Ameliorating pathogenesis by removing an exon containing a missense mutation: A potential exon-skipping therapy for laminopathies

J. Scharner, N. Figeac, J. A. Ellis, P. S. Zammit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Exon skipping, as a therapy to restore a reading frame or switch protein isoforms, is under clinical trial. We hypothesised that removing an in-frame exon containing a mutation could also improve pathogenic phenotypes. Our model is laminopathies: incurable tissue-specific degenerative diseases associated with LMNA mutations. LMNA encodes A-type lamins, that together with B-type lamins, form the nuclear lamina. Lamins contain an alpha-helical central rod domain composed of multiple heptad repeats. Eliminating LMNA exon 3 or 5 removes six heptad repeats, so shortens, but should not otherwise significantly alter, the alpha-helix. Human Lamin A or Lamin C with a deletion corresponding to amino acids encoded by exon 5 (Lamin A/C-Δ5) localised normally in murine lmna-null cells, rescuing both nuclear shape and endogenous Lamin B1/emerin distribution. However, Lamin A carrying pathogenic mutations in exon 3 or 5, or Lamin A/C-Δ3, did not. Furthermore, Lamin A/C-Δ5 was not deleterious to wild-type cells, unlike the other Lamin A mutants including Lamin A/C-Δ3. Thus Lamin A/C-Δ5 function as effectively as wild-type Lamin A/C and better than mutant versions. Antisense oligonucleotides skipped LMNA exon 5 in human cells, demonstrating the possibility of treating certain laminopathies with this approach. This proof-of-concept is the first to report the therapeutic potential of exon skipping for diseases arising from missense mutations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-515
Number of pages13
JournalGene Therapy
Issue number6
Early online date2 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2015


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