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MAP2 Splicing is Altered in Huntington's Disease

AuthorsCabrera, Jorge Rubén ; Lucas, José J.
KeywordsHuntington’s disease
Issue Date2017
CitationBrain Pathology 27: 181- 189 (2017)
AbstractDendritic alteration of striatal medium spiny neurons is one of the earliest morphological abnormalities in Huntington's disease (HD). The main microtubule-associated protein in dendrites is MAP2. The low-molecular weight isoforms of MAP2 (LMW-MAP2) are the juvenile forms resulting from exclusion of the sequence encoded by exons E7-E9 and are downregulated after the early stages of neuronal development when E7-E9 exon-including high-molecular weight isoforms (HMW-MAP2) are favored. Splicing alteration has recently been proposed to contribute to HD in view of two pathogenic missplicing events resulting in a highly toxic N-terminal version of mutant huntingtin and in a detrimental imbalance in MAP Tau isoforms with three or four tubulin-binding repeats. Both splicing events are postulated targets of the SR splicing factor SRSF6 which has recently been reported to be dramatically altered in HD. SR proteins often regulate functionally related sets of genes and SRSF6 targets are enriched in genes involved in brain organogenesis including several actin-and tubulin-binding proteins. Here we hypothesized that MAP2 might be target of SRSF6 and altered in HD. By SRSF6 knockdown in neuroblastoma cells, we demonstrate that splicing of MAP2 E7-E9 exons is affected by SRSF6. We then show a disbalance in LMW and HMW MAP2 mRNA isoforms in HD striatum in favor of the juvenile LMW forms together with a decrease in total MAP2 mRNA. This is accompanied by a global decrease in total MAP2 protein due to almost total disappearance of HMW-MAP2 isoforms with preservation of LMW-MAP2 isoforms. Accordingly, the predominant dendritic MAP2 staining in striatal neuropil of control subjects is absent in HD cases. In these, MAP2-immunoreactivity is faint and restricted to neuronal cell bodies often showing a sharp boundary at the base of dendrites. Together, our results highlight the importance of splicing alteration in HD and suggest that MAP2 alteration contributes to dendritic atrophy.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bpa.12387
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/bpa.12387
issn: 1750-3639
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