Deletion at ITPR1 Underlies Ataxia
in Mice and Spinocerebellar Ataxia 15
Joyce van de Leemput1,2[, Jayanth Chandran3,4[, Melanie A. Knight5, Lynne A. Holtzclaw6, Sonja Scholz1,7,
Mark R. Cookson8, Henry Houlden9, Katrina Gwinn-Hardy10, Hon-Chung Fung7,11,12, Xian Lin3, Dena Hernandez1,
Javier Simon-Sanchez1,13, Nick W. Wood9, Paola Giunti9, Ian Rafferty1, John Hardy7,11, Elsdon Storey14,15,
R. J. McKinlay Gardner15,16, Susan M. Forrest17, Elizabeth M. C. Fisher2, James T. Russell6, Huaibin Cai3,
Andrew B. Singleton1*
1 Molecular Genetics Unit, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America,
2 Department of Neurodegenerative Disease, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, United Kingdom, 3 Transgenics Unit, Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National
Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America, 4 Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland,
United States of America, 5 Neurogenetics Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of
America, 6 Section on Cell Biology and Signal Transduction, National Institute on Child Health and Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United
States of America, 7 Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies, University College London, London, United Kingdom, 8 Cell Biology and Gene Expression Unit,
Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America, 9 Department of Molecular
Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, United Kingdom, 10 National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health,
Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America, 11 Laboratory of Neurogenetics, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States
of America, 12 Department of Neurology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and College of Medicine, Chang Gung University, Taipei, Taiwan, 13 Unitat de Gene ´tica Molecular,
Departamento de Geno ´mica y Proteo ´mica, Instituto de Biomedicina de Valencia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientı ´ficas, Valencia, Spain, 14 Department of
Medicine, Alfred Hospital, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, 15 Genetic Health Services Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, 16 Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Royal
Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, 17 Australian Genome Research Facility, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia
We observed a severe autosomal recessive movement disorder in mice used within our laboratory. We pursued a series
of experiments to define the genetic lesion underlying this disorder and to identify a cognate disease in humans with
mutation at the same locus. Through linkage and sequence analysis we show here that this disorder is caused by a
homozygous in-frame 18-bp deletion in Itpr1 (Itpr1D18/D18), encoding inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate receptor 1. A
previously reported spontaneous Itpr1 mutation in mice causes a phenotype identical to that observed here. In both
models in-frame deletion within Itpr1 leads to a decrease in the normally high level of Itpr1 expression in cerebellar
Purkinje cells. Spinocerebellar ataxia 15 (SCA15), a human autosomal dominant disorder, maps to the genomic region
containing ITPR1; however, to date no causal mutations had been identified. Because ataxia is a prominent feature in
Itpr1 mutant mice, we performed a series of experiments to test the hypothesis that mutation at ITPR1 may be the
cause of SCA15. We show here that heterozygous deletion of the 59 part of the ITPR1 gene, encompassing exons 1–10,
1–40, and 1–44 in three studied families, underlies SCA15 in humans.
Citation: van de Leemput J, Chandran J, Knight MA, Holtzclaw LA, Scholz S, et al. (2007) Deletion at ITPR1 underlies ataxia in mice and spinocerebellar ataxia 15 in humans.
PLoS Genet 3(6): e108. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030108
The use of forward genetics to define novel loci of interest
in human disease has become increasingly viable with the
implementation of large-scale mutagenesis programs. Prior
to these initiatives this work was carried out in part by the
investigation of spontaneous mutations that cause disorders
in mouse breeding colonies. Careful observation of these
serendipitous events has led to the establishment and study of
many in vivo disease models .
During the generation of a knockout line of mice we noted
an early movement disorder that was inherited independently
of targeting vector transmission. We embarked on a series of
experiments to identify the genetic lesion underlying this
movement disorder and to identify a cognate disease and
corresponding mutation in humans. Here we describe this
effort and the discovery of deletion at the ITPR1 locus as a
cause of this disorder in mice and of spinocerebellar ataxia 15
(SCA15) in humans.
During the generation of a line of mice with knockout of
the gene Park7 we noted an early movement disorder that was
inherited independently of targeting vector transmission.
