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In myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), dystrophia myotonica protein kinase messenger ribonucleic acids (RNAs; mRNAs) with expanded CUG repeats (CUG(exp)) aggregate in the nucleus and become toxic to cells by sequestering and/or misregulating RNA-binding proteins, resulting in aberrant alternative splicing. In this paper, we find that the RNA-binding protein Staufen1 is markedly and specifically increased in skeletal muscle from DM1 mouse models and patients. We show that Staufen1 interacts with mutant CUG(exp) mRNAs and promotes their nuclear export and translation. This effect is critically dependent on the third double-stranded RNA-binding domain of Staufen1 and shuttling of Staufen1 into the nucleus via its nuclear localization signal. Moreover, we uncover a new role of Staufen1 in splicing regulation. Overexpression of Staufen1 rescues alternative splicing of two key pre-mRNAs known to be aberrantly spliced in DM1, suggesting its increased expression represents an adaptive response to the pathology. Altogether, our results unravel a novel function for Staufen1 in splicing regulation and indicate that it may positively modulate the complex DM1 phenotype, thereby revealing its potential as a therapeutic target.


Aymeric Ravel-Chapuis, Guy Bélanger, Ramesh S Yadava, Mani S Mahadevan, Luc DesGroseillers, Jocelyn Côté, Bernard J Jasmin. The RNA-binding protein Staufen1 is increased in DM1 skeletal muscle and promotes alternative pre-mRNA splicing. The Journal of cell biology. 2012 Mar 19;196(6):699-712

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PMID: 22431750

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