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UPF1 silenced cellular model systems for screening of read-through agents active on β039 thalassemia point mutation

Salvatori, Francesca, Pappadà, Mariangela, Breveglieri, Giulia, D’Aversa, Elisabetta, Finotti, Alessia, Lampronti, Ilaria, Gambari, Roberto, Borgatti, Monica
BMC biotechnology 2018 v.18 no.1 pp. 28
aminoglycoside antibiotics, glutamine, humans, messenger RNA, models, nonsense mutation, point mutation, screening, stop codon, thalassemia, therapeutics, translation (genetics)
BACKGROUND: Nonsense mutations promote premature translational termination, introducing stop codons within the coding region of mRNAs and causing inherited diseases, including thalassemia. For instance, in β⁰39 thalassemia the CAG (glutamine) codon is mutated to the UAG stop codon, leading to premature translation termination and to mRNA destabilization through the well described NMD (nonsense-mediated mRNA decay). In order to develop an approach facilitating translation and, therefore, protection from NMD, ribosomal read-through molecules, such as aminoglycoside antibiotics, have been tested on mRNAs carrying premature stop codons. These findings have introduced new hopes for the development of a pharmacological approach to the β⁰39 thalassemia therapy. While several strategies, designed to enhance translational read-through, have been reported to inhibit NMD efficiency concomitantly, experimental tools for systematic analysis of mammalian NMD inhibition by translational read-through are lacking. RESULTS: We developed a human cellular model of the β⁰39 thalassemia mutation with UPF-1 suppressed and showing a partial NMD suppression. CONCLUSIONS: This novel cellular model could be used for the screening of molecules exhibiting preferential read-through activity allowing a great rescue of the mutated transcripts.