A Novel RNA Editing Sensor Tool and a Specific Agonist Determine Neuronal Protein Expression of RNA-Edited Glycine Receptors and Identify a Genomic APOBEC1 Dimorphism as a New Genetic Risk Factor of Epilepsy

Kankowski, Svenja GND; Förstera, Benjamin; Winkelmann, Aline GND; Knauff, Pina; Wanker, Erich E.; You, Xintian A. GND; Semtner, Marcus GND; Hetsch, Florian GND; Meier, Jochen C. ORCID

C-to-U RNA editing of glycine receptors (GlyR) can play an important role in disease progression of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) as it may contribute in a neuron type-specific way to neuropsychiatric symptoms of the disease. It is therefore necessary to develop tools that allow identification of neuron types that express RNA-edited GlyR protein. In this study, we identify NH4 as agonist of C-to-U RNA edited GlyRs. Furthermore, we generated a new molecular C-to-U RNA editing sensor tool that detects Apobec-1- dependent RNA editing in HEPG2 cells and rat primary hippocampal neurons. Using this sensor combined with NH4 application, we were able to identify C-to-U RNA editing-competent neurons and expression of C-to-U RNA-edited GlyR protein in neurons. Bioinformatic analysis of 1,000 Genome Project Phase 3 allele frequencies coding for human Apobec-1 80M and 80I variants showed differences between populations, and the results revealed a preference of the 80I variant to generate RNA-edited GlyR protein. Finally, we established a new PCR-based restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) approach to profile mRNA expression with regard to the genetic APOBEC1 dimorphism of patients with intractable temporal lobe epilepsy (iTLE) and found that the patients fall into two groups. Patients with expression of the Apobec-1 80I variant mostly suffered from simple or complex partial seizures, whereas patients with 80M expression exhibited secondarily generalized seizure activity. Thus, our method allows the characterization of Apobec-1 80M and 80l variants in the brain and provides a new way to epidemiologically and semiologically classify iTLE according to the two different APOBEC1 alleles. Together, these results demonstrate Apobec-1-dependent expression of RNA-edited GlyR protein in neurons and identify the APOBEC1 80I/M-coding alleles as new genetic risk factors for iTLE patients.


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