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Tissue-specific splicing of ISCU results in a skeletal muscle phenotype in myopathy with lactic acidosis, while complete loss of ISCU results in early embryonic death in mice
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biosciences, Medical and Clinical Genetics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biosciences, Medical and Clinical Genetics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB), Anatomy.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biosciences, Medical and Clinical Genetics.
2011 (English)In: Human Genetics, ISSN 0340-6717, E-ISSN 1432-1203, Vol. 129, no 4, 371-378 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hereditary myopathy with lactic acidosis (HML) is caused by an intron mutation in the iron-sulphur cluster assembly gene (ISCU) leading to incorporation of intron sequence into the mRNA. This results in a deficiency of Fe-S cluster proteins, affecting the TCA cycle and the respiratory chain. The proteins involved in the Fe-S machinery are evolutionary conserved and shown to be fundamental in all organisms examined. ISCU is expressed at high levels in numerous tissues in mammals, including high metabolic tissues like the heart, suggesting that a drastic mutation in the ISCU gene would be damaging to all energy-demanding organs. In spite of this, the symptoms in patients with HML are restricted to skeletal muscle, and it has been proposed that splicing events may contribute to the muscle specificity. In this study we confirm that a striking difference in the splicing pattern of mutant ISCU exists between different tissues. The highest level of incorrectly spliced ISCU mRNA was found in skeletal muscle, while the normal splice form predominated in patient heart. The splicing differences were also reflected at a functional level, where loss of Fe-S cluster carrying enzymes and accumulation of iron were present in muscle, but absent in other tissues. We also show that complete loss of ISCU in mice results in early embryonic death. The mice data confirm a fundamental role for ISCU in mammals and further support tissue-specific splicing as the major mechanism limiting the phenotype to skeletal muscle in HML.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 129, no 4, 371-378 p.
Keyword [en]
iron-sulfur proteins; succinate-dehydrogenase; paroxysmal myoglobinuria; deficiency; exercise; clusters; mutation; mitochondria; metabolism; maturation
National Category
Medical Genetics
Research subject
Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-40798DOI: 10.1007/s00439-010-0931-3ISI: 000289275200002PubMedID: 21165651OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-40798DiVA: diva2:402780
Available from: 2011-03-09 Created: 2011-03-09 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Genetic and functional studies of hereditary myopathy with lactic acidosis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Genetic and functional studies of hereditary myopathy with lactic acidosis
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Genetiska och funktionella studier av hereditär myopati med laktacidos
Abstract [en]

Hereditary myopathy with lactic acidosis (HML, OMIM#255125) is an autosomal recessive disorder which originates from Västerbotten and Ångermanland in the Northern part of Sweden. HML is characterized by severe exercise intolerance which manifests with tachycardia, dyspnea, muscle pain, cramps, elevated lactate and pyruvate levels, weakness and myoglobinuria. The symptoms arise from malfunction of the energy metabolism in skeletal muscles with defects in several important enzymes involved in the TCA cycle and the electron transport chain. All affected proteins contain iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters, which led to the suggestion that the disease was caused by malfunctions in either the transportation, assembly or processing of Fe-S clusters.

The aim of my thesis was to identify the disease causing gene of HML and to investigate the underlying disease-mechanisms. In paper I we identified a disease-critical region on chromosome 12; a region containing 16 genes. One of the genes coded for the Fe-S cluster assembly protein ISCU and an intronic base pair substitution (g.7044G>C) was identified in the last intron of this gene. The mutation gave rise to the insertion of intron sequence into the mRNA, leading to a protein containing 15 abberant amino acids and a premature stop. In paper II we investigated why a mutation in an evolutionary well conserved protein with a very important cellular role, which in addition is expressed in almost all tissues, gives rise to a muscle-restricted phenotype. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that the mutant transcript constituted almost 80% of total ISCU mRNA in muscle, while in both heart and liver the normal splice form was dominant. We could also show that, in mice, complete absence of Iscu protein was coupled with early embryonic death, further emphasizing the importance of the protein in all tissues. These data strongly suggested that tissue-specific splicing was the main mechanism responsible for the muscle-specific phenotype of HML. In paper III the splicing mechanisms that give rise to the mutant ISCU transcript was further investigated. We identified three proteins; PTBP1, IGF2BP1 and RBM39, that could bind to the region containing the mutation and could affect the splicing pattern of ISCU in an in vitro system. PTBP1 repressed the inclusion of the intronic sequence, while IGF2BP1 and RBM39 repressed the total ISCU mRNA level though the effect was more pronounced for the normal transcript. Moreover, IGF2BP1 and RBM39 were also able to reverse the effect of PTBP1. IGF2BP1, though not a splicing factor, had higher affinity for the mutant sequence. This suggested that the mutation enables IGF2BP1 binding, thereby preventing the PTBP1 induced repression seen in the normal case.