Our initial observations suggested the affected mice suffered
Editor: Harry Orr, University of Minnesota, United States of America
Received February 5, 2007; Accepted May 16, 2007; Published June 22, 2007
A previous version of this article appeared as an Early Online Release on May 16,
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons
Public Domain declaration which stipulates that, once placed in the public domain,
this work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon,
or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose.
Abbreviations: EBV, Epstein-Barr virus; SCA[number], spinocerebellar ataxia
[number]; SNP, single nucleotide polymorphism
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: email@example.com
[ These authors contributed equally to this work.
PLoS Genetics | www.plosgenetics.orgJune 2007 | Volume 3 | Issue 6 | e1081076
from an apparently paroxysmal movement disorder, often
induced by touch. The abnormal movements occurred
predominantly below the cervical level, and the disorder
appeared progressive. At initial examination, a human
movement disorder specialist (K. G.-H.) likened the disorder
to episodic intermittent ataxia or kinesiogenic paroxysmal
dystonia and predicted the involvement of an ion channel
mutation in the etiology. Affected mice presented at
approximately postnatal day 14, and survival time without
weaning was on average 4 wk after onset.
Breeding experiments suggested that the observed disorder
was inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. To map the
location of the disease-causing lesion, we performed genome-
wide linkage analysis using strain-specific single nucleotide
polymorphisms (SNPs) at 120 loci across the mouse genome.
Analysis of these data showed a single genomic region with
significant linkage to disease, providing a two-point LOD
score of 5.13 at marker 20.MMHAP85FLG2 on Chromosome
6qE1. The linked haplotype suggested the mutation had
occurred on the 129x1/SvJ background (Figure S1).
Literature searches revealed that among disease lines
mapped to 6qE1, the spontaneous mutant opt mouse displays
a strikingly similar presentation to that described here .
The underlying genetic lesion causing the opt phenotype is a
homozygous in-frame deletion of exons 43 and 44 of the gene
Itpr1 (Itpr1opt/opt), encoding inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate recep-
tor 1 (Itpr1). Sequencing of all exons and intron–exon
boundaries of Itpr1 in affected mice from the current study
revealed a single mutation within Itpr1: a novel in-frame
deletion of 18 bp within exon 36 (Itpr1D18/D18). To confirm the
pathogenicity of this mutation we crossed heterozygous mice
from the current study (Itpr1wt/D18) with mice heterozygous for
the opt mutation (Itpr1wt/opt). This resulted in two litters of
mice with a total of four affected Itpr1opt/D18pups (from a total
of 15) with a phenotype indistinguishable from that of the
Itpr1D18/D18and Itpr1opt/optmice . Furthermore, this pheno-
type was similar, although less severe, to that described in a
mouse line with targeted deletion of Itpr1, where ataxia was
described as a prominent feature . As with the Itpr1opt/opt
mice, where the deletion of exons 43 and 44 is also predicted
to leave the translational reading frame unaffected, the in-
frame Itpr1D18/D18deletion mutation results in markedly
decreased levels of Itpr1 in cerebellar Purkinje cells. In these
two spontaneous mutants  and in the Itpr1-deficient mouse
 generated by gene targeting, decreased Itpr1 expression is
associated with the same autosomal recessive movement
disorder (Figure 1).
Given our interest in human neurological disease we
sought to identify any cognate human disorders where
linkage had been established to the syntenic region of the
human genome, but where no causal mutation had been
identified. SCA15, an adult-onset autosomal dominant pro-
gressive ataxia is linked to this locus . Although missense
mutation of ITPR1 had previously been ruled out  and the
mode of inheritance was inconsistent with that seen in the
Itpr1D18and Itpr1optmice, the phenotypic presence of ataxia
in the mice led us to reexamine this candidate gene as a
possible cause of SCA15.
We obtained genomic DNA from three affected family
members and one family member with unknown disease
status from the kindred originally used to define and map
SCA15 (family AUS1, of Australian Anglo-Celtic origin) .
