HuD regulates SOD1 expression during oxidative stress in differentiated neuroblastoma cells and sporadic ALS motor cortex

Michela Dell'Orco, Valentina Sardone, Amy S Gardiner, Orietta Pansarasa, Matteo Bordoni, Nora I Perrone-Bizzozero, Cristina Cereda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The neuronal RNA-binding protein (RBP) HuD plays an important role in brain development, synaptic plasticity and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's (PD) and Alzheimer's (AD). Bioinformatics analysis of the human SOD1 mRNA 3' untranslated region (3'UTR) demonstrated the presence of HuD binding adenine-uridine (AU)-rich instability-conferring elements (AREs). Using differentiated SH-SY5Y cells along with brain tissues from sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (sALS) patients, we assessed HuD-dependent regulation of SOD1 mRNA. In vitro binding and mRNA decay assays demonstrate that HuD specifically binds to SOD1 ARE motifs promoting mRNA stabilization. In SH-SY5Y cells, overexpression of full-length HuD increased SOD1 mRNA and protein levels while a dominant negative form of the RBP downregulated its expression. HuD regulation of SOD1 mRNA was also found to be oxidative stress (OS)-dependent, as shown by the increased HuD binding and upregulation of this mRNA after H2O2 exposure. This treatment also induced a shift in alternative polyadenylation (APA) site usage in SOD1 3'UTR, increasing the levels of a long variant bearing HuD binding sites. The requirement of HuD for SOD1 upregulation during oxidative damage was validated using a specific siRNA that downregulated HuD protein levels to 36% and prevented upregulation of SOD1 and 91 additional genes. In the motor cortex from sALS patients, we found increases in SOD1 and HuD mRNAs and proteins, accompanied by greater HuD binding to this mRNA as confirmed by RNA-immunoprecipitation (RIP) assays. Altogether, our results suggest a role of HuD in the post-transcriptional regulation of SOD1 expression during ALS pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105211
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2021


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