Maternal transcription of non-protein coding RNAs from the PWS-critical region rescues growth retardation in mice.
ABSTRACT: 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:Profound hyperphagia is a major disabling feature of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Characterization of the mechanisms that underlie PWS-associated hyperphagia has been slowed by the paucity of animal models with increased food intake or obesity. Mice with a microdeletion encompassing the Snord116 cluster of noncoding RNAs encoded within the Prader-Willi minimal deletion critical region have previously been reported to show growth retardation and hyperphagia. Here, consistent with previous reports, we observed growth retardation in Snord116+/-P mice with a congenital paternal Snord116 deletion. However, these mice neither displayed increased food intake nor had reduced hypothalamic expression of the proprotein convertase 1 gene PCSK1 or its upstream regulator NHLH2, which have recently been suggested to be key mediators of PWS pathogenesis. Specifically, we disrupted Snord116 expression in the mediobasal hypothalamus in Snord116fl mice via bilateral stereotaxic injections of a Cre-expressing adeno-associated virus (AAV). While the Cre-injected mice had no change in measured energy expenditure, they became hyperphagic between 9 and 10 weeks after injection, with a subset of animals developing marked obesity. In conclusion, we show that selective disruption of Snord116 expression in the mediobasal hypothalamus models the hyperphagia of PWS.
Project description: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:Global neurodevelopmental delay is a prominent characteristic of individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). The neuromolecular bases for these delays are unknown. We identified neuroanatomical changes in the brains of mice deficient for a gene in the minimal critical deletion region for PWS (Snord116p-/m+). In Snord116p-/m+ mice, reduced primary forebrain neuron cell body size is apparent in embryonic day 15.5 fetuses, and persists until postnatal day 30 in cerebellar Purkinje neurons. Snord116 is a snoRNA gene cluster of unknown function that can localize to the nucleolus. In cerebellar Purkinje neurons from postnatal day 30 Snord116p-/m+ mice the reduction in neuronal cell body size was associated with decreased neuronal nucleolar size. We also identified developmental changes in the endocrine pancreas of Snord116p-/m+ animals that persist into adulthood. Mice lacking Snord116 have smaller pancreatic islets; within the islet the percentage of ?-cells is increased, while the percentage of ?-cells is reduced. The ?-cell markers, Sst and Hhex, are upregulated in Snord116p-/m+ isolated islets while Ins1, Ins2, Pdx1, Nkx6-1, and Pax6 are downregulated. There is a 3-fold increase in the percentage of polyhormonal cells in the neonatal pancreata of Snord116p-/m+ mice, due primarily to an increase in cells co-positive with somatostatin. Snord116 may play a role in islet cell lineage specification. The Snord116 gene cluster is important for developmental processes in the brain as well as the endocrine pancreas.
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) is caused by the loss of RNA expression from an imprinted region on chromosome 15 that includes SNRPN, SNORD115, and SNORD116. Currently, there are no mouse models that faithfully reflect the human phenotype and investigations rely on human post-mortem material. During molecular characterization of tissue deposited in a public brain bank from a patient diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome, we found RNA expression from SNRPN, SNORD115, and SNORD116 which does not support a genetic diagnosis of Prader-Willi syndrome. The patient was a female, Caucasian nursing home resident with history of morbid obesity (BMI 56.3) and mental retardation. She died at age of 56 from pulmonary embolism. SNORD115 and SNORD116 are unexpectedly stable in post mortem tissue and can be used for post-mortem diagnosis. Molecular characterization of PWS tissue donors can confirm the diagnosis and identify those patients that have been misdiagnosed.
