Mutations in the SLC20A2-gene encoding the inorganic phosphate (Pi) transporter PiT2 can explain approximately 40 % of the familial cases of the rare neurodegenerative disorder primary familial brain calcification (Fahr’s disease). The disease characteristic, cerebrovascular-associated calcifications, is also present in Slc20a2-knockout (KO) mice. Little is known about the specific role(s) of PiT2 in the brain. Recent in vitro studies, however, suggest a role in regulation of the [Pi] in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). We here show that Slc20a2-KO mice indeed have a high CSF [Pi] in agreement with a role of PiT2 in Pi export from the CSF. The implications in relation to disease mechanism are discussed.
Childhood meningiomas are rare. Recently, a new hereditary tumor predisposition syndrome has been discovered, resulting in an increased risk for spinal and intracranial clear cell meningiomas (CCMs) in young patients. Heterozygous loss-of-function germline mutations in the SMARCE1 gene are causative, giving rise to an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern. We report on an extended family with a pediatric CCM patient and an adult CCM patient and several asymptomatic relatives carrying a germline SMARCE1 mutation, and discuss difficulties in genetic counseling for this heritable condition. Because of the few reported cases so far, the lifetime risk of developing meningiomas for SMARCE1 mutation carriers is unclear and the complete tumor spectrum is unknown. There is no surveillance guideline for asymptomatic carriers nor a long-term follow-up recommendation for SMARCE1-related CCM patients as yet. Until more information is available about the penetrance and tumor spectrum of the condition, we propose the following screening advice for asymptomatic SMARCE1 mutation carriers: neurological examination and MRI of the brain and spine, yearly from diagnosis until the age of 18 and once every 3 years thereafter, or in between if there are clinical symptoms. This advice can also be used for long-term patient follow-up. More data is needed to optimize this proposed screening advice.
Synucleinopathies are a group of neurodegenerative diseases that share a common pathological lesion of intracellular protein inclusions largely composed by aggregates of alpha-synuclein protein. Accumulating evidence, including genome wide association studies, has implicated alpha-synuclein (SNCA) gene in the etiology of synucleinopathies. However, the precise variants within SNCA gene that contribute to the sporadic forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), multiple system atrophy (MSA), and other synucleinopathies and their molecular mechanisms of action remain elusive. It has been suggested that SNCA expression levels are critical for the development of these diseases. Here, we review several model systems that have been developed to advance the understanding of the role of SNCA expression levels in the etiology of synucleinopathies. We also describe different molecular mechanisms that regulate SNCA gene expression and discuss possible strategies for SNCA down-regulation as means for therapeutic approaches. Finally, we highlight some examples that underscore the relationships between the genetic association findings and the regulatory mechanisms of SNCA expression, which suggest that genetic variability in SNCA locus is directly responsible, at least in part, to the changes in gene expression and explain the reported associations of SNCA with synucleinopathies. Future studies utilizing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)—derived neuronal lines and genome editing by CRISPR/Cas9, will allow us to validate, characterize, and manipulate the effects of particular cis-genetic variants on SNCA expression. Moreover, this model system will enable us to compare different neuronal and glial lineages involved in synucleinopathies representing an attractive strategy to elucidate—common and specific—SNCA-genetic variants, regulatory mechanisms, and vulnerable expression levels underlying synucleinopathy spectrum disorders. This forthcoming knowledge will support the development of precision medicine for synucleinopathies.
Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) results in variable clinical outcomes, which may be influenced by genetic variation. A single-nucleotide polymorphism in catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme which degrades catecholamine neurotransmitters, may influence cognitive deficits following moderate and/or severe head trauma. However, this has been disputed, and its role in mTBI has not been studied. Here, we utilize the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury Pilot (TRACK-TBI Pilot) study to investigate whether the COMT Val (158) Met polymorphism influences outcome on a cognitive battery 6 months following mTBI-Wechsler Adult Intelligence Test Processing Speed Index Composite Score (WAIS-PSI), Trail Making Test (TMT) Trail B minus Trail A time, and California Verbal Learning Test, Second Edition Trial 1-5 Standard Score (CVLT-II). All patients had an emergency department Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 13-15, no acute intracranial pathology on head CT, and no polytrauma as defined by an Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) score of a parts per thousand yen3 in any extracranial region. Results in 100 subjects aged 40.9 (SD 15.2) years (COMT Met (158) /Met (158) 29 %, Met (158) /Val (158) 47 %, Val (158) /Val (158) 24 %) show that the COMT Met (158) allele (mean 101.6 +/- SE 2.1) associates with higher nonverbal processing speed on the WAIS-PSI when compared to Val (158) /Val (158) homozygotes (93.8 +/- SE 3.0) after controlling for demographics and injury severity (mean increase 7.9 points, 95 % CI [1.4 to 14.3], p = 0.017). The COMT Val (158) Met polymorphism did not associate with mental flexibility on the TMT or with verbal learning on the CVLT-II. Hence, COMT Val (158) Met may preferentially modulate nonverbal cognition following uncomplicated mTBI. Registry: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01565551.
