dimension that the PWS-IC also functions in maternal imprinting by negatively regulating the paternally expressed imprinted genes in mice, in contrast to its known function as a positive regulator for paternal-specific gene expression. Using a mouse model carrying a 4.8-kb deletion at the PWS-IC, we demonstrated that maternal transmission of the PWS-IC deletion resulted in a maternal imprinting defect with activation of the paternally expressed imprinted genes and decreased expression of the maternally expressed imprinted gene on the maternal chromosome, accompanied by alteration of the maternal epigenotype toward a paternal state spread over the PWS/AS domain. The functional significance of this acquired paternal pattern of gene expression was demonstrated by the ability to complement PWS phenotypes by maternal inheritance of the PWS-IC deletion, which is in stark contrast to paternal inheritance of the PWS-IC deletion that resulted in the PWS phenotypes. Importantly, low levels of expression of the paternally expressed imprinted genes are sufficient to rescue postnatal lethality and growth retardation in two PWS mouse models. These findings open the opportunity for a novel approach to the treatment of PWS.
Project description:Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a complex and multisystem neurobehavioral disorder. The molecular mechanism of PWS is deficiency of paternally expressed gene gene or genes from the chromosome 15q11-q13. Due to imprinted gene regulation, the same genes in the maternal chromosome 15q11-q13 are structurally intact but transcriptionally repressed by an epigenetic mechanism. The unique molecular defect underlying PWS renders an exciting opportunity to explore epigenetic-based therapy to reactivate the expression of repressed PWS genes from the maternal chromosome. Inactivation of H3K9m3 methyltransferase SETDB1 and zinc finger protein ZNF274 results in reactivation of SNRPN and SNORD116 cluster from the maternal chromosomes in PWS patient iPSCs and iPSC-derived neurons, respectively. High content screening of small molecule libraries using cells derived from transgenic mice carrying the SNRPN-EGFP fusion protein has discovered that inhibitors of EHMT2/G9a, a histone 3 lysine 9 methyltransferase, are capable of reactivating expression of paternally expressed SNRPN and SNORD116 from the maternal chromosome, both in cultured PWS patient-derived fibroblasts and in a PWS mouse model. Treatment with an EMHT2/G9a inhibitor also rescues perinatal lethality and failure to thrive phenotypes in a PWS mouse model. These findings present the first evidence to support a proof-of-principle for epigenetic-based therapy for the PWS in humans.
Project description:Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and Angelman syndrome (AS) are two neurodevelopmental disorders most often caused by deletions of the same region of paternally inherited and maternally inherited human chromosome 15q, respectively. AS is a single gene disorder, caused by the loss of function of the ubiquitin ligase E3A (UBE3A) gene, while PWS is still considered a contiguous gene disorder. Rare individuals with PWS who carry atypical microdeletions on chromosome 15q have narrowed the critical region for this disorder to a 108 kb region that includes the SNORD116 snoRNA cluster and the Imprinted in Prader-Willi (IPW) non-coding RNA. Here we report the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from a PWS patient with an atypical microdeletion that spans the PWS critical region. We show that these iPSCs express brain-specific portions of the transcripts driven by the PWS imprinting center, including the UBE3A antisense transcript (UBE3A-ATS). Furthermore, UBE3A expression is imprinted in most of these iPSCs. These data suggest that UBE3A imprinting in neurons only requires UBE3A-ATS expression, and no other neuron-specific factors. These data also suggest that a boundary element lying within the PWS critical region prevents UBE3A-ATS expression in non-neural tissues.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The human Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) domain and its mouse orthologue include a cluster of paternally expressed genes which imprinted expression is co-ordinately regulated by an imprinting center (IC) closely associated to the Snurf-Snrpn gene. Besides their co-regulated imprinted expression, two observations suggest that the spatio-temporal expression of these genes could also be co-regulated. First, the PWS genes have all been reported to be expressed in the mouse nervous system. Second, Snurf-Snrpn and its associated IC are the most ancient elements of the domain which later acquired additional functional genes by retrotransposition. Although located at least 1.5 megabases from the IC, these retroposons acquired the same imprinted regulation as Snurf-Snrpn. In this study, we ask whether the IC, in addition to its function in imprinting, could also be involved in the spatio-temporal regulation of genes in the PWS domain. RESULTS: We compared the expression pattern of Snurf-Snrpn and C/D-box small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) MBII-85 and MBII-52 to the expression pattern of the two evolutionary related retroposons Ndn and Magel2, in the developing mouse embryo. We show that these genes have highly similar expression patterns in the central nervous system, suggesting that they share a common central nervous system-specific regulatory element. Among these genes, Ndn and Magel2 display the most similar expression patterns. Using transgenic mice containing the Ndn and Magel2 genes, we show that the transgenic Ndn gene whereas not imprinted is correctly expressed. Search for DNase I hypersensitive sites in the Ndn-Magel2 genomic region and comparative genomic analyses were performed in order to identify potential transcriptional cis-regulatory elements. CONCLUSIONS: These results strongly suggest that paternally expressed genes of the PWS domain share a common central nervous system-specific regulatory element. We proposed that this regulatory element could co-localize with the IC. However, we demonstrate that the IC, if required for imprinted regulation, is not involved in the spatio-temporal regulation of distantly located retrotransposed genes such as the Ndn gene in the PWS domain.