In conclusion, we have determined the genetic cause of HML, identifying a base pair substitution in the last intron of the ISCU gene that gives rise to abnormally spliced transcript. The muscle-specific phenotype was also analyzed and tissue-specific splicing was identified as the main disease-mechanism. Furthermore, nuclear factors with ability to affect the splicing pattern of the mutant ISCU gene were identified. This work has thoroughly investigated the fundamental disease mechanisms, thus providing deeper understanding for this hereditary myopathy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2011. 39 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1454
Keyword
Hereditary myopathy with lactic acidosis, ISCU, intron mutation, mouse model, tissue-specific splicing
National Category
Medical Genetics
Research subject
Medical Genetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-50592 (URN)978-91-7459-308-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-01-27, Sal B, By 1D 9 tr, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-01-05 Created: 2011-12-14 Last updated: 2012-01-05Bibliographically approved
2. The use of monogenic disease to study basal and disease associated mechanisms with focus on NGF dependent pain insensitivity and ISCU myopathy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The use of monogenic disease to study basal and disease associated mechanisms with focus on NGF dependent pain insensitivity and ISCU myopathy
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Monogenic diseases make excellent models for the study of gene functions and basal cellular mechanisms in humans. The aim of this thesis was to elucidate how genetic mutations affect the basal cellular mechanisms in the monogenic diseases Nerve growth factor (NGF) dependent pain insensitivity and Iron-Sulphur cluster assembly protein U (ISCU) myopathy.

NGF dependent pain insensitivity is a rare genetic disorder with clinical manifestations that include insensitivity to deep pain, development of Charcot joints, and impaired temperature sensation but with no effect on mental abilities. The disease is caused by a missense mutation in the NGFβ gene causing a drastic amino acid substitution (R221W) in a well-conserved region of the protein. NGF is secreted in limited amounts by its target tissues and is important for the development and maintenance of the cholinergic forebrain neurons as well as the sensory and sympathetic neurons. To reveal the underlying mechanisms of disease we performed functional studies of the mutant NGF protein. We could show that mutant NGF was unable to induce differentiation of PC12 cells as a consequence of impaired secretion. Furthermore, mutant NGF had different intracellular localisation compared to normal NGF and resided mostly in its unprocessed form proNGF. Mature NGF and proNGF have different binding properties to the receptors TrkA and p75. Individuals with mutations in TRKA are, aside from pain insensitive mentally affected; therefore it has been proposed that the R221W mutation mainly affects the interaction with p75. In agreement with this, we could show that R221W NGF was able to bind and activate TrkA whereas the interaction with p75 was impaired as compared to normal NGF.

ISCU myopathy is a monogenic disease where the affected patients suffer from severe exercise intolerance resulting in muscle cramps and sometimes severe lactic acidosis. The disease is caused by a point mutation in the last intron of the Iron sulphur cluster assembly gene, ISCU, resulting in the inclusion of a part of the intron in the mRNA. ISCU functions as a scaffold protein in the assembly of iron-sulphur (Fe-S) clusters important for electron transport in Kreb’s cycle and the respiratory chain. We have shown that ISCU is vital in mammals since complete knock-down of Iscu in mice results in early embryonic death. The deletion of ISCU homologous in lower organisms has also been shown fatal. In spite this central role in energy metabolism the disease is restricted to the patient’s skeletal muscles while other energy demanding organs seem unaffected. To address this contradiction we examined if tissue-specific differences in the splicing of mutant ISCU could explain the muscle-specific phenotype. We could show that the splicing pattern did, indeed, differ with more incorrectly spliced ISCU in muscle compared to other tissues. This was accompanied by a decrease in Fe-S containing proteins in muscle, while no decrease was observed in other tissues. Alternative splicing is more common then previously thought and may depend upon interacting factors and/or differences in the surrounding milieu. To reveal plausible mechanisms involved in the tissue-specific splicing we identified nuclear factors that interacted with the region where the mutation was located. Five interacting factors were identified, out of which three affected the splicing of ISCU. PTBP1 was shown to repress the incorrect splicing while IGF2BP1 and RBM39 repressed the formation of normal transcript and could also counteract the effect of PTBP1. IGF2BP1 was the only factor that showed higher affinity to the mutant sequence making it a possible key factor in the incorrect splicing of the mutant ISCU gene.

Together, these results offer important insights into the cellular mechanisms causing these diseases. We found impaired secretion and inaccurate sorting of NGF to be cellular mechanisms contributing to NGF dependent pain insensitivity while tissue-specific splicing of ISCU was found to be the event contributing to the phenotype of ISCU myopathy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umea university, Department of Medical Biosciences, 2012. 46 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1463
Keyword
monogenic, disease, NGF, receptor, pain insensitivity, ISCU, myopathy, splicing
National Category
Other Basic Medicine
Research subject
Molecular Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-51140 (URN)978-91-7459-326-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-02-10, Betula, By 6M, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-01-20 Created: 2012-01-11 Last updated: 2012-01-20Bibliographically approved

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Nordin, AngelicaLarsson, ElinThornell, Lars-EricHolmberg, Monica

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