Mutations in UPF3B, a member of the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay complex, cause syndromic and nonsyndromic mental retardation.
ABSTRACT: Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is of universal biological significance. It has emerged as an important global RNA, DNA and translation regulatory pathway. By systematically sequencing 737 genes (annotated in the Vertebrate Genome Annotation database) on the human X chromosome in 250 families with X-linked mental retardation, we identified mutations in the UPF3 regulator of nonsense transcripts homolog B (yeast) (UPF3B) leading to protein truncations in three families: two with the Lujan-Fryns phenotype and one with the FG phenotype. We also identified a missense mutation in another family with nonsyndromic mental retardation. Three mutations lead to the introduction of a premature termination codon and subsequent NMD of mutant UPF3B mRNA. Protein blot analysis using lymphoblastoid cell lines from affected individuals showed an absence of the UPF3B protein in two families. The UPF3B protein is an important component of the NMD surveillance machinery. Our results directly implicate abnormalities of NMD in human disease and suggest at least partial redundancy of NMD pathways.
Project description:Mutation in the UPF3B gene on chromosome X is implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders including X-linked intellectual disability, autism and schizophrenia. The protein UPF3B is involved in the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay pathway (NMD) that controls mRNA stability and functions in the prevention of the synthesis of truncated proteins.Here we show that NMD pathway components UPF3B and UPF1 are down-regulated during differentiation of neural stem cells into neurons. Using tethered function assays we found that UPF3B missense mutations described in families with neurodevelopmental disorders reduced the activity of UPF3B protein in NMD. In neural stem cells, UPF3B protein was detected in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus. Similarly in neurons, UPF3B protein was detected in neurites, the somatic cytoplasm and in the nucleus. In both cell types nuclear UPF3B protein was enriched in the nucleolus. Using GFP tagged UPF3B proteins we found that the missense mutations did not affect the cellular localisation. Expression of missense mutant UPF3B disturbed neuronal differentiation and reduced the complexity of the branching of neurites. Neuronal differentiation was similarly affected in the presence of the NMD inhibitor Amlexanox. The expression of mutant UPF3B proteins lead to a subtle increase in mRNA levels of selected NMD targets.Together our findings indicate that, despite the down-regulation of NMD factors, functional NMD is critical for neuronal differentiation. We propose that the neurodevelopmental phenotype of UPF3B missense mutation is caused by impairment of NMD function altering neuronal differentiation.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a cellular surveillance pathway that recognizes and degrades mRNAs with premature termination codons (PTCs). The mechanisms underlying translation termination are key to the understanding of RNA surveillance mechanisms such as NMD and crucial for the development of therapeutic strategies for NMD-related diseases. Here, we have used a fully reconstituted in vitro translation system to probe the NMD proteins for interaction with the termination apparatus. We discovered that UPF3B (i) interacts with the release factors, (ii) delays translation termination and (iii) dissociates post-termination ribosomal complexes that are devoid of the nascent peptide. Furthermore, we identified UPF1 and ribosomes as new interaction partners of UPF3B. These previously unknown functions of UPF3B during the early and late phases of translation termination suggest that UPF3B is involved in the crosstalk between the NMD machinery and the PTC-bound ribosome, a central mechanistic step of RNA surveillance.
Project description:The UPF3B-dependent branch of the nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD) pathway is critical for human cognition. Here, we examined the role of UPF3B in the olfactory system. Single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) analysis demonstrated considerable heterogeneity of olfactory sensory neuron (OSN) cell populations in wild-type (WT) mice, and revealed that UPF3B loss influences specific subsets of these cell populations. UPF3B also regulates the expression of a large cadre of antimicrobial genes in OSNs, and promotes the selection of specific olfactory receptor (Olfr) genes for expression in mature OSNs (mOSNs). RNA-seq and Ribotag analyses identified classes of mRNAs expressed and translated at different levels in WT and Upf3b-null mOSNs. Integrating multiple computational approaches, UPF3B-dependent NMD target transcripts that are candidates to mediate the functions of NMD in mOSNs were identified in vivo. Together, our data provides a valuable resource for the olfactory field and insights into the roles of NMD in vivo.
