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The motor neuron disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) causes profound muscle weakness that most often leads to early death. At autopsy, SMA is characterized by loss of motor neurons and muscle atrophy, but the initial cellular events that precipitate motor unit dysfunction and loss remain poorly characterized. Here, we examined the function and(More)
To define alterations of neuronal connectivity that occur during motor neuron degeneration, we characterized the function and structure of spinal circuitry in spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) model mice. SMA motor neurons show reduced proprioceptive reflexes that correlate with decreased number and function of synapses on motor neuron somata and proximal(More)
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an inherited motor neuron disease caused by the mutation of the survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene and deficiency of the SMN protein. Severe SMA mice have abnormal motor function and small, immature myofibers early in development suggesting that SMN protein deficiency results in retarded muscle growth. Insulin-like growth(More)
Expansion of a polyglutamine tract in the androgen receptor (AR) causes spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA). We previously showed that Akt-mediated phosphorylation of AR reduces ligand binding and attenuates the mutant AR toxicity. Here, we show that in culture insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) reduces AR aggregation and increases AR clearance via(More)
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2C (CMT2C) is an autosomal dominant neuropathy characterized by limb, diaphragm and laryngeal muscle weakness. Two unrelated families with CMT2C showed significant linkage to chromosome 12q24.11. We sequenced all genes in this region and identified two heterozygous missense mutations in the TRPV4 gene, C805T and G806A,(More)
Early treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitor, trichostatin A, plus nutritional support extended median survival of spinal muscular atrophy mice by 170%. Treated mice continued to gain weight, maintained stable motor function, and retained intact neuromuscular junctions long after trichostatin A was discontinued. In many cases, ultimate decline of(More)
The inherited motor neuron disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by deficient expression of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein and results in severe muscle weakness. In SMA mice, synaptic dysfunction of both neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) and central sensorimotor synapses precedes motor neuron cell death. To address whether this synaptic(More)
The neuromuscular disorder spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the most common inherited killer of infants, is caused by insufficient expression of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. SMA therapeutics development efforts have focused on identifying strategies to increase SMN expression. We identified a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) that arises from the antisense(More)
PURPOSE OF REVIEW This article reviews clinical, genetic, and therapeutic advances in spinal muscular atrophies (SMAs), inherited disorders characterized by motor neuron loss and muscle weakness. RECENT FINDINGS There has been progress in defining the clinical and genetic features of at least 16 distinct forms of SMA. The genes associated with 14 of these(More)
In the inherited childhood neuromuscular disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), lower motor neuron death and severe muscle weakness result from the reduction of the ubiquitously expressed protein survival of motor neuron (SMN). Although SMA mice recapitulate many features of the human disease, it has remained unclear if their short lifespan and motor(More)