textabstractMild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) results in variable clinical outcomes, which may be influenced by genetic variation. A single-nucleotide polymorphism in catechol-o-methyltransferase (COMT), an enzyme which degrades catecholamine neurotransmitters, may influence cognitive deficits following moderate and/or severe head trauma. However, this has been disputed, and its role in mTBI has not been studied. Here, we utilize the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury Pilot (TRACK-TBI Pilot) study to investigate whether the COMT Val158Met polymorphism influences outcome on a cognitive battery 6 months following mTBI—Wechsler Adult Intelligence Test Processing Speed Index Composite Score (WAIS-PSI), Trail Making Test (TMT) Trail B minus Trail A time, and California Verbal Learning Test, Second Edition Trial 1–5 Standard Score (CVLT-II). All patients had an emergency department Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) of 13–15, no acute intracranial pathology on head CT, and no polytrauma as defined by an Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) score of ≥3 in any extracranial region. Results in 100 subjects aged 40.9 (SD 15.2) years (COMT Met158/Met158 29 %, Met158/Val158 47 %, Val158/Val158 24 %) show that the COMT Met158 allele (mean 101.6 ± SE 2.1) associates with higher nonverbal processing speed on the WAIS-PSI when compared to Val158/Val158 homozygotes (93.8 ± SE 3.0) after controlling for demographics and injury severity (mean increase 7.9 points, 95 % CI [1.4 to 14.3], p = 0.017). The COMT Val158Met polymorphism did not associate with mental flexibility on the TMT or with verbal learning on the CVLT-II. Hence, COMT Val158Met may preferentially modulate nonverbal cognition following uncomplicated mTBI. Registry: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT01565551
We report the clinical and biochemical findings from two unrelated patients who presented with a novel syndrome: encephalopathy, intellectual disability, severe hypotonia, chorea and optic atrophy. Whole exome sequencing (WES) uncovered a homozygous mutation in the ATP8A2 gene (NM_016529:c.1287G > T, p.K429N) in one patient and compound heterozygous mutations (c.1630G > C, p.A544P and c.1873C > T, p.R625W) in the other. Only one haploinsufficiency case and a family with a homozygous mutation in ATP8A2 gene (c.1128C > G, p.I376M) have been described so far, with phenotypes that differed slightly from the patients described herein. In conclusion, our data expand both the genetic and phenotypic spectrum associated with ATP8A2 gene mutations.
