ORCID

Abstract

RNA molecules with the expanded CAG repeat (eCAGr) may undergo sol–gel phase transitions, but the functional impact of RNA gelation is completely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the eCAGr RNA may form cytoplasmic gel-like foci that are rapidly degraded by lysosomes. These RNA foci may significantly reduce the global protein synthesis rate, possibly by sequestering the translation elongation factor eEF2. Disrupting the eCAGr RNA gelation restored the global protein synthesis rate, whereas enhanced gelation exacerbated this phenotype. eEF2 puncta were significantly enhanced in brain slices from a knock-in mouse model and from patients with Huntington’s disease, which is a CAG expansion disorder expressing eCAGr RNA. Finally, neuronal expression of the eCAGr RNA by adeno-associated virus injection caused significant behavioral deficits in mice. Our study demonstrates the existence of RNA gelation inside the cells and reveals its functional impact, providing insights into repeat expansion diseases and functional impacts of RNA phase transition.

DOI

10.1038/s41589-023-01384-5

Publication Date

2023-11-01

Publication Title

Nature Chemical Biology

Volume

19

Issue

11

First Page

1372

Last Page

1383

ISSN

1552-4450

Embargo Period

2024-02-16

Organisational Unit

Peninsula Medical School

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