Main content area

Differential usage of transcriptional start sites and polyadenylation sites in FMR1 premutation alleles

Tassone, Flora, De Rubeis, Silvia, Carosi, Chiara, La Fata, Giorgio, Serpa, Gisele, Raske, Christopher, Willemsen, Rob, Hagerman, Paul J., Bagni, Claudia
Nucleic acids research 2011 v.39 no.14 pp. 6172-6185
3' untranslated regions, alleles, ataxia (disorder), autism, brain, disease course, females, humans, mice, mutation, neurodegenerative diseases, phenotype, transcription (genetics)
5'- and 3'-untranslated regions (UTRs) are important regulators of gene expression and play key roles in disease progression and susceptibility. The 5'-UTR of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene contains a CGG repeat element that is expanded (>200 CGG repeats; full mutation) and methylated in fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common form of inherited intellectual disability (ID) and known cause of autism. Significant phenotypic involvement has also emerged in some individuals with the premutation (55-200 CGG repeats), including fragile X-associated premature ovarian insufficiency (FXPOI) in females, and the neurodegenerative disorder, fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS), in older adult carriers. Here, we show that FMR1 mRNA in human and mouse brain is expressed as a combination of multiple isoforms that use alternative transcriptional start sites and different polyadenylation sites. Furthermore, we have identified a novel human transcription start site used in brain but not in lymphoblastoid cells, and have detected FMR1 isoforms generated through the use of both canonical and non-canonical polyadenylation signals. Importantly, in both human and mouse, a specific regulation of the UTRs is observed in brain of FMR1 premutation alleles, suggesting that the transcript variants may play a role in premutation-related pathologies.