Neuronal degeneration in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by reduced expression of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein. The SMN protein is ubiquitously expressed and is present both in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus where it localizes in Cajal bodies. The SMN complex plays an essential role for the biogenesis of spliceosomal U-snRNPs. In this article, we have used an RNA interference approach in order to analyse the effects of SMN depletion on snRNP assembly in HeLa cells. Although snRNP profiles are not perturbed in SMN-depleted cells, we found that SMN depletion gives rise to cytoplasmic accumulation of a GFP-SmB reporter protein. We also demonstrate that the SMN protein depletion induces defects in Cajal body formation with coilin being localized in multiple nuclear foci and in nucleolus instead of canonical Cajal bodies. Interestingly, the coilin containing foci do not contain snRNPs but appear to co-localize with U85 scaRNA. Because Cajal bodies represent the location in which snRNPs undergo 2′-O-methylation and pseudouridylation, our results raise the possibility that SMN depletion might give rise to a defect in the snRNA modification process.
Depletion of SMN by RNA interference in HeLa cells induces defects in Cajal body formation
Girard, C.; Neel, H.; Bertrand, E.; Bordonne, R.
Nucleic Acids Res
2006 / vol 34 / pages 2925-32
Humans; RNA Interference; Hela Cells; Autoantigens/analysis; Coiled Bodies/*chemistry; Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein/*antagonists &; Cytoplasm/chemistry; inhibitors/genetics; Nerve Tissue Proteins/*antagonists & inhibitors/genetics; Nuclear Proteins/analysis; Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear/analysis/*metabolism; RNA-Binding Proteins/*antagonists & inhibitors/genetics; RNA, Guide/analysis; RNA, Small Nuclear/analysis