Evidence for RNA-mediated toxicity in the fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome

Future Neurol. 2009 Nov 1;4(6):785. doi: 10.2217/fnl.09.44.


Fragile X premutation carriers are at risk for developing a late-onset, progressive neurodegenerative disorder termed fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). A growing body of evidence suggests the characteristic excess CGG repeat containing FMR1 mRNA observed in premutation carriers is pathogenic and leads to clinical features of FXTAS. The current model suggests premutation mRNA transcripts can induce the formation of intranuclear inclusions by the sequestration of RNA-binding proteins and other proteins. The sequestered proteins are prevented from performing their normal functions, which is thought to lead to the neuropathology-observed FXTAS. This paper discusses the existing evidence that microsatellite expansions at the level of RNA play a role in the disease pathogenesis of FXTAS and some of the approaches that may uncover downstream effects of expanded riboCGG expression.