Project description:About 11% of all human genetic diseases are caused by nonsense mutations that generate premature translation termination codons (PTCs) in messenger RNAs (mRNA). PTCs not only lead to the production of truncated proteins, but also often result in decreased mRNA abundance due to nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). Although pharmacological inhibition of NMD could be an attractive therapeutic approach for the treatment of diseases caused by nonsense mutations, NMD also regulates the expression of 10-20% of the normal transcriptome.Here, we investigate whether NMD can be inhibited to stabilize mutant mRNAs, which may subsequently produce functional proteins, without having a major impact on the normal transcriptome. We develop antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) to systematically deplete each component in the NMD pathway. We find that ASO-mediated depletion of each NMD factor elicits different magnitudes of NMD inhibition in vitro and are differentially tolerated in normal mice. Among all of the NMD factors, Upf3b depletion is well tolerated, consistent with previous reports that UPF3B is not essential for development and regulates only a subset of the endogenous NMD substrates. While minimally impacting the normal transcriptome, Upf3b-ASO treatment significantly stabilizes the PTC-containing dystrophin mRNA in mdx mice and coagulation factor IX mRNA in a hemophilia mouse model. Furthermore, when combined with reagents promoting translational read-through, Upf3b-ASO treatment leads to the production of functional factor IX protein in hemophilia mice.These data demonstrate that ASO-mediated reduction of the NMD factor Upf3b could be an effective and safe approach for the treatment of diseases caused by nonsense mutations.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD) is a highly conserved and selective RNA degradation pathway that acts on RNAs terminating their reading frames in specific contexts. NMD is regulated in a tissue-specific and developmentally controlled manner, raising the possibility that it influences developmental events. Indeed, loss or depletion of NMD factors have been shown to disrupt developmental events in organisms spanning the phylogenetic scale. In humans, mutations in the NMD factor gene, UPF3B, cause intellectual disability (ID) and are strongly associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia (SCZ). Here, we report the generation and characterization of mice harboring a null Upf3b allele. These Upf3b-null mice exhibit deficits in fear-conditioned learning, but not spatial learning. Upf3b-null mice also have a profound defect in prepulse inhibition (PPI), a measure of sensorimotor gating commonly deficient in individuals with SCZ and other brain disorders. Consistent with both their PPI and learning defects, cortical pyramidal neurons from Upf3b-null mice display deficient dendritic spine maturation in vivo. In addition, neural stem cells from Upf3b-null mice have impaired ability to undergo differentiation and require prolonged culture to give rise to functional neurons with electrical activity. RNA sequencing (RNAseq) analysis of the frontal cortex identified UPF3B-regulated RNAs, including direct NMD target transcripts encoding proteins with known functions in neural differentiation, maturation and disease. We suggest Upf3b-null mice serve as a novel model system to decipher cellular and molecular defects underlying ID and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is an mRNA degradation pathway that regulates gene expression and mRNA quality. A complex network of macromolecular interactions regulates NMD initiation, which is only partially understood. According to prevailing models, NMD begins by the assembly of the SURF (SMG1-UPF1-eRF1-eRF3) complex at the ribosome, followed by UPF1 activation by additional factors such as UPF2 and UPF3. Elucidating the interactions between NMD factors is essential to comprehend NMD, and here we demonstrate biochemically and structurally the interaction between human UPF2 and eukaryotic release factor 3 (eRF3). In addition, we find that UPF2 associates with SURF and ribosomes in cells, in an UPF3-independent manner. Binding assays using a collection of UPF2 truncated variants reveal that eRF3 binds to the C-terminal part of UPF2. This region of UPF2 is partially coincident with the UPF3-binding site as revealed by electron microscopy of the UPF2-eRF3 complex. Accordingly, we find that the interaction of UPF2 with UPF3b interferes with the assembly of the UPF2-eRF3 complex, and that UPF2 binds UPF3b more strongly than eRF3. Together, our results highlight the role of UPF2 as a platform for the transient interactions of several NMD factors, including several components of SURF.
Project description:The nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway was originally discovered by virtue of its ability to rapidly degrade aberrant mRNAs with premature termination codons. More recently, it was shown that NMD also directly regulates subsets of normal transcripts, suggesting that NMD has roles in normal biological processes. Indeed, several NMD factors have been shown to regulate neurological events (for example, neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity) in numerous vertebrate species. In man, mutations in the NMD factor gene UPF3B, which disrupts a branch of the NMD pathway, cause various forms of intellectual disability (ID). Using Epstein Barr virus-immortalized B cells, also known as lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs), from ID patients that have loss-of-function mutations in UPF3B, we investigated the genome-wide consequences of compromised NMD and the role of NMD in neuronal development and function. We found that ~5% of the human transcriptome is impacted in UPF3B patients. The UPF3B paralog, UPF3A, is stabilized in all UPF3B patients, and partially compensates for the loss of UPF3B function. Interestingly, UPF3A protein, but not mRNA, was stabilised in a quantitative manner that inversely correlated with the severity of patients' phenotype. This suggested that the ability to stabilize the UPF3A protein is a crucial modifier of the neurological symptoms due to loss of UPF3B. We also identified ARHGAP24, which encodes a GTPase-activating protein, as a canonical target of NMD, and we provide evidence that deregulation of this gene inhibits axon and dendrite outgrowth and branching. Our results demonstrate that the UPF3B-dependent NMD pathway is a major regulator of the transcriptome and that its targets have important roles in neuronal cells.
