GSBS Student Publications

Title

Selective silencing by RNAi of a dominant allele that causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Student Author(s)

Alex Keene

GSBS Program

Neuroscience

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

Date

8-26-2003

Document Type

Article

Medical Subject Headings

Alleles; Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; Animals; Drosophila melanogaster; Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic; Gene Silencing; Gene Therapy; Genes, Dominant; Genetic Vectors; Green Fluorescent Proteins; Humans; Luminescent Proteins; Mice; Point Mutation; RNA Interference; RNA Polymerase III; RNA, Small Interfering; Superoxide Dismutase; Transfection

Disciplines

Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Neuroscience and Neurobiology

Abstract

RNA interference (RNAi) can achieve sequence-selective inactivation of gene expression in a wide variety of eukaryotes by introducing double-stranded RNA corresponding to the target gene. Here we explore the potential of RNAi as a therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) caused by mutations in the Cu, Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene. Although the mutant SOD1 is toxic, the wild-type SOD1 performs important functions. Therefore, the ideal therapeutic strategy should be to selectively inhibit the mutant, but not the wild-type SOD1 expression. Because most SOD1 mutations are single nucleotide changes, to selectively silence the mutant requires single-nucleotide specificity. By coupling rational design of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) with their validation in RNAi reactions in vitro and in vivo, we have identified siRNA sequences with this specificity. A similarly designed sequence, when expressed as small hairpin RNA (shRNA) under the control of an RNA polymerase III (pol III) promoter, retains the single-nucleotide specificity. Thus, RNAi is a promising therapy for ALS and other disorders caused by dominant, gain-of-function gene mutations.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Aging Cell. 2003 Aug;2(4):209-17.

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal Title

Aging cell

PubMed ID

12934714