We performed whole genome sequencing (WGS) in nine families from India with early-onset hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). We obtained a genetic diagnosis in 4/9 (44 %) families within known HSP genes (DDHD2 and CYP2U1), as well as perixosomal biogenesis disorders (PEX16) and GM1 gangliosidosis (GLB1). In the remaining patients, no candidate structural variants, copy number variants or predicted splice variants affecting an extended candidate gene list were identified. Our findings demonstrate the efficacy of using WGS for diagnosing early-onset HSP, particularly in consanguineous families (4/6 diagnosed), highlighting that two of the diagnoses would not have been made using a targeted approach.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) often leads to heterogeneous clinical outcomes, which may be influenced by genetic variation. A single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) may influence cognitive deficits following TBI. However, part of the association with DRD2 has been attributed to genetic variability within the adjacent ankyrin repeat and kinase domain containing 1 protein (ANKK1). Here, we utilize the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury Pilot (TRACK-TBI Pilot) study to investigate whether a novel DRD2 C957T polymorphism (rs6277) influences outcome on a cognitive battery at 6 months following TBI—California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT-II), Wechsler Adult Intelligence Test Processing Speed Index Composite Score (WAIS-PSI), and Trail Making Test (TMT). Results in 128 Caucasian subjects show that the rs6277 T-allele associates with better verbal learning and recall on CVLT-II Trials 1–5 (T-allele carrier 52.8 ± 1.3 points, C/C 47.9 ± 1.7 points; mean increase 4.9 points, 95% confidence interval [0.9 to 8.8]; p = 0.018), Short-Delay Free Recall (T-carrier 10.9 ± 0.4 points, C/C 9.7 ± 0.5 points; mean increase 1.2 points [0.1 to 2.5]; p = 0.046), and Long-Delay Free Recall (T-carrier 11.5 ± 0.4 points, C/C 10.2 ± 0.5 points; mean increase 1.3 points [0.1 to 2.5]; p = 0.041) after adjusting for age, education years, Glasgow Coma Scale, presence of acute intracranial pathology on head computed tomography scan, and genotype of the ANKK1 SNP rs1800497 using multivariable regression. No association was found between DRD2 C947T and non-verbal processing speed (WAIS-PSI) or mental flexibility (TMT) at 6 months. Hence, DRD2 C947T (rs6277) may be associated with better performance on select cognitive domains independent of ANKK1 following TBI.
Axenfeld-Rieger syndrome (ARS) is a disorder affecting the anterior segment of the eye, often leading to secondary glaucoma and several systemic malformations. It is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion that has been associated with genetic defects in PITX2 and FOXC1. Known genes CYP1b1, PITX2, and FOXC1 were excluded by Sanger sequencing. The purpose of current study is to identify the underlying genetic causes in ARS family by whole exome sequencing (WES). WES was performed for affected proband of family, and variants were prioritized based on in silico analyses. Segregation analysis of candidate variants was performed in family members. A novel heterozygous PRDM5 missense variant (c.877A>G; p.Lys293Glu) was found to segregate with the disease in an autosomal dominant fashion. The novel missense variant was absent from population-matched controls, the Exome Variant Server, and an in-house exome variant database. The Lys293Glu variant is predicted to be pathogenic and affects a lysine residue that is conserved in different species. Variants in the PRDM5 gene were previously identified in anterior segment defects, i.e., autosomal recessive brittle cornea syndrome and keratoconus. The results of this study suggest that genetic variants in PRDM5 can lead to various syndromic and nonsyndromic disorders affecting the anterior segment of the eye.
TMC1 encodes a protein required for the normal function of mechanically activated channels that enable sensory transduction in auditory and vestibular hair cells. TMC1 protein is localized at the tips of the hair cell stereocilia, the site of conventional mechanotransduction. In many populations, loss-of-function recessive mutations of TMC1 are associated with profound deafness across all frequencies tested. In six families reported here, variable moderate-to-severe or moderate-to-profound hearing loss co-segregated with STR (short tandem repeats) markers at the TMC1 locus DFNB7/11. Massively parallel and Sanger sequencing of genomic DNA revealed each family co-segregating hearing loss with a homozygous TMC1 mutation: two reported mutations (p.R34X and p.R389Q) and three novel mutations (p.S596R, p.N199I, and c.1404 + 1G > T). TMC1 cDNA sequence from affected subjects homozygous for the donor splice site transversion c.1404 + 1G > T revealed skipping of exon 16, deleting 60 amino acids from the TMC1 protein. Since the mutations in our study cause less than profound hearing loss, we speculate that there is hypo-functional TMC1 mechanotransduction channel activity and that other even less damaging variants of TMC1 may be associated with more common mild-to-severe sensorineural hearing loss.
Episodic ataxia type 1 (EA1) is an autosomal dominant channelopathy caused by mutations in KCNA1, which encodes the voltage-gated potassium channel, Kv1.1. Eleven members of an EA family were evaluated with molecular and functional studies. A novel c.746T>G (p.Phe249Cys) missense mutation of KCNA1 segregated in the family members with episodic ataxia, myokymia, and malignant hyperthermia susceptibility. No mutations were found in the known malignant hyperthermia genes RYR1 or CACNA1S. The Phe249Cys-Kv1.1 channels did not show any currents upon functional expression, confirming a pathogenic role of the mutation. Malignant hyperthermia may be a presentation of KCNA1 mutations, which has significant implications for the clinical care of these patients and illustrates the phenotypic heterogeneity of KCNA1 mutations.
