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An SMN-dependent U12 splicing event essential for motor circuit function.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a motor neuron disease caused by deficiency of the ubiquitous survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. To define the mechanisms of selective neuronal dysfunction in SMA, we investigated the role of SMN-dependent U12 splicing events in the regulation of motor circuit activity. We show that SMN deficiency perturbs splicing and decreases the expression of a subset of U12 intron-containing genes in mammalian cells and Drosophila larvae. Analysis of these SMN target genes identifies Stasimon as a protein required for motor circuit function. Restoration of Stasimon expression in the motor circuit corrects defects in neuromuscular junction transmission and muscle growth in Drosophila SMN mutants and aberrant motor neuron development in SMN-deficient zebrafish. These findings directly link defective splicing of critical neuronal genes induced by SMN deficiency to motor circuit dysfunction, establishing a molecular framework for the selective pathology of SMA.

Pubmed ID: 23063131


  • Lotti F
  • Imlach WL
  • Saieva L
  • Beck ES
  • Hao le T
  • Li DK
  • Jiao W
  • Mentis GZ
  • Beattie CE
  • McCabe BD
  • Pellizzoni L



Publication Data

October 12, 2012

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01 NS050414
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01 NS069601
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01 NS078375
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01NS050414
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01NS069601
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R01NS078375
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R21 NS077038
  • Agency: NINDS NIH HHS, Id: R21NS077038
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: T32 GM007367

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mice
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • RNA, Small Nuclear
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins