Departments of *Neurology ‡Ophthalmology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oulu †Clinical Research Center, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland §Neuromuscular Diseases Research Unit, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD ∥Department of Neurology, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Eastern Finland ¶Department of Neurology, Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a genetically heterogenous syndrome and has been associated most recently with a hexanucleotide repeat expansion within the C9ORF72 gene. Pathogenic TDP-43 gene (TARDBP) mutations have been identified in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but the role of TARDBP mutations in FTLD is more contradictory. To investigate the role of TARDBP mutations in a clinical series of Finnish FTLD patients, we sequenced TARDBP exons 1 to 6 in 77 FTLD patients. No evident pathogenic mutations were found. We identified a novel heterozygous c.876_878delCAG sequence variant in 2 related patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia without amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The variant is predicted to cause an amino acid deletion of serine at position 292 (p.Ser292del). However, p.Ser292del was also found in 1 healthy middle-aged control. Interestingly, both patients carried the C9ORF72 expansion. Therefore, the TARDBP variant p.Ser292del might be considered a rare polymorphism and the C9ORF72 repeat expansion the actual disease-causing mutation in the family. Our results suggest that TARDBP mutations are a rare cause of FTLD. However, the interaction of several genetic factors needs to be taken into account when investigating neurodegenerative diseases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Profilin 1 is a central regulator of actin dynamics. Mutations in the gene profilin 1 (PFN1) have very recently been shown to be the cause of a subgroup of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here, we performed a large screen of US, Nordic, and German familial and sporadic ALS and frontotemporal dementia (FTLD) patients for PFN1 mutations to get further insight into the spectrum and pathogenic relevance of this gene for the complete ALS/FTLD continuum. Four hundred twelve familial and 260 sporadic ALS cases and 16 ALS/FTLD cases from Germany, the Nordic countries, and the United States were screened for PFN1 mutations. Phenotypes of patients carrying PFN1 mutations were studied. In a German ALS family we identified the novel heterozygous PFN1 mutation p.Thr109Met, which was absent in controls. This novel mutation abrogates a phosphorylation site in profilin 1. The recently described p.Gln117Gly sequence variant was found in another familial ALS patient from the United States. The ALS patients with mutations in PFN1 displayed spinal onset motor neuron disease without overt cognitive involvement. PFN1 mutations were absent in patients with motor neuron disease and dementia, and in patients with only FTLD. We provide further evidence that PFN1 mutations can cause ALS as a Mendelian dominant trait. Patients carrying PFN1 mutations reported so far represent the "classic" ALS end of the ALS-FTLD spectrum. The novel p.Thr109Met mutation provides additional proof-of-principle that mutant proteins involved in the regulation of cytoskeletal dynamics can cause motor neuron degeneration. Moreover, this new mutation suggests that fine-tuning of actin polymerization by phosphorylation of profilin 1 might be necessary for motor neuron survival.
Neurobiology of aging 11/2012; 34(6). DOI:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.10.009 · 5.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify potential genetic modifiers contributing to the phenotypic variability that is detected in patients with repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72), we investigated the frequency of these expansions in a cohort of 334 subjects previously found to carry mutations in genes known to be associated with a spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases.
A 2-step protocol, with a fluorescent PCR and a repeat-primed PCR, was used to determine the presence of hexanucleotide expansions in C9ORF72. For one double mutant, we performed Southern blots to assess expansion sizes, and immunohistochemistry to characterize neuropathology.
We detected C9ORF72 repeat expansions in 4 of 334 subjects (1.2% [or 1.8% of 217 families]). All these subjects had behavioral phenotypes and also harbored well-known pathogenic mutations in either progranulin (GRN: p.C466LfsX46, p.R493X, p.C31LfsX35) or microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT: p.P301L). Southern blotting of one double mutant with a p.C466LfsX46 GRN mutation demonstrated a long repeat expansion in brain (>3,000 repeats), and immunohistochemistry showed mixed neuropathology with characteristics of both C9ORF72 expansions and GRN mutations.
Our findings indicate that co-occurrence of 2 evidently pathogenic mutations could contribute to the pleiotropy that is detected in patients with C9ORF72 repeat expansions. These findings suggest that patients with known mutations should not be excluded from further studies, and that genetic counselors should be aware of this phenomenon when advising patients and their family members.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The discovery of the C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansion in 2011 and the immediate realisation of a remarkably high prevalence in both familial and sporadic frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) triggered an explosion of interest in studies aiming to define the associated clinical and investigation phenotypes and attempts to develop technologies to measure more accurately the size of the repeat region. This article reviews progress in these areas over the subsequent 2 years, focussing on issues directly relevant to the practising physician. First, we summarise findings from studies regarding the global prevalence of the expansion, not only in FTLD and ALS cases, but also in other neurological diseases and its concurrence with other genetic mutations associated with FTLD and ALS. Second, we discuss the variability in normal repeat number in cases and controls and the theories regarding the relevance of intermediate and pathological repeat number for disease risk and clinical phenotype. Third, we discuss the usefulness of various features within the FTLD and ALS clinical phenotype in aiding differentiation between cases with and without the C9ORF72 expansion. Fourth, we review clinical investigations used to identify cases with the expansion, including neuroimaging and cerebrospinal fluid markers, and describe the mechanisms and limitations of the various diagnostic laboratory techniques used to quantify repeat number in cases and controls. Finally, we discuss the issues surrounding accurate clinical and technological diagnosis of patients with FTLD and/or ALS associated with the C9ORF72 expansion, and outline areas for future research that might aid better diagnosis and genetic counselling of patients with seemingly sporadic or familial FTLD or ALS and their relatives.
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