Regulatory consequences of neuronal ELAV-like protein binding to coding and non-coding RNAs in human brain

Elife. 2016 Feb 19:5:e10421. doi: 10.7554/eLife.10421.


Neuronal ELAV-like (nELAVL) RNA binding proteins have been linked to numerous neurological disorders. We performed crosslinking-immunoprecipitation and RNAseq on human brain, and identified nELAVL binding sites on 8681 transcripts. Using knockout mice and RNAi in human neuroblastoma cells, we showed that nELAVL intronic and 3' UTR binding regulates human RNA splicing and abundance. We validated hundreds of nELAVL targets among which were important neuronal and disease-associated transcripts, including Alzheimer's disease (AD) transcripts. We therefore investigated RNA regulation in AD brain, and observed differential splicing of 150 transcripts, which in some cases correlated with differential nELAVL binding. Unexpectedly, the most significant change of nELAVL binding was evident on non-coding Y RNAs. nELAVL/Y RNA complexes were specifically remodeled in AD and after acute UV stress in neuroblastoma cells. We propose that the increased nELAVL/Y RNA association during stress may lead to nELAVL sequestration, redistribution of nELAVL target binding, and altered neuronal RNA splicing.

Keywords: Y RNA; alternative splicing; alzheimer's disease; biochemistry; human; imr-32 cells; mRNA stability; mouse; nELAVL; neuronal RNA binding protein; neuroscience; noncoding RNA.

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • ELAV Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA Splicing
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism*


  • ELAV Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Untranslated