In Vitro studies of non poly alanine PHOX2B mutations argue against a loss-of-function mechanism for congenital central hypoventilation.
ABSTRACT A wide range of autonomic dysfunctions, i.e. Central Hypoventilation Syndromes, Hirschsprung disease and Tumours of the Sympathetic Nervous System have been ascribed to heterozygous PHOX2B mutations in man. The PHOX2B mutations reported include polyalanine expansions in a 20 alanines tract, missense, frameshift mutations and nonsense mutation. Some genotype/phenotype correlations have been drawn, but the molecular mechanism(s) underlying them remain(s) unclear. So far, loss-of-function, gain-of-function and dominant negative effects have been proposed as disease-causing mechanisms for polyalanine expansions. Indeed, mutant with an expanded polyalanine tract result in decreased transactivation of known target genes and protein misfolding leading to oligomerisation in vitro for all expansions and to cytoplasmic protein aggregation for longer expansions. We extended the molecular studies to other non-polyalanine expansion mutations and show that most PHOX2B protein mutants oligomerize even in the absence of the normal 20 alanines tract. Conversely, a premature stop codon mutation in a CHS patient leads to the production of an N-terminally truncated protein by re-initiation of translation that does not form oligomers. Therefore, PHOX2B misfolding is not the only mechanism leading to dysfunction of the ventilatory autonomic system.
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ABSTRACT: Respiratory and autonomic disorders of infancy, childhood, and adulthood are a group of disorders that have varying presentation, combined with a range of severity of respiratory control and autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Within this group, congenital central hypoventilation syndrome and rapid onset obesity with hypothalamic dysfunction, hypoventilation, and autonomic dysregulation, exhibit the greatest respiratory control deficits, requiring supported ventilation as a mainstay of care. The discovery of the key role of the paired-like homeobox 2B gene in autonomic nervous system development, along with the identification of paired-like homeobox 2B gene mutations causing congenital central hypoventilation syndrome, has led to a fruitful dialog between basic scientists and physician-scientists, producing an explosion of knowledge regarding genotype-phenotype correlations in this disorder, as well as important animal models of chemosensory regulation deficit. Though the etiology of rapid onset obesity with hypothalamic dysfunction, hypoventilation, and autonomic dysregulation is still to be determined, recent studies have begun to carefully delineate the phenotype, suggesting that it too may provide fertile ground for research that both advances our knowledge and improves patient care.Journal of Applied Physiology 04/2010; 108(4):979-88. · 3.75 Impact Factor