Targeting Alternative Splicing as a Potential Therapy for Episodic Ataxia Type 2

Fanny Jaudon, Simona Baldassari, Ilaria Musante, Agnes Thalhammer, Federico Zara, Lorenzo A Cingolani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Episodic ataxia type 2 (EA2) is an autosomal dominant neurological disorder characterized by paroxysmal attacks of ataxia, vertigo, and nausea that usually last hours to days. It is caused by loss-of-function mutations in CACNA1A, the gene encoding the pore-forming α1 subunit of P/Q-type voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. Although pharmacological treatments, such as acetazolamide and 4-aminopyridine, exist for EA2, they do not reduce or control the symptoms in all patients. CACNA1A is heavily spliced and some of the identified EA2 mutations are predicted to disrupt selective isoforms of this gene. Modulating splicing of CACNA1A may therefore represent a promising new strategy to develop improved EA2 therapies. Because RNA splicing is dysregulated in many other genetic diseases, several tools, such as antisense oligonucleotides, trans-splicing, and CRISPR-based strategies, have been developed for medical purposes. Here, we review splicing-based strategies used for genetic disorders, including those for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular dystrophy, and frontotemporal dementia with Parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17, and discuss their potential applicability to EA2.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 5 2020


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