Spt4 selectively regulates the expression of C9orf72 sense and antisense mutant transcripts

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Science  12 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6300, pp. 708-712
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf7791

Targeting three defects with one strategy

The neurodegenerative diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia are most commonly caused by a mutation in the C9orf72 gene. The mutation is an expanded hexanucleotide repeat in a noncoding region. The expanded repeat produces sense and antisense RNA transcripts, which accumulate in patient cells and appear to sequester RNA-binding proteins. The sense and antisense transcripts are also translated into dipeptide repeat proteins, which are aggregation-prone and accumulate in the brain and spinal cord. Last, loss of function from reduced expression of C9orf72 in neurons and glia could contribute to the disease. Kramer et al. targeted both sense and antisense repeats by blocking a single gene called SPT4, which mitigated degeneration in human cells by reducing all three types of pathologies.

Science, this issue p. 708

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