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SINEUP non-coding RNAs rescue defective frataxin expression and activity in a cellular model of Friedreich's Ataxia

SINEUPs are natural and synthetic antisense long non-coding RNAs, which promote translation of partially overlapping mRNAs through the activity of an embedded SINEB2 domain. Here, by in vitro screening, a number of SINEUPs targeting human FXN mRNA and capable to up-regulate frataxin protein to physiological amounts acting at the post-transcriptional level have been identified. Furthermore, FXN-specific SINEUPs promote the recovery of disease-associated mitochondrial aconitase defects in FRDA-derived cells. This research provides evidence that SINEUPs may be the first gene-specific therapeutic approach to activate FXN translation in FRDA and, more broadly, a novel scalable platform to develop new RNA-based therapies for haploinsufficient diseases.

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