Mutations in the KCNA1 gene are known to cause episodic ataxia/myokymia syndrome type 1 (EA1). Here, we describe two families with unique presentations who were enrolled in an IRB-approved study, extensively phenotyped, and whole exome sequencing (WES) performed. Family 1 had a diagnosis of isolated cataplexy triggered by sudden physical exertion in multiple affected individuals with heterogeneous neurological findings. All enrolled affected members carried a KCNA1 c.941T>C (p.I314T) mutation. Family 2 had an 8-year-old patient with muscle spasms with rigidity for whom WES revealed a previously reported heterozygous missense mutation in KCNA1 c.677C>G (p.T226R), confirming the diagnosis of EA1 without ataxia. WES identified variants in KCNA1 that explain both phenotypes expanding the phenotypic spectrum of diseases associated with mutations of this gene. KCNA1 mutations should be considered in patients of all ages with episodic neurological phenotypes, even when ataxia is not present. This is an example of the power of genomic approaches to identify pathogenic mutations in unsuspected genes responsible for heterogeneous diseases.
DNA repair mechanisms such as nucleotide excision repair (NER) and translesion synthesis (TLS) are dependent on proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), a DNA polymerase accessory protein. Recently, homozygosity for p.Ser228Ile mutation in the PCNA gene was reported in patients with neurodegeneration and impaired NER. Using exome sequencing, we identified a homozygous deleterious mutation, c.648delAG, in the PARP10 gene, in a patient suffering from severe developmental delay. In agreement, PARP10 protein was absent from the patient cells. We have previously shown that PARP10 is recruited by PCNA to DNA damage sites and is required for DNA damage resistance. The patient cells were significantly more sensitive to hydroxyurea and UV-induced DNA damage than control cells, resulting in increased apoptosis, indicating DNA repair impairment in the patient cells. PARP10 deficiency joins the long list of DNA repair defects associated with neurodegenerative disorders, including ataxia telangiectasia, xeroderma pigmentosum, Cockayne syndrome, and the recently reported PCNA mutation.
textabstractHuman immunodeficiency virus type I enhancer binding protein 2 (HIVEP2) has been previously associated with intellectual disability and developmental delay in three patients. Here, we describe six patients with developmental delay, intellectual disability, and dysmorphic features with de novo likely gene-damaging variants in HIVEP2 identified by whole-exome sequencing (WES). HIVEP2 encodes a large transcription factor that regulates various neurodevelopmental pathways. Our findings provide further evidence that pathogenic variants in HIVEP2 lead to intellectual disabilities and developmental delay.
Febrile-induced neurodegenerative diseases are a heterogeneous group of genetic disorders most commonly inborn errors of metabolism that result in irreversible damage involving the central nervous system. Here, we report on five siblings of consanguineous family who developed normally for the first 6–12 months of life then presented with a severe leukoencephalopathy following a trivial febrile illness. Using homozygosity mapping followed by whole exome sequencing, we identified a homozygous c. 281C>A mutation in the APOA1BP gene resulting in substitution of a highly conserved alanine residue with aspartic acid (p.Ala94Asp). APOA1BP encodes for epimerase that catalyzes the R to S epimerization of NAD(P)XH, a crucial step in the dehydration of these toxic metabolites accumulating during cellular metabolism. This is the first report of a defect in the nicotinamide nucleotide repair system in humans.
Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a heterotrimeric protein serine/threonine phosphatase and is involved in a broad range of cellular processes. PPP2R5D is a regulatory B subunit of PP2A and plays an important role in regulating key neuronal and developmental regulation processes such as PI3K/AKT and glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta (GSK3β)-mediated cell growth, chromatin remodeling, and gene transcriptional regulation. Using whole-exome sequencing (WES), we identified four de novo variants in PPP2R5D in a total of seven unrelated individuals with intellectual disability (ID) and other shared clinical characteristics, including autism spectrum disorder, macrocephaly, hypotonia, seizures, and dysmorphic features. Among the four variants, two have been previously reported and two are novel. All four amino acids are highly conserved among the PP2A subunit family, and all change a negatively charged acidic glutamic acid (E) to a positively charged basic lysine (K) and are predicted to disrupt the PP2A subunit binding and impair the dephosphorylation capacity. Our data provides further support for PPP2R5D as a genetic cause of ID.
