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Allotopic Expression of mRNAs as a Novel Gene Therapy for Encephalomyopathies

Kotchey, Nicole Marie (2007) Allotopic Expression of mRNAs as a Novel Gene Therapy for Encephalomyopathies. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Mutation of the mtATP6 gene, which encodes an essential subunit of the F0F1-ATP synthase (Complex V) in mitochondria, is known to cause a group of related encephalomyopathies. The ATP synthase acts as a hydrogen ion transporter that couples ion dissipation with ATP production. Diseases including NARP (neuropathy ataxia and retinitis pigmentosa) and MILS (maternally inherited Leigh's syndrome) are caused by missense mutations in the ATP6 gene. Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, has a mitochondrial ATP6 missense mutation that models NARP/MILS diseases. Our aim is to develop a transgenic strategy where allotopic expression of a mitochondrial-targeted ATP6 mRNA may serve as a potential gene therapy for these devastating mitochondrial diseases. Mitochondria in metazoans are known to import nuclear encoded 5SrRNAs, which are thought to be essential for mitochondrial protein synthesis. We utilized a cluster of 100 individual 5S rRNA genes found at 56F region of the right arm of chromosome 2 in Drosophila melanogaster. Sequence comparisons revealed 17 groups of genomic variants and 14 processed rRNA counterparts. Identifying which, if any, of the known 5S rRNAs are competent for mitochondrial import was integral to our proposed gene therapy approach. A protocol was developed that utilizes gradient and percoll centrifugation steps to isolate highly purified mitochondria that lack detectable cytosolic contamination. RT-PCR and cloning were used to determine which 5S rRNAs were expressed and localized to the mitochondria. The cytoplasmic and mitochondrial derived clones and gDNA control clones support the assertion that, at least under normal in vivo conditions, ~ 60 % of the identified 5S rRNA genes are not expressed and are likely pseudogenes. One variant, 5S rRNA III, is predominantly expressed and localized to the mitochondria. Also, 8 novel and 3 possible 5S rRNA gene isoforms not currently categorized in sequence databases have been discovered. Clones capable of expressing chimeric rRNA::mRNAs in cells and in vivo were generated. These constructs could later be used to assess the ability of 5S rRNA to direct mitochondrial import of "passenger" mRNAs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kotchey, Nicole Marienmkst12@pitt.eduNMKST12
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDeFranco, Donald Bdod1@pitt.eduDOD1
Committee MemberGalbiati, Ferrucciofeg5@pitt.eduFEG5
Committee MemberHomanics, GreggHomanicsGE@anes.upmc.eduGEH2
Committee MemberPalladino, Michaelmjp44@pitt.eduMJP44
Date: 7 September 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 20 August 2007
Approval Date: 7 September 2007
Submission Date: 4 September 2007
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Molecular Pharmacology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: allotopic expression; gene therapy; MILS (maternally inherited Leigh’s syndrome); missense mutations; mtATP6 gene; myodegeneration; NARP (neuropathy ataxia and retinitis pigmentosa; transgene; encephalomyopathies; progressive neuromuscular impairment; sesB1/ANT1 (stress-sensitive B) / (Adenine Nucleo; ATP Synthase
Other ID:, etd-09042007-102449
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:01
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:37


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