De novo and inherited mutations of X-chromosome cell adhesion molecule protocadherin 19 (PCDH19) cause frequent, highly variable epilepsy, autism, cognitive decline and behavioural problems syndrome. Intriguingly, hemizygous null males are not affected while heterozygous females are, contradicting established X-chromosome inheritance. The disease mechanism is not known. Cellular mosaicism is the likely driver. We have identified p54nrb/NONO, a multifunctional nuclear paraspeckle protein with known roles in nuclear hormone receptor gene regulation, as a PCDH19 protein interacting partner. Using breast cancer cells we show that PCDH19-NONO complex is a positive co-regulator of ERα-mediated gene expression. Expression of mutant PCDH19 affects at least a subset of known ERα-regulated genes. These data are consistent with our findings that genes regulated by nuclear hormone receptors and those involved in the metabolism of neurosteroids in particular are dysregulated in PCDH19-epilepsy girls and affected mosaic males. Overall we define and characterize a novel mechanism of gene regulation driven by PCDH19, which is mediated by paraspeckle constituent NONO and is ERα-dependent. This PCDH19-NONO-ERα axis is of relevance not only to PCDH19-epilepsy and its comorbidities but likely also to ERα and generally nuclear hormone receptor-associated cancers.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press.