Genetic modifiers ameliorate endocytic and neuromuscular defects in a model of spinal muscular atrophy

Melissa B. Walsh, Eva Janzen, Emily Wingrove, Seyyedmohsen Hosseinibarkooie, Natalia Rodriguez Muela, Lance Davidow, Maria Dimitriadi, Erika M. Norabuena, Lee L Rubin, Brunhilde Wirth, Anne C. Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Understanding the genetic modifiers of neurodegenerative diseases can provide insight into the mechanisms underlying these disorders. Here, we examine the relationship between the motor neuron disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which is caused by reduced levels of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) protein, and the actin-bundling protein Plastin 3 (PLS3). Increased PLS3 levels suppress symptoms in a subset of SMA patients and ameliorate defects in SMA disease models, but the functional connection between PLS3 and SMN is poorly understood.Results: We provide immunohistochemical and biochemical evidence for large protein complexes localized in vertebrate motor neuron processes that contain PLS3, SMN and members of the hnRNP F/H family of proteins. Using a Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) SMA model, we determine that overexpression of PLS3 or loss of the C. elegans hnRNP F/H ortholog SYM-2 enhances endocytic function and ameliorates neuromuscular defects caused by decreased SMN-1 levels. Furthermore, either increasing PLS3 or decreasing SYM-2 levels suppresses defects in a C. elegans ALS model.Conclusions: We propose that hnRNP F/H act in the same protein complex as PLS3 and SMN and that the function of this complex is critical for endocytic pathways, suggesting that hnRNP F/H proteins could be potential targets for therapy development.
Original languageEnglish
Article number127
Number of pages19
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2020


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