Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
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Large-scale changes to mRNA polyadenylation in temporal lobe epilepsy

posted on 2020-07-10, 14:16 authored by Alberto Parras Rodriguez, Laura De Diego Garcia, Mariana AlvesMariana Alves, Edward Beamer, Giorgia Conte, Eva M Jimenez-Mateos, James Morgan, ivana olla, Yasmina Hernandez-Santana, Norman DelantyNorman Delanty, Michael A Farrell, Donncha F. O'Brien, Alejandro Ocampo, David HenshallDavid Henshall, Raul Mendez de la Iglesia, jose J Lucas, Tobias EngelTobias Engel
Temporal lobe epilepsy is the most common and refractory form of epilepsy in adults. Gene expression within affected structures such as the hippocampus displays extensive dysregulation and is implicated as a central pathomechanism. Post-transcriptional mechanisms are increasingly recognized as determinants of the gene expression landscape, but key mechanisms remain unexplored. Here we show, for first time, that cytoplasmic mRNA polyadenylation, one of the post-transcriptional mechanisms regulating gene expression, undergoes widespread reorganization in temporal lobe epilepsy. In the hippocampus of mice subjected to status epilepticus and epilepsy, we report 425% of the transcriptome displays changes in their poly(A) tail length, with deadenylation disproportionately affecting genes previously associated with epilepsy. Suggesting cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding proteins (CPEBs) being one of the main contributors to mRNA polyadenylation changes, transcripts targeted by CPEBs were particularly enriched among the gene pool undergoing poly(A) tail alterations during epilepsy. Transcripts bound by CPEB4 were over-represented among transcripts with poly(A) tail alterations and epilepsy-related genes and CPEB4 expression was found to be increased in mouse models of seizures and resected hippocampi from patients with drug-refractory temporal lobe epilepsy. Finally, supporting an adaptive function for CPEB4, deletion of Cpeb4 exacerbated seizure severity and neurodegeneration during status epilepticus and the development of epilepsy in mice. Together, these findings reveal an additional layer of gene expression regulation during epilepsy and point to novel targets for seizure control and disease-modification in epilepsy.


Health Research Board HRA-POR-2015-1243

Science Foundation Ireland (13/SIRG/2098 and 17/CDA/4708)

European Regional Development Fund

FutureNeuro industry partners 16/RC/3948

H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship (796600 and 753527)

European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement (766124)

ISCIII-CiberNed collaborative grants PI2015-2/06-3 and PI2018/06-1

MINECO/MCIU grants SAF2015-65371-R and RTI2018-096322-B-I00 from the MINECO/MCIU (BFU2017-83561-P)

Fundación BBVA

Fundación Bancaria “la Caixa”

Fundación La marato TV3

Scientific Foundation of the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC)

Fundación Ramón Areces

CIBERNED-Ayuda a la movilidad

Spark grant (SNSF) CRSK-3_190764/1

Severo Ochoa Award of Excellence from MINECO (Government of Spain)

CERCA Programme (Catalan Government)



This article has been accepted for publication in Brain. Published by Oxford University Press.

Published Citation

Parras A, et al. Polyadenylation of mRNA as a novel regulatory mechanism of gene expression in temporal lobe epilepsy. Brain. 2020;143(7):2139-2153.

Publication Date



  • Physiology and Medical Physics

Research Area

  • Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders


Oxford University Press


  • Submitted Version (Preprint)

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