We performed two experiments concurrently in three
affected members of this family: sequence analysis of the
coding exons of ITPR1 and high-density genome-wide SNP
genotyping. Sequence analysis failed to show any coding
alterations segregating with disease or any alterations that
were inconsistent with Mendelian patterns of inheritance
within the family. However, visualization of log R ratio and B
allele frequency metrics from the genome-wide SNP genotyp-
ing experiments clearly showed data consistent with a
heterozygous genomic deletion across the first one-third of
ITPR1 and across the first half of a neighboring gene, SUMF1
(Figure 2). This deletion was apparent in all three affected
family members studied and absent from the family member
with unknown affection status (Figure 3). The SNP data
showed a deletion of between 188 kb and 210 kb in size;
examination of SNPs at the flanking unknown regions of this
deletion allowed us to delimit the borders of the deletion to
7.5 kb on the telomeric side of the deletion (between
rs12634249 and rs793396) and ;14.4 kb on the centromeric
side of the deletion (between rs4073665 and rs17709863). In
an attempt to define whether this variation was a benign
polymorphism we analyzed genome-wide SNP data at this
locus, produced using the same genotyping chip, from 577
individuals of European descent who were either controls or
individuals with an unrelated neurological disorder. We
failed to find any deletions affecting the coding sequence of
either gene, ITPR1 or SUMF1; we did, however, identify a
single individual with a possible heterozygous deletion
approximately 6 kb in size within intron 40–41 of ITPR1, at
least 5 kb away from exon 40. Given the location of this
alteration it is unlikely to effect the expression or splicing of
In an attempt to fine-map the breakpoints of the disease-
causing deletion we performed a series of experiments
designed to refine the unknown intervals at the edges
between definite deleted and definite diploid sequences.
These data narrowed the unknown borders to ;4 kb on the
telomeric side and ;7 kb on the centromeric side. We used all
possible combinations of forward orientation primers de-
signed within the newly defined telomeric boundary and of
reverse orientation primers designed within the newly
defined centromeric boundary in PCR assays in an attempt
to amplify across the deletion in affected family members.
Using PCR primers T3F and C11R, which should be more
than 200 kb apart, we were able to amplify a fragment 953 bp
PLoS Genetics | www.plosgenetics.orgJune 2007 | Volume 3 | Issue 6 | e108 1077
ITPR1 Deletion Causes Ataxia
We have identified a spontaneous in-frame deletion mutation in the
gene Itpr1 that causes a recessive movement disorder in mice. In an
attempt to define whether any similar disease occurs in humans we
performed a literature search for diseases linked to the human
chromosomal region containing ITPR1. We identified the disease
spinocerebellar ataxia 15 as linked to this region. High-density
genomic analysis of affected members from three families revealed
that disease in these patients was caused by deletion of a large
portion of the region containing ITPR1. We show here that this
mutation results in a dramatic reduction in ITPR1 in cells from these
patients. These data show convincingly that ITPR1 deletion underlies
spinocerebellar ataxia 15 in humans.
in size using DNA from each of the three affected family
members as template. Sequencing of this fragment revealed a
deletion of 201,509 bp (Figure S3), removing the first three of
the nine exons of SUMF1 and the first ten of the 58 exons of
ITPR1. We were unable to amplify the deletion-specific
fragment in the family member of unknown affection status,
or in 275 neurologically normal controls.
To further establish genetic deletion at ITPR1 as the cause
of SCA15 we analyzed two additional families with an
inherited cerebellar ataxia similar to that described in the
AUS1 family, ascertained through neurology clinics in
London, United Kingdom. DNA extracted from probands
from these two families (family H33 and family H27) were also
analyzed using Illumina Infinium HumanHap550 genotyping
chips. These experiments showed deletion at the SCA15 locus
in all affected members assayed, from SUMF1 through ITPR1.
These mutations segregated with disease in these two families
(Figure S3). A strategy similar to the one outlined above
enabled us to sequence over the breakpoint in family H27 but
not family H33. In the former, the deletion spans 344,408 bp,
removing exons 1–3 of SUMF1 and 1–44 of ITPR1; in the
latter, we estimate that the deletion is 310 kb in length and
that it removes exons 1–3 of SUMF1 and exons 1–40 of ITPR1.
The site of mutation is of interest, particularly the fact that in
each of the three families the telomeric end of the deletion is
anchored between exons 3 and 4 of SUMF1; sequence
searches failed to identify any repeat sequences that might
explain this phenomenon. With three cerebellar ataxia
families segregating a SUMF1–ITPR1 deletion, and this
deletion not observed in a control population, we may
reasonably conclude that the association is causal, and that
the deletion is indeed the genetic basis of the disease, with
SCA15 the diagnosis in the two British families as well as the
original Australian family.
