Molecular and functional analysis of the HEXB gene in Italian patients affected with Sandhoff disease: Identification of six novel alleles

Unità di Malattie Metaboliche, IRCCS Burlo Garofolo, Trieste, Italy.
Neurogenetics (Impact Factor: 2.88). 09/2008; 10(1):49-58. DOI: 10.1007/s10048-008-0145-1
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ABSTRACT We report the molecular characterization of 12 unrelated Italian patients affected with Sandhoff disease (SD), a recessively inherited disorder caused by mutations in HEXB gene. We identified 11 different mutations of which six are novel: one large deletion of 2,406 nt, (c.299+1471_408del2406), one frameshift mutation c.965delT (p.I322fsX32), one nonsense c.1372C>T (p.Q458X), and three splicing mutations (c.299G>T, c.300-2A>G and c.512-1G>T). One allele was only characterized at the messenger RNA (mRNA) level (r = 1170_1242del). Real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis of the HEXB mRNA from fibroblasts derived from patients carrying the novel point mutations showed that the presence of the premature termination codon in the transcript bearing the mutation c.965delT triggers the nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) pathway, which results in the degradation of the aberrant mRNA. The presence of the c.299G>T mutation leads to the degradation of the mutated mRNA by a mechanism other than NMD, while mutations c.300-2A>G and c.512-1G>T cause the expression of aberrant transcripts. In our group, the most frequent mutation was c.850C>T (p.R284X) representing 29% of the alleles. Haplotype analysis suggested that this mutation did not originate from a single genetic event. Interestingly, the common 16-kb deletion mutation was absent. This work provides valuable information regarding the molecular genetics of SD in Italy and provides new insights into the molecular basis of the disease.

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Available from: Emanuele Buratti, Sep 26, 2015
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    • "Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood leukocytes or cultured fibroblasts with Imp DNA blood Mini Kit (Qiagen GmbH, Hilden, Germany). The exonic and flanking intronic sequences of the HEXB gene were amplified by PCR and analyzed by automated sequencing (ABI Prism 3500xl genetic analyzer) as previously reported [6]. Putative mutations were confirmed by sequencing duplicate PCR products and by the DNA analysis from parents and relatives whenever possible. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sandhoff disease (SD) is a lysosomal disorder caused by mutations in the HEXB gene. To date, 43 mutations of HEXB have been described, including 3 large deletions. Here, we have characterized 14 unrelated SD patients and developed a Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA) assay to investigate the presence of large HEXB deletions. Overall, we identified 16 alleles, 9 of which were novel, including 4 sequence variation leading to aminoacid changes [c.626C>T (p.T209I), c.634C>A (p.H212N), c.926G>T (p.C309F), c.1451G>A (p.G484E)] 3 intronic mutations (c.1082+5G>A, c.1242+1G>A, c.1169+5G>A), 1 nonsense mutation c.146C>A (p.S49X) and 1 small in-frame deletion c.1260_1265delAGTTGA (p.V421_E422del). Using the new MLPA assay, 2 previously described deletions were identified. In vitro expression studies showed that proteins bearing aminoacid changes p.T209I and p.G484E presented a very low or absent activity, while proteins bearing the p.H212N and p.C309F changes retained a significant residual activity. The detrimental effect of the 3 novel intronic mutations on the HEXB mRNA processing was demonstrated using a minigene assay. Unprecedentedly, minigene studies revealed the presence of a novel alternative spliced HEXB mRNA variant also present in normal cells. In conclusion, we provided new insights into the molecular basis of SD and validated an MLPA assay for detecting large HEXB deletions.
    PLoS ONE 07/2012; 7(7):e41516. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0041516 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sandhoff disease (SD) is a lysosomal storage disorder due to mutations in the gene encoding for the beta-subunit of beta-hexosaminidase, that result in beta-hexosaminidase A (alphabeta) and beta-hexosaminidase B (betabeta) deficiency. This leads to the storage of GM2 ganglioside in endosomes and lysosomes, which ends in a progressive neurodegeneration. Currently, very little is known about the biochemical pathways leading from GM2 ganglioside accumulation to pathogenesis. Defects in transport and sorting by the endosomal-lysosomal system have been described for several lysosomal storage disorders. Here, we have investigated the endosomal-lysosomal compartment in fibroblasts from SD patients and observed that both late endosomes and lysosomes, but not early endosomes, have a higher density in comparison with normal fibroblasts. Moreover, Sandhoff fibroblasts have an intracellular distribution of terminal endocytic organelles that differs from the characteristic perinuclear punctate pattern observed in normal fibroblasts and endocytic vesicles also appear larger. These findings reveal the occurrence of an alteration in the terminal endocytic organelles of Sandhoff fibroblasts, suggesting an involvement of this compartment in the disruption of cell metabolic and signalling pathways and in the onset of the pathological state.
    Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry 10/2009; 335(1-2):273-82. DOI:10.1007/s11010-009-0277-0 · 2.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) and gangliosides are a group of bioactive glycolipids that include cerebrosides, globosides, and gangliosides. These lipids play major roles in signal transduction, cell adhesion, modulating growth factor/hormone receptor, antigen recognition, and protein trafficking. Specific genetic defects in lysosomal hydrolases disrupt normal GSL and ganglioside metabolism leading to their excess accumulation in cellular compartments, particularly in the lysosome, i.e., lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs). The storage diseases of GSLs and gangliosides affect all organ systems, but the central nervous system (CNS) is primarily involved in many. Current treatments can attenuate the visceral disease, but the management of CNS involvement remains an unmet medical need. Early interventions that alter the CNS disease have shown promise in delaying neurologic involvement in several CNS LSDs. Consequently, effective treatment for such devastating inherited diseases requires an understanding of the early developmental and pathological mechanisms of GSL and ganglioside flux (synthesis and degradation) that underlie the CNS diseases. These are the focus of this review.
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