Expansion of CAG and CTG (CWG) triplet repeats causes several inherited neurological diseases. The CWG repeat diseases are thought to involve complex pathogenic mechanisms through expanded CWG repeat–derived RNAs in a noncoding region and polypeptides in a coding region, respectively. However, an effective therapeutic approach has not been established for the CWG repeat diseases. Here, we show that a CWG repeat DNA–targeting compound, cyclic pyrrole–imidazole polyamide (CWG-cPIP), suppressed the pathogenesis of coding and noncoding CWG repeat diseases. CWG-cPIP bound to the hairpin form of mismatched CWG DNA, interfering with transcription elongation by RNA polymerase through a preferential activity toward repeat-expanded DNA. We found that CWG-cPIP selectively inhibited pathogenic mRNA transcripts from expanded CWG repeats, reducing CUG RNA foci and polyglutamine accumulation in cells from patients with myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) and Huntington’s disease (HD). Treatment with CWG-cPIP ameliorated behavioral deficits in adeno-associated virus–mediated CWG repeat–expressing mice and in a genetic mouse model of HD, without cytotoxicity or off-target effects. Together, we present a candidate compound that targets expanded CWG repeat DNA independently of its genomic location and reduces both pathogenic RNA and protein levels. CWG-cPIP may be used for the treatment of CWG repeat diseases and improvement of clinical outcomes.
Susumu Ikenoshita, Kazuya Matsuo, Yasushi Yabuki, Kosuke Kawakubo, Sefan Asamitsu, Karin Hori, Shingo Usuki, Yuki Hirose, Toshikazu Bando, Kimi Araki, Mitsuharu Ueda, Hiroshi Sugiyama, Norifumi Shioda
Transcriptional inhibition of CWG repeat DNA by CWG-cPIP.