Autosomal-recessive cerebellar atrophy is usually associated with inactivating mutations and early-onset presentation. The underlying molecular diagnosis suggests the involvement of neuronal survival pathways, but many mechanisms are still lacking and most patients elude genetic diagnosis. Using whole exome sequencing, we identified homozygous p.Val55Ala in the THG1L (tRNA-histidine guanylyltransferase 1 like) gene in three siblings who presented with cerebellar signs, developmental delay, dysarthria, and pyramidal signs and had cerebellar atrophy on brain MRI. THG1L protein was previously reported to participate in mitochondrial fusion via its interaction with MFN2. Abnormal mitochondrial fragmentation, including mitochondria accumulation around the nuclei and confinement of the mitochondrial network to the nuclear vicinity, was observed when patient fibroblasts were cultured in galactose containing medium. Culturing cells in galactose containing media promotes cellular respiration by oxidative phosphorylation and the action of the electron transport chain thus stimulating mitochondrial activity. The growth defect of the yeast thg1Δ strain was rescued by the expression of either yeast Thg1 or human THG1L; however, clear growth defect was observed following the expression of the human p.Val55Ala THG1L or the corresponding yeast mutant. A defect in the protein tRNAHis guanylyltransferase activity was excluded by the normal in vitro G−1 addition to either yeast tRNAHis or human mitochondrial tRNAHis in the presence of the THG1L mutation. We propose that homozygosity for the p.Val55Ala mutation in THG1L is the cause of the abnormal mitochondrial network in the patient fibroblasts, likely by interfering with THG1L activity towards MFN2. This may result in lack of mitochondria in the cerebellar Purkinje dendrites, with degeneration of Purkinje cell bodies and apoptosis of granule cells, as reported for MFN2 deficient mice.
Myopathy-lactic acidosis-sideroblastic anemia (MLASA) syndrome is a rare autosomal recessive disease. We studied a 43-year-old female presenting since childhood with mild cognitive impairment and sideroblastic anemia. She later developed hepatopathy, cardiomyopathy, and insulin-dependent diabetes. Muscle weakness appeared in adolescence and, at age 43, she was unable to walk. Two novel different mutations in the PUS1 gene were identified: c.487delA (p.I163Lfs*4) and c.884 G>A (p.R295Q). Quantitative analysis of DNA from skeletal muscle biopsies showed a significant increase in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content in the patient compared to controls. Clinical and molecular findings of this patient widen the genotype-phenotype spectrum in MLASA syndrome.
Hereditary paroxysmal dyskinesias (PxD) are a heterogeneous group of movement disorders classified by frequency, duration, and triggers of the episodes. A young-adult onset canine PxD has segregated as an autosomal recessive trait in Soft-Coated Wheaten Terriers. The medical records and videos of episodes from 25 affected dogs were reviewed. The episodes of hyperkinesia and dystonia lasted from several minutes to several hours and could occur as often as >10/day. They were not associated with strenuous exercise or fasting but were sometimes triggered by excitement. The canine PxD phenotype most closely resembled paroxysmal non-kinesigenic dyskinesia (PNKD) of humans. Whole genome sequences were generated with DNA from 2 affected dogs and analyzed in comparison to 100 control canid whole genome sequences. The two whole genome sequences from dogs with PxD had a rare homozygous PIGN:c.398C > T transition, which predicted the substitution of an isoleucine for a highly conserved threonine in the encoded enzyme. All 25 PxD-affected dogs were PIGN:c.398T allele homozygotes, whereas there were no c.398T homozygotes among 1185 genotyped dogs without known histories of PxD. PIGN encodes an enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI), which anchors a variety of proteins including CD59 to the cell surface. Flow cytometry of PIGN-knockout HEK239 cells expressing recombinant human PIGN with the c.398T variant showed reduced CD59 expression. Mutations in human PIGN have been associated with multiple congenital anomalies-hypotonia-seizures syndrome-1 (MCAHS1). Movement disorders can be a part of MCAHS1, but this is the first PxD associated with altered GPI anchor function.