Clinical and genetic heterogeneity in autosomal recessive nemaline myopathy

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Neuromuscular Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.13). 01/2000; 9(8):564-72. DOI: 10.1016/S0960-8966(99)00061-9
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Autosomal recessive nemaline (rod) myopathy is clinically and genetically heterogeneous. A clinically distinct, typical form, with onset in infancy and a non-progressive or slowly progressive course, has been assigned to a region on chromosome 2q22 harbouring the nebulin gene Mutations have now been found in this gene, confirming its causative role. The gene for slow tropomyosin TPM3 on chromosome 1q21, previously found to cause a dominantly inherited form, has recently been found to be homozygously mutated in one severe consanguineous case. Here we wished to determine the degree of genetic homogeneity or heterogeneity of autosomal recessive nemaline myopathy by linkage analysis of 45 families from 10 countries. Forty-one of the families showed linkage results compatible with linkage to markers in the nebulin region, the highest combined lod scores at zero recombination being 14.13 for the marker D2S2236. We found no indication of genetic heterogeneity for the typical form of nemaline myopathy. In four families with more severe forms of nemaline myopathy, however, linkage to both the nebulin and the TPM3 locus was excluded. Our results indicate that at least three genetic loci exist for autosomal recessive nemaline myopathy. Studies of additional families are needed to localise the as yet unknown causative genes, and to fully elucidate genotype-phenotype correlations.

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    ABSTRACT: Nemaline myopathy (NM) is a rare genetic muscle disorder, but one of the most common among the congenital myopathies. NM is caused by mutations in at least nine genes: Nebulin (NEB), α-actin (ACTA1), α-tropomyosin (TPM3), β-tropomyosin (TPM2), troponin T (TNNT1), cofilin-2 (CFL2), Kelch repeat and BTB (POZ) domain-containing 13 (KBTBD13), and Kelch-like family members 40 and 41 (KLHL40 and KLHL41). Nebulin is a giant (600 to 900 kDa) filamentous protein constituting part of the skeletal muscle thin filament. Around 90% of the primary structure of nebulin is composed of approximately 35-residue α-helical domains, which form super repeats that bind actin with high affinity. Each super repeat has been proposed to harbor one tropomyosin-binding site.
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    ABSTRACT: Skeletal muscle function was measured in anaesthetised transgenic mice having a mutation in the TPM3 gene (slow α-tropomyosin), a similar mutation as found in some patients with nemaline myopathy, and was compared with control muscles. Measurements of isometric and dynamic muscle performance were done with electrical nerve stimulation at physiological temperatures. No muscle weakness was found in the transgenic muscles when performance was measured at muscle optimum length. This was true not only with full activation but also at lower activation levels, indicating that calcium sensitivity was not affected at this length. Also, fatigability was not affected in these conditions. However, isometric force of the muscles with the mutation in TPM3 was lower at lengths below optimum, with more impairment at decreasing length. As the muscles are active over a large range of different muscle lengths during daily activities, this finding may explain, at least in part, the muscle weakness experienced by patients with nemaline myopathy.
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