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  • Publication : 30 09 2019
  • Catégorie :La recherche médicale et génétique

Improvement of spinal muscular atrophy via correction of the SMN2 splicing defect by Brucea javanica (L.) Merr. extract and Bruceine D.    

BACKGROUND: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a rare neuromuscular disease and a leading genetic cause of infant mortality. SMA is caused primarily by the deletion of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene, which leaves the duplicate gene SMN2 as the sole source of SMN protein. The splicing defect (exon 7 skipping) of SMN2 leads to an insufficient amount of SMN protein. Therefore, correcting this SMN2 splicing defect is considered to be a promising approach for the treatment of SMA.
PURPOSE: This study aimed to identify active compounds and extracts from plant resources to rescue SMA phenotypes through the correction of SMN2 splicing.
STUDY DESIGN: Of available plant resources, candidates with SMA-related traditional medicine information were selected for screening using a robust luciferase-based SMN2 splicing reporter. Primary hits were further evaluated for their ability to correct the splicing defect and resultant increase of SMN activity in SMA patient-derived fibroblasts. Confirmed hits were finally tested to determine the beneficial effects on the severe ?7 SMA mouse.
METHODS: SMN2 splicing was analyzed using a luciferase-based SMN2 splicing reporter and subsequent RT-PCR of SMN2 mRNAs. SMA phenotypes were evaluated by the survival, body weights, and righting reflex of ?7 SMA mice.
RESULTS: In a screen of 492 selected plant extracts, we found that Brucea javanica extract and its major constituent Bruceine D have SMN2 splicing-correcting activity. Their ability to correct the splicing defect and the resulting increased SMN activity were further confirmed in SMA fibroblasts. Importantly, both B. javanica and Bruceine D noticeably improved the phenotypic defects, especially muscle function, in SMA mice. Reduced expression of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (hnRNP A1) contributed to the correction of splicing by B. javanica.
CONCLUSION: Our work revealed that B. javanica and Bruceine D correct the SMN2 splicing defect and improve the symptoms of SMA in mice. These resources will provide another possibility for development of a plant-derived SMA drug candidate.

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