It is improbable that heterozygosity for the deletion of
SUMF1, encoding sulfatase modifying factor 1, of itself causes
Figure 1. Immunohistochemistry and Western Blot Analysis of ITPR1 Protein Levels in Mouse Cerebellum
(A–F) Immunohistochemistry of cerebellum from a wild-type mouse (A and D), a mouse heterozygous for the Itpr1 18-bp deletion (B and E), and a
mouse homozygous for the 18-bp Itpr1 deletion (C and F). (A–C) Immunohistochemistry using polyclonal Itpr1 anti-rabbit antibody (1:2,000; Alexa Fluor
555); (D–F) immunohistochemistry using monoclonal Calb1 anti-mouse antibody (1:6,000; Alexa Fluor 488). Scale bars denote 100 lm. As previously
described, Iptr1 is highly expressed in the Purkinje cells. Notably, there appears to be decreased immunoreactivity to Itpr1 in the heterozygous and
homozygous mutant mice.
(G) Western blot performed to examine Itpr1 levels in whole brain from wild-type, Itpr1wt/D18, and Itpr1D18/D18mice; this clearly shows a reduction of
Itpr1 in brain tissue from Itpr1wt/D18mice and a greater reduction of Itpr1 in Itpr1D18/D18mice.
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ITPR1 Deletion Causes Ataxia
or contributes to SCA15. Homozygous mutation of SUMF1
results in autosomal recessive multiple sulfatase deficiency, a
metabolic disorder characterized by hepatosplenomegaly,
deafness, and developmental delay [6,7]. No co-occurrence
of ataxia has been described in (heterozygous) parents of
patients with multiple sulfatase deficiency. Conversely,
mutation of ITPR1 is biologically plausible as a cause of
ataxia: the protein is highly expressed in Purkinje cells; as we
have shown here, mice with mutation at this locus present
with ataxia; and perturbed Ca2þsignaling has previously been
implicated in the etiology of ataxia, notably in episodic ataxia
type 2 and SCA6 . In further support of this conclusion,
analysis of protein levels of ITPR1 in Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
immortalized lymphocytes from affected and unaffected
AUS1 family members revealed that all affected members
showed a dramatic decrease in ITPR1 levels when compared
with the family member without the deletion (Figure 4).
Itpr1 contains three domains, an N-terminal inositol
triphosphate binding domain, a coupling domain, and a C-
terminal transmembrane domain; it also contains two protein
kinase A phosphorylation sites and an ATP-binding site. Itpr1
is coupled to Ca2þchannels and facilitates Ca2þrelease from
the endoplasmic reticulum after binding by the intracellular
second messenger inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate . Itpr1 is
enriched in the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum . ITPR1
mutations have more than one potential pathogenic mech-
anism. First, the disease may be a result of haploinsufficiency
at ITPR1; this concept is consistent with the observation that
heterozygous deletion leads to a later onset disorder in
humans, whereas homozygous deletion in mice leads to an
early onset disorder, able to be expressed within the much
shorter life span of the mouse. Second, we cannot rule out the
existence of an alternate start site for ITPR1 that may result
in a product that confers a pathogenic gain of function to the
protein; however, Western blot analysis of cells derived from
affected AUS1 family members, which was performed using
an antibody raised against the C-terminal portion of ITPR1,
failed to identify any disease-specific truncated protein
products. Clearly, the identification of distinct ITPR1
mutations underlying SCA15 will help elucidate the patho-
genic mechanism of this disorder.
We show here the utility of investigating spontaneous
mouse mutations in understanding human disease. Currently,
the small number of aged Itpr1wt/D18animals precludes us
from examining these mice for subtle signs and symptoms
similar to those seen in SCA15 patients; however, these mice
are clearly of interest to us as a potential model of SCA15.
