NAT8L mRNA oxidation is linked to neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
P. KharelSoumitra Basu


RNA oxidation has been implicated in neurodegeneration, but the underlying mechanism for such effects is unclear. Recently, we demonstrated extensive RNA oxidation within the neurons in multiple sclerosis (MS) brain. In this report we identified selectively oxidized mRNAs in neuronal cells that pertained to neuropathological pathways. N-acetyl aspartate transferase 8 like (NAT8L) mRNA is one such transcript, whose translated product enzymatically synthesizes N-acetyl aspartic acid (NAA), a neuronal metabolite important for myelin synthesis. We reasoned that impediment of translation of an oxidized NAT8L mRNA will result in reduction in its cognate protein, thus lowering NAA level. This assertion is directly supported by our studies on a model cellular system, an MS animal model and postmortem human MS brain. Reduced NAA level in the brain hampers myelin integrity making neuronal axons more susceptible to damage, which contributes in MS neurodegeneration. Overall, this work provides a framework for mechanistic understanding of the link between RNA oxidation and neurodegenerative diseases.

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