MDH2 is an RNA binding protein involved in downregulation of sodium channel Scn1a expression under seizure condition

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2017 Jun;1863(6):1492-1499. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2017.04.018. Epub 2017 Apr 19.


Voltage-gated sodium channel α-subunit type I (NaV1.1, encoded by SCN1A gene) plays a critical role in the excitability of brain. Downregulation of SCN1A expression is associated with epilepsy, a common neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. Here we reveal a novel role of malate dehydrogenase 2 (MDH2) in the posttranscriptional regulation of SCN1A expression under seizure condition. We identified that MDH2 was an RNA binding protein that could bind two of the four conserved regions in the 3' UTRs of SCN1A. We further showed that knockdown of MDH2 or inactivation of MDH2 activity in HEK-293 cells increased the reporter gene expression through the 3' UTR of SCN1A, and MDH2 overexpression decreased gene expression by affecting mRNA stability. In the hippocampus of seizure mice, the upregulation of MDH2 expression contributed to the decrease of the NaV1.1 levels at posttranscriptional level. In addition, we showed that the H2O2 levels increased in the hippocampus of the seizure mice, and H2O2 could promote the binding of MDH2 to the binding sites of Scn1a gene, whereas β-mercaptoethanol decreased the binding capability, indicating an important effect of the seizure-induced oxidation on the MDH2-mediated downregulation of Scn1a expression. Taken together, these data suggest that MDH2, functioning as an RNA-binding protein, is involved in the posttranscriptional downregulation of SCN1A expression under seizure condition.

Keywords: MDH2; Posttranscriptional regulation; RNA binding protein; Scn1a; Seizure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3' Untranslated Regions*
  • Animals
  • Down-Regulation*
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Malate Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Malate Dehydrogenase / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • NAV1.1 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel / biosynthesis*
  • NAV1.1 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Seizures / genetics
  • Seizures / metabolism*
  • Seizures / pathology


  • 3' Untranslated Regions
  • NAV1.1 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • SCN1A protein, human
  • Scn1a protein, mouse
  • MDH2 protein, human
  • Malate Dehydrogenase