Regulating PCCA gene expression by modulation of pseudoexon splicing patterns to rescue enzyme activity in propionic acidemia

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Abstract

Pseudoexons are nonfunctional intronic sequences that can be activated by deep-intronic sequence variation. Activation increases pseudoexon inclusion in mRNA and interferes with normal gene expression. The PCCA c.1285-1416A>G variation activates a pseudoexon and causes the severe metabolic disorder propionic acidemia by deficiency of the propionyl-CoA carboxylase enzyme encoded by PCCA and PCCB. We characterized this pathogenic pseudoexon activation event in detail and identified hnRNP A1 to be important for normal repression. The PCCA c.1285-1416A>G variation disrupts an hnRNP A1-binding splicing silencer and simultaneously creates a splicing enhancer. We demonstrate that blocking this region of regulation with splice-switching antisense oligonucleotides restores normal splicing and rescues enzyme activity in patient fibroblasts and in a cellular model created by CRISPR gene editing. Interestingly, the PCCA pseudoexon offers an unexploited potential to upregulate gene expression because healthy tissues show relatively high inclusion levels. By blocking inclusion of the nonactivated wild-type pseudoexon, we can increase both PCCA and PCCB protein levels, which increases the activity of the heterododecameric enzyme. Surprisingly, we can increase enzyme activity from residual levels in not only patient fibroblasts harboring PCCA missense variants but also those harboring PCCB missense variants. This is a potential treatment strategy for propionic acidemia.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer102101
TidsskriftMolecular Therapy Nucleic Acids
Vol/bind35
Udgave nummer1
Antal sider46
ISSN2162-2531
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 12. mar. 2024

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