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What causes the tissue-specific pathology of diseases resulting from mutations in housekeeping genes? Specifically, in spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7), a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a CAG-repeat expansion in ATXN7 (which encodes an essential component of the mammalian transcription coactivation complex, STAGA), the factors underlying the characteristic progressive cerebellar and retinal degeneration in patients were unknown. We found that STAGA is required for the transcription initiation of miR-124, which in turn mediates the post-transcriptional cross-talk between lnc-SCA7, a conserved long noncoding RNA, and ATXN7 mRNA. In SCA7, mutations in ATXN7 disrupt these regulatory interactions and result in a neuron-specific increase in ATXN7 expression. Strikingly, in mice this increase is most prominent in the SCA7 disease-relevant tissues, namely the retina and cerebellum. Our results illustrate how noncoding RNA-mediated feedback regulation of a ubiquitously expressed housekeeping gene may contribute to specific neurodegeneration.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/nsmb.2902

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nat Struct Mol Biol

Publication Date

11/2014

Volume

21

Pages

955 - 961

Keywords

Animals, Ataxin-7, Cell Line, Tumor, Cerebellum, Feedback, Physiological, Female, Fibroblasts, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Male, Mice, MicroRNAs, Mutation, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Neurons, RNA, Long Noncoding, RNA, Messenger, Retina, Signal Transduction, Spinocerebellar Ataxias, Transcription Initiation, Genetic