Retrotransposon insertion as a novel mutational cause of spinal muscular atrophy - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Human Genetics Year : 2022

Retrotransposon insertion as a novel mutational cause of spinal muscular atrophy

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Abstract

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder resulting from biallelic alterations of the SMN1 gene: deletion, gene conversion or, in rare cases, intragenic variants. The disease severity is mainly influenced by the copy number of SMN2, a nearly identical gene, which produces only low amounts of full-length (FL) mRNA. Here we describe the first example of retrotransposon insertion as a pathogenic SMN1 mutational event. The 50-year-old patient is clinically affected by SMA type III with a diagnostic odyssey spanning nearly 30 years. Despite a mild disease course, he carries a single SMN2 copy. Using Exome Sequencing and Sanger sequencing, we characterized a SINE-VNTR-Alu (SVA) type F retrotransposon inserted in SMN1 intron 7. Using RT-PCR and RNASeq experiments on lymphoblastoid cell lines, we documented the dramatic decrease of FL transcript production in the patient compared to subjects with the same SMN1 and SMN2 copy number, thus validating the pathogenicity of this SVA insertion. We described the mutant FL-SMN1-SVA transcript characterized by exon extension and showed that it is subject to degradation by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. The stability of the SMN-SVA protein may explain the mild course of the disease. This observation exemplifies the role of retrotransposons in human genetic disorders.

Dates and versions

hal-03805825 , version 1 (07-10-2022)

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Myriam Vezain, Christel Thauvin-Robinet, Yoann Vial, Sophie Coutant, Séverine Drunat, et al.. Retrotransposon insertion as a novel mutational cause of spinal muscular atrophy. Human Genetics, 2022, ⟨10.1007/s00439-017-1811-x⟩. ⟨hal-03805825⟩
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