Dysregulation of human NEFM and NEFH mRNA stability by ALS-linked miRNAs
Neurofilaments (NFs) are the most abundant cytoskeletal component of vertebrate myelinated axons. NFs function by determining axonal caliber, promoting axonal growth and forming a 3-dimensional lattice that supports the organization of cytoplasmic organelles. The stoichiometry of NF protein subunits (NFL, NFM and NFH) has to be tightly controlled to avoid the formation of NF neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCIs), axonal degeneration and neuronal death, all pathological hallmarks of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The post-transcriptional control of NF transcripts is critical for regulating normal levels of NF proteins. Previously, we showed that miRNAs that are dysregulated in ALS spinal cord regulate the levels of NEFL mRNA. In order to complete the understanding of altered NF expression in ALS, in this study we have investigated the regulation of NEFM and NEFH mRNA levels by miRNAs. We observed that a small group of ALS-linked miRNAs that are expressed in human spinal motor neurons directly regulate NEFM and NEFH transcript levels in a manner that is associated with an increase in NFM and NFH protein levels in ALS spinal cord homogenates. In concert with previous observations demonstrating the suppression of NEFL mRNA steady state levels in ALS, these observations provide support for the hypothesis that the dysregulation of miRNAs in spinal motor neurons in ALS fundamentally alters the stoichiometry of NF expression, leading to the formation of pathological NCIs.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s13041-018-0386-3