Spinal muscular atrophy: The role of SMN in axonal mRNA regulation

Claudia Fallini, Gary J. Bassell, Wilfried Rossol

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

114 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by homozygous mutations or deletions in the survival of motor neuron (SMN1) gene, encoding the ubiquitously expressed SMN protein. SMN associates with different proteins (Gemins 2-8, Unrip) to form a multimeric complex involved in the assembly of small nuclear ribonucleoprotein complexes (snRNPs). Since this activity is essential for the survival of all cell types, it still remains unclear why motor neurons are selectively vulnerable to low levels of SMN protein. Aside from its housekeeping role in the assembly of snRNPs, additional functions of SMN have been proposed. The well-documented localization of SMN in axonal transport granules and its interaction with numerous mRNA-binding proteins not involved in splicing regulation suggest a role in axonal RNA metabolism. This review will focus on the neuropathological and experimental evidence supporting a role for SMN in regulating the assembly, localization, or stability of axonal messenger ribonucleoprotein complexes (mRNPs). Furthermore, how defects in this non-canonical SMN function may contribute to the motor neuron pathology observed in SMA will be discussed. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled RNA-Binding Proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-92
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Volume1462
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 26 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Spinal Muscular Atrophy
SMN Complex Proteins
Motor Neurons
Small Nuclear Ribonucleoproteins
Messenger RNA
Housekeeping
Axonal Transport
RNA-Binding Proteins
Sequence Deletion
Neurodegenerative Diseases
Cell Survival
Carrier Proteins
Proteins
RNA
Pathology
Genes

Keywords

  • Axonal outgrowth
  • Axonal transport
  • Local translation
  • Motoneuron disease
  • Motor neuron disease
  • RNA transport
  • SMA
  • SMN
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Survival motor neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

Spinal muscular atrophy : The role of SMN in axonal mRNA regulation. / Fallini, Claudia; Bassell, Gary J.; Rossol, Wilfried.

In: Brain Research, Vol. 1462, 26.06.2012, p. 81-92.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Fallini, Claudia ; Bassell, Gary J. ; Rossol, Wilfried. / Spinal muscular atrophy : The role of SMN in axonal mRNA regulation. In: Brain Research. 2012 ; Vol. 1462. pp. 81-92.
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