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: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:Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is the predominant genetic cause of obesity in humans. Recent clinical reports have suggested that micro-deletion of the Snord116 gene cluster can lead to PWS, however, the extent of the contributions of the encoded snoRNAs is unknown. Here we show that mice lacking Snord116 globally have low birth weight, increased body weight gain, energy expenditure and hyperphagia. Consistent with this, microarray analysis of hypothalamic gene expression revealed a significant alteration in feeding related pathways that was also confirmed by in situ hybridisation. Importantly, selective deletion of Snord116 only from NPY expressing neurons mimics almost exactly the global deletion phenotype including the persistent low birth weight, increased body weight gain in early adulthood, increased energy expenditure and hyperphagia. Mechanistically, the lack of Snord116 in NPY neurons leads to the upregulation of NPY mRNA consistent with the hyperphagic phenotype and suggests a critical role of Snord116 in the control of NPY neuronal functions that might be dysregulated in PWS.
Project description:Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), an imprinted neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by metabolic, sleep and neuropsychiatric features, is caused by the loss of paternal SNORD116, containing only non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). The primary SNORD116 transcript is processed into small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), which localize to nucleoli, and their spliced host gene 116HG, which is retained at its site of transcription. While functional complementation of the SNORD116 ncRNAs is a desirable goal for treating PWS, the mechanistic requirements of SNORD116 RNA processing are poorly understood. Here we developed and tested a novel transgenic mouse which ubiquitously expresses Snord116 on both a wild-type and a Snord116 paternal deletion (Snord116+/-) background. Interestingly, while the Snord116 transgene was ubiquitously expressed in multiple tissues, splicing of the transgene and production of snoRNAs was limited to brain tissues. Knockdown of Rbfox3, encoding neuron-specific splicing factor neuronal nuclei (NeuN) in Snord116+/--derived neurons, reduced splicing of the transgene in neurons. RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization for 116HG revealed a single significantly larger signal in transgenic mice, demonstrating colocalization of transgenic and endogenous 116HG RNAs. Similarly, significantly increased snoRNA levels were detected in transgenic neuronal nucleoli, indicating that transgenic Snord116 snoRNAs were effectively processed and localized. In contrast, neither transgenic 116HG nor snoRNAs were detectable in either non-neuronal tissues or Snord116+/- neurons. Together, these results demonstrate that exogenous expression and neuron-specific splicing of the Snord116 locus are insufficient to rescue the genetic deficiency of Snord116 paternal deletion. Elucidating the mechanisms regulating Snord116 processing and localization is essential to develop effective gene replacement therapies for PWS.
Project description:Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and Angelman syndrome (AS) are oppositely imprinted autism-spectrum disorders with known genetic bases, but complex epigenetic mechanisms underlie their pathogenesis. The PWS/AS locus on 15q11-q13 is regulated by an imprinting control region that is maternally methylated and silenced. The PWS imprinting control region is the promoter for a one megabase paternal transcript encoding the ubiquitous protein-coding Snrpn gene and multiple neuron-specific noncoding RNAs, including the PWS-related Snord116 repetitive locus of small nucleolar RNAs and host genes, and the antisense transcript to AS-causing ubiquitin ligase encoding Ube3a (Ube3a-ATS). Neuron-specific transcriptional progression through Ube3a-ATS correlates with paternal Ube3a silencing and chromatin decondensation. Interestingly, topoisomerase inhibitors, including topotecan, were recently identified in an unbiased drug screen for compounds that could reverse the silent paternal allele of Ube3a in neurons, but the mechanism of topotecan action on the PWS/AS locus is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that topotecan treatment stabilizes the formation of RNA:DNA hybrids (R loops) at G-skewed repeat elements within paternal Snord116, corresponding to increased chromatin decondensation and inhibition of Ube3a-ATS expression. Neural precursor cells from paternal Snord116 deletion mice exhibit increased Ube3a-ATS levels in differentiated neurons and show a reduced effect of topotecan compared with wild-type neurons. These results demonstrate that the AS candidate drug topotecan acts predominantly through stabilizing R loops and chromatin decondensation at the paternally expressed PWS Snord116 locus. Our study holds promise for targeted therapies to the Snord116 locus for both AS and PWS.