Paterna De Rivera, Spain
Paterna De Rivera, Spain
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Yenigun V.B.,University of Houston | Yenigun V.B.,Bezmialem Foundation University | Sirito M.,University of Houston | Amcheslavky A.,University of Massachusetts Medical School | And 10 more authors.
DMM Disease Models and Mechanisms | Year: 2017

The myotonic dystrophies are prototypic toxic RNA gain-of-function diseases. Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) and type 2 (DM2) are caused by different unstable, noncoding microsatellite repeat expansions - (CTG)DM1 in DMPK and (CCTG)DM2 in CNBP. Although transcription of mutant repeats into (CUG)DM1 or (CCUG)DM2 appears to be necessary and sufficient to cause disease, their pathomechanisms remain incompletely understood. To study the mechanisms of (CCUG)DM2 toxicity and develop a convenient model for drug screening, we generated a transgenic DM2 model in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster with (CCUG)n repeats of variable length (n=16 and 106). Expression of noncoding (CCUG)106, but not (CCUG)16, in muscle and retinal cells led to the formation of ribonuclear foci and mis-splicing of genes implicated in DM pathology. Mis-splicing could be rescued by co-expression of human MBNL1, but not by CUGBP1 (CELF1) complementation. Flies with (CCUG)106 displayed strong disruption of external eye morphology and of the underlying retina. Furthermore, expression of (CCUG)106 in developing retinae caused a strong apoptotic response. Inhibition of apoptosis rescued theretinal disruptionin(CCUG)106 flies. Finally, we tested two chemical compounds that have shown therapeutic potential in DM1 models. Whereas treatment of (CCUG)106 flies with pentamidine had no effect, treatment with a PKR inhibitor blocked both the formation of RNA foci and apoptosis in retinae of (CCUG)106 flies. Our data indicate that expression of expanded (CCUG)DM2 repeats is toxic, causing inappropriate cell death in affected fly eyes. Our Drosophila DM2 model might provide a convenient tool for in vivo drug screening. © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


Fernandez-Costa J.M.,University of Valencia | Fernandez-Costa J.M.,Valentia Biopharma | Garcia-Lopez A.,University of Valencia | Zuniga S.,Sistemas Genomicos Ltd | And 16 more authors.
Human Molecular Genetics | Year: 2013

Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is caused by the expansion of CTG repeats in the 3' untranslated region of the DMPK gene. Several missplicing events and transcriptional alterations have been described in DM1 patients. A large number of these defects have been reproduced in animal models expressing CTG repeats alone. Recent studies have also reported miRNA dysregulation in DM1 patients. In this work, a Drosophila model was used to investigate miRNA transcriptome alterations in the muscle, specifically triggered by CTG expansions. Twenty miRNAs were differentially expressed in CTG-expressing flies. Of these, 19 were down-regulated, whereas 1 was up-regulated. This trend was confirmed for those miRNAs conserved between Drosophila and humans (miR-1, miR-7 and miR-10) in muscle biopsies from DM1 patients. Consistently, at least seven target transcripts of these miRNAs were up-regulated in DM1 skeletal muscles. The mechanisms involved in dysregulation of miR-7 included a reduction of its primary precursor both in CTG-expressing flies and in DM1 patients. Additionally, a regulatory role for Muscleblind (Mbl) was also suggested for miR-1 and miR-7, as these miRNAs were down-regulated in flies where Mbl had been silenced. Finally, the physiological relevance of miRNA dysregulation was demonstrated for miR-10, since over-expression of this miRNA in Drosophila extended the lifespan of CTG-expressing flies. Taken together, our results contribute to our understanding of the origin and the role of miRNA alterations in DM1. © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Garcia-Alcover I.,Valentia Biopharma | Garcia-Alcover I.,University of Valencia | Colonques-Bellmunt J.,Valentia Biopharma | Garijo R.,Valentia Biopharma | And 9 more authors.
DMM Disease Models and Mechanisms | Year: 2014

Alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs is an important mechanism that regulates cellular function in higher eukaryotes. A growing number of human genetic diseases involve splicing defects that are directly connected to their pathology. In myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), several clinical manifestations have been proposed to be the consequence of tissue-specific missplicing of numerous genes. These events are triggered by an RNA gain-of-function and resultant deregulation of specific RNA-binding factors, such as the nuclear sequestration of muscleblind-like family factors (MBNL1-MBNL3). Thus, the identification of chemical modulators of splicing events could lead to the development of the first valid therapy for DM1 patients. To this end, we have generated and validated transgenic flies that contain a luciferase-reporter-based system that is coupled to the expression of MBNL1-reliant splicing (spliceosensor flies), to assess events that are deregulated in DM1 patients in a relevant disease tissue. We then developed an innovative 96-well plate screening platform to carry out in vivo high-throughput pharmacological screening (HTS) with the spliceosensor model. After a large-scale evaluation (>16,000 chemical entities), several reliable splicing modulators (hits) were identified. Hit validation steps recognized separate DM1-linked therapeutic traits for some of the hits, which corroborated the feasibility of the approach described herein to reveal promising drug candidates to correct missplicing in DM1. This powerful Drosophila-based screening tool might also be applied in other disease models displaying abnormal alternative splicing, thus offering myriad uses in drug discovery. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd


Moreno L.,University of Valencia | Cabedo N.,Instituto Agroforestal Mediterraneo | Ivorra M.D.,University of Valencia | Sanz M.-J.,University of Valencia | And 3 more authors.
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters | Year: 2013

Dopamine-mediated neurotransmission plays an important role in relevant psychiatric and neurological disorders. Nowadays, there is an enormous interest in the development of new drugs acting at the dopamine receptors (DR) as potential new targets for the treatment of schizophrenia or Parkinson's disease. Previous studies have revealed that isoquinoline compounds such as tetrahydroisoquinolines (THIQs) can behave as selective D2 dopaminergic alkaloids. In the present study we have synthesized five aporphine compounds and five phenanthrene alkaloids and evaluated their potential dopaminergic activity. Binding studies on rat striatal membranes were used to evaluate their affinity and selectivity towards D1 and D2 DR. Phenanthrene type alkaloids, in particular the 3,4-dihydroxy- and 3,4-methylenedioxy derivatives, displayed high selectivity towards D2 DR. Therefore, they are potential candidates to be used in the treatment of schizophrenia (antagonists) or Parkinson's disease (agonists) due to their scarce D1 DR-associated side effects. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Garcia-Alcover I.,Valentia Biopharma | Castel A.L.,Valentia Biopharma | Perez-Alonso M.,Valentia Biopharma | Artero R.,University of Valencia
Drug Discovery Today: Technologies | Year: 2013

Myotonic dystrophy (DM) is a complex neuromuscular genetic disease for which there is currently no valid therapy. The recent development of non-mammal animal models opened up the possibility of performing drug discovery in vivo, using as screening readout phenotypes with underlying molecular parallels to the disease. In this review we discuss the state of the art technologies already used in large scale drug screening and provide guidance for further development of novel technologies. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Valentia Biopharma and University of Valencia
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Disease models & mechanisms | Year: 2014

Alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs is an important mechanism that regulates cellular function in higher eukaryotes. A growing number of human genetic diseases involve splicing defects that are directly connected to their pathology. In myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), several clinical manifestations have been proposed to be the consequence of tissue-specific missplicing of numerous genes. These events are triggered by an RNA gain-of-function and resultant deregulation of specific RNA-binding factors, such as the nuclear sequestration of muscleblind-like family factors (MBNL1-MBNL3). Thus, the identification of chemical modulators of splicing events could lead to the development of the first valid therapy for DM1 patients. To this end, we have generated and validated transgenic flies that contain a luciferase-reporter-based system that is coupled to the expression of MBNL1-reliant splicing (spliceosensor flies), to assess events that are deregulated in DM1 patients in a relevant disease tissue. We then developed an innovative 96-well plate screening platform to carry out in vivo high-throughput pharmacological screening (HTS) with the spliceosensor model. After a large-scale evaluation (>16,000 chemical entities), several reliable splicing modulators (hits) were identified. Hit validation steps recognized separate DM1-linked therapeutic traits for some of the hits, which corroborated the feasibility of the approach described herein to reveal promising drug candidates to correct missplicing in DM1. This powerful Drosophila-based screening tool might also be applied in other disease models displaying abnormal alternative splicing, thus offering myriad uses in drug discovery.


Patent
Valentia Biopharma | Date: 2014-06-18

Phenanthrene derivatives of formula I for use as medicaments. The present invention refers to phenanthrene derivatives for use as medicaments, mainly in the prevention and/or treatment of DM1, HDL2, SCA8, DM2, SCA3, FXTAS, FTD/ALS, and SCA31. In a preferred embodiment, phenanthrene derivatives of the invention are also used as antimyotonic agents.

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