These data also demonstrate that genome-wide SNP assay can
facilitate rapid detection of structural genomic mutations
that may underlie disease. The data provided by these
approaches provide compelling evidence that heterozygous
deletion of ITPR1 causes SCA15. Clearly, sequence analysis of
ITPR1 in potential SCA15 cases may provide additional
insight into the disease, particularly if a stop mutation were
to be identified; however, the mutational mechanism noted
here means that standard sequencing approaches alone are
insufficient to confidently rule out ITPR1 mutation as a cause
of disease: a comprehensive gene dosage approach is also
required. Given that SCA16 and autosomal dominant con-
genital nonprogressive ataxia have both recently been
mapped to regions overlapping with the SCA15 locus
[10,11], ITPR1 is a gene of importance for screening in these
families. These data add weight to a role for aberrant
Figure 2. Metrics Derived from Analysis of DNA from Affected Family Member 7 Using Illumina Infinium HumanHap550 Genotyping Chips
The upper and lower plots are log R ratio and B allele frequency, respectively, at an ;800-kb segment on the p arm of Chromosome 3. Log R ratio is the
ratio of normalized, observed R to expected R for each SNP (each SNP is a blue dot) and thus serves as a surrogate of copy number at each locus. B allele
frequency is a measure of the number of times the A or B alleles are detected at each locus (each SNP is denoted by a blue dot). Thus, SNPs with a B
allele frequency of one are apparent B/B homozygotes, SNPs with a B allele frequency of 0.5 are apparent A/B heterozygotes, and those with a B allele
frequency of zero are apparent A/A homozygotes. Clearly, these plots show a contiguous region ;200 kb long with decreased copy number and
apparent homozygosity (bounded by a red box). As we have demonstrated previously, this is indicative of a heterozygous genomic deletion . Below
these plots is a schematic of the two known genes affected by this deletion, ITPR1 and SUMF1.
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ITPR1 Deletion Causes Ataxia
intracellular Ca2þsignaling in Purkinje cells in the patho-
genesis of spinocerebellar ataxia.
Materials and Methods
Genome-wide linkage in mice. One hundred and twenty DNA
fragments were amplified across the genome, each selected to contain
one or more strain-specific SNPs that would differentiate between
C57BL/6J and 129x1/SvJ inbred strains . Each fragment was
initially amplified in 11 affected mice and nine unaffected mice;
genotype calling was performed by dye-terminator sequencing of
these fragments. Linkage analysis using these data was performed
using mlink , which revealed a positive linkage at Chromosome
6qE1, on the 129x1/SvJ background (two-point LOD score 5.13 at
marker 20.MMHAP85FLG2). In an attempt to narrow the disease
interval we performed backcross experiments that resulted in the
generation of three additional affected mice. Genotyping of all
Figure 3. Mutation Analysis in the Australian SCA15 Family
(Top) Pedigree of kindred. Filled symbols denote affected individuals; open symbols, unaffected individuals; grey symbol denotes unknown disease
status; bulls-eye symbol denotes obligate carrier. w/w, wild-type at ITPR1; w/m, heterozygous carrier of the ITPR1 deletion.
(Middle) Schematic of primer pairs used to narrow the unknown regions between known deleted sequence and known diploid sequence at the SCA15
locus. Nine primer pairs (T1–T9) were used to amplify across the unknown region telomeric to the known deleted region; 19 primer pairs (C1–C19) were
used to amplify across the unknown region centromeric to the known deleted region. All PCRs were carried out in the three affected family members.
Analysis of these data narrowed the unknown region, and ultimately we were able to use primer T3f and C11r to amplify across the deletion breakpoint
in the three affected family members, producing a fragment of 953 bp in affected individuals.
(Bottom) Gel showing amplification product using primer pair T3f and C11r from affected pedigree members 6, 7, and 19; in pedigree member 23, with
unknown disease affection status; in a neurologically normal control (C); and in a no template control (NC).
PLoS Genetics | www.plosgenetics.orgJune 2007 | Volume 3 | Issue 6 | e1081080
ITPR1 Deletion Causes Ataxia
affected mice across the disease-segregating interval revealed flank-
ing recombinants and a candidate region of ;5 Mb, between markers
D6Mit37 and 44.MMHAP85FLG5 (Figure S1). This region contains 16
genes and predicted transcripts.
