A distal auxiliary element facilitates cleavage and polyadenylation of Dux4 mRNA in the pathogenic haplotype of FSHD
The degenerative muscle disorder facioscapulohumeral dystrophy (FSHD) is thought to be caused by the inappropriate expression of the Double Homeobox 4 (Dux4) protein in muscle cells leading to apoptosis. Expression of Dux4 in the major form of FSHD is a function of two contributing molecular changes: contractions in the D4Z4 microsatellite repeat region where Dux4 is located and an SNP present within a region downstream of the D4Z4. This SNP provides a functional, yet non-consensus polyadenylation signal (PAS) is used for the Dux4 mRNA 3′ end processing. Surprisingly, the sequences flanking the Dux4 PAS do not resemble a typical cleavage and polyadenylation landscape with no recognizable downstream sequence element and a suboptimal cleavage site. Here, we conducted a systematic analysis of the cis-acting elements that govern Dux4 cleavage and polyadenylation. Using a transcriptional read-through reporter, we determined that sequences downstream of the SNP located within the β-satellite region are critical for Dux4 cleavage and polyadenylation. We also demonstrate the feasibility of using antisense oligonucleotides to target these sequences as a means to reduce Dux4 expression. Our results underscore the complexity of the region immediately downstream of the D4Z4 and uncover a previously unknown function for the β-satellite region in Dux4 cleavage and polyadenylation.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00439-017-1813-8
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