Project description:Nonsense-mediated RNA decay (NMD) is a highly conserved and selective RNA turnover pathway that has been subject to intense scrutiny. NMD identifies and degrades subsets of normal RNAs, as well as abnormal mRNAs containing premature termination codons. A core factor in this pathway-UPF3B-is an adaptor protein that serves as an NMD amplifier and an NMD branch-specific factor. UPF3B is encoded by an X-linked gene that when mutated causes intellectual disability and is associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, including schizophrenia and autism. Neu-Yilik et al. now report a new function for UPF3B: it modulates translation termination. Using a fully reconstituted in vitro translation system, they find that UPF3B has two roles in translation termination. First, UPF3B delays translation termination under conditions that mimic premature translation termination. This could drive more efficient RNA decay by allowing more time for the formation of RNA decay-stimulating complexes. Second, UPF3B promotes the dissociation of post-termination ribosomal complexes that lack nascent peptide. This implies that UPF3B could promote ribosome recycling. Importantly, the authors found that UPF3B directly interacts with both RNA and the factors that recognize stop codons-eukaryotic release factors (eRFs)-suggesting that UPF3B serves as a direct regulator of translation termination. In contrast, a NMD factor previously thought to have a central regulatory role in translation termination-the RNA helicase UPF1-was found to indirectly interact with eRFs and appears to act exclusively in post-translation termination events, such as RNA decay, at least in vitro. The finding that an RNA decay-promoting factor, UFP3B, modulates translation termination has many implications. For example, the ability of UPF3B to influence the development and function of the central nervous system may be not only through its ability to degrade specific RNAs but also through its impact on translation termination and subsequent events, such as ribosome recycling.
Project description:X-linked intellectual disability (XLID) is known to explain up to 10% of the intellectual disability in males. A large number of families in which intellectual disability is the only clinically consistent manifestation have been described. While linkage analysis and candidate gene testing were the initial approaches to find genes and variants, next generation sequencing (NGS) has accelerated the discovery of more and more XLID genes. Using NGS, we resolved the genetic cause of MRX82 (OMIM number 300518), a large Spanish Basque family with five affected males with intellectual disability and a wide phenotypic variability among them despite having the same pathogenic variant. Although the previous linkage study had mapped the locus to an interval of 7.6Mb in Xq24-Xq25 of the X chromosome, this region contained too many candidate genes to be analysed using conventional approaches. NGS revealed a novel nonsense variant: c.118C > T; p.Gln40* in UPF3B, a gene previously implicated in XLID that encodes a protein involved in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). Further molecular studies showed that the mRNA transcript was not completely degraded by NMD. However, UPF3B protein was not detected by conventional Western Blot analysis at least downstream of the 40 residue demonstrating that the phenotype could be due to the loss of functional protein. This is the first report of a premature termination codon before the three functional domains of the UPF3B protein and these results directly implicate the absence of these domains with XLID, autism and some dysmorphic features.
Project description:In mammals, Up-frameshift proteins (UPFs) form a surveillance complex that interacts with the exon junction complex (EJC) to elicit nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). UPF3b is the component of the surveillance complex that bridges the interaction with the EJC. Here, we report the 3.4 A resolution crystal structure of a minimal UPF3b-EJC assembly, consisting of the interacting domains of five proteins (UPF3b, MAGO, Y14, eIF4AIII, and Barentsz) together with RNA and adenylyl-imidodiphosphate. Human UPF3b binds with the C-terminal domain stretched over a composite surface formed by eIF4AIII, MAGO, and Y14. Residues that affect NMD when mutated are found at the core interacting surfaces, whereas differences between UPF3b and UPF3a map at peripheral interacting residues. Comparison with the binding mode of the protein PYM underscores how a common molecular surface of MAGO and Y14 recognizes different proteins acting at different times in the same pathway. The binding mode to eIF4AIII identifies a surface hot spot that is used by different DEAD-box proteins to recruit their regulators.