Abstract P104: Reactivation of Embryonic Gene Program due to CUG Repeat RNA Expression in Myotonic Dystrophy
Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is a dominantly inherited disease that affects multiple organ systems. Cardiac involvement, which is characterized by conduction defects and arrhythmias, is the second leading cause of death in DM1 patients. The causative mutation is a CTG expansion in the 3' untranslated region of DMPK gene resulting in aberrant expression of CUG repeat RNA that accumulates into nuclear foci and causes misregulation in alternative splicing. Here we show that heart-specific and inducible expression of CUG repeat RNA in a DM1 mouse model results in global reactivation of embryonic gene expression program in adult heart that is distinct from a general hypertrophic stress response. Using q-PCR TaqMan arrays, we identified 54 miRNAs that were differentially expressed in DM1 mouse hearts one week following induction of CUG repeat RNA. Interestingly, 83% (45/54) of them exhibited a developmental shift in expression towards the embryonic pattern. Because over 90% (41/45) of them were down regulated within 72 hr after induction of repeat RNA and only 2/22 examined decreased in two unrelated mouse models of heart disease, we conclude their reduced expression is specific to DM1 and not simply a general response to cardiac injury. Microarray studies revealed a developmental switch not only in the miRNA expression patterns but also a pervasive shift in mRNA steady state levels of a number of genes to embryonic stage. Intriguingly, we found that loss of MBNL1 or gain of CELF1 activity, two major RNA binding proteins disrupted in DM1, are not driving the miRNA misregulation since their expression is indistinguishable between wild type, MBNL1 knock out and CELF1 over expressing mice. Moreover, comparable decrease in ten out of ten primary miRNA transcripts examined suggests loss of expression is not due to a processing defect. Instead, we discovered that adult-to-embryonic shift in expression of select micro- and messenger RNAs in DM1 heart occurs due to specific inactivation of a Mef2 transcriptional program. We are currently determining causal contributions of this Mef2-miRNA circuitry in the developmental reprogramming of gene expression in DM1 as well as its direct role in cardiac manifestations of this disease.
- © 2011 by American Heart Association, Inc.