Identification of the underlying genetic lesion in mice. Identifica-
tion of similar phenotypes in mice linked to the 6qE1 interval was
performed by literature searches. This revealed the Itpr1opt/optmouse,
in which disease is caused by homozygous deletion mutation of exons
43 and 44 of Itpr1. Primer pairs were designed to sequence each of the
coding exons and at least 50 bp of each flanking intronic sequence of
Itpr1. PCR amplification of each exon was performed using DNA
from two affected mice as templates. The Itpr1D18/D18mutation was
confirmed by sequencing in all affected mice (Figure S2).
Breeding experiments were performed between two female mice
heterozygous for the current mutation (Itpr1wt/D18) and a male mouse
heterozygous for the Itpr1optmutation (Itpr1wt/opt). This resulted in two
litters of mice with a total of four affected Itpr1opt/D18pups (from a
total of 15; two of seven from first mating; two of eight from the
second mating) with a phenotype indistinguishable from that of the
Analysis of Itpr1 protein in mice. We performed Western blot
analyses using standard techniques with ECL detection kits (Amer-
sham, http://www.amersham.com). Briefly, dissected whole brains
from postnatal day 21 littermates were homogenized in a buffer
containing 50 mM Tris-HCl, 150 mM NaCl, 1 mM EDTA, 1% Triton
X-100, 1% sodium deoxycholate, 0.1% SDS, and a cocktail of
protease inhibitors (Roche, http://www.roche.com). Homogenates
were diluted appropriately, mixed with 43 reducing sample buffer,
and loaded onto 4%–12% precast gradient gels (Novex, http://www.
invitrogen.com) for SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting. The antibodies
to Itpr1 (1:2,000) and Actb (1:5,000) were used as recommended by
Immunohistochemistry. Brains were isolated from 21-d-old mice,
perfused with 4% paraformaldehyde in PBS, and post-fixed overnight
in the same fixative. Brains were embedded in gelatin, and 35-lm
sagittal sections were cut using a sliding microtome (NeuroScience
Associates, http://www.neuroscienceassociates.com). Sections from
wild-type, heterozygote, and homozygous brains were placed in the
MultiBrain template. Sections were washed in 13PBS prior to 1 h of
incubation in block solution containing 13 PBS with 20% normal
goat serum and 0.3% Triton X-100 (pH 7.4). Sections were incubated
overnight at 4 8C in primary antibodies: affinity purified polyclonal
Itpr1 antibody (1:2,000, Chemicon International, http://www.
chemicon.com) and monoclonal anti-Calb1 antibody (1:6,000, Sig-
ma-Aldrich, http://www.sigmaaldrich.com) diluted in carrier solution.
Following extensive washes (in 6.0 ml of PBS, three times), sections
were incubated with appropriate secondary antibodies (Alexa Fluor
555 goat anti-rabbit IgG and Alexa Fluor 488 goat anti-mouse IgG
[Invitrogen, http://www.invitrogen.com]) for 1 h at room temperature.
Sections were washed and mounted on glass slides in a buffered
medium containing Mowiol (Calbiochem, http://www.emdbiosciences.
com) as described earlier . Sections were imaged using a laser
scanning confocal microscope (LSM 510; Zeiss, http://www.zeiss.com).
Imaging parameters (pinhole, detector gain, laser power) were
optimized, and were kept constant for the wild-type, heterozygous,
and homozygous mutant brains. Specificity of the Itpr1 antibodies
was verified by preabsorption control experiments. Antibody
dilutions were incubated for 24 h at 4 8C with the immunizing
peptide. Tissue sections were incubated with the preabsorbed
antibodies and processed as described above. Under these conditions,
no staining above autofluorescence was detected.
Analysis of ITPR1 in SCA15 patients. DNA was extracted from
EBV immortalized lymphocytes, derived from family members. The
coding exons and at least 50 bp of flanking introns of ITPR1 were
PCR amplified and sequenced using dye-terminator sequencing
(BigDye version 3.1; Applied Biosystems, http://www.
appliedbiosystems.com). Sequence reactions were run on an
ABI3730XP automated sequencer as per the manufacturer’s instruc-
tions (Applied Biosystems). This analysis was performed in all three
affected family members for whom genomic DNA was available
(members 6, 7, and 19). Primer sequences and conditions are available
upon request. Sequence data were analyzed using Sequencher (Gene
Codes Corporation, http://www.genecodes.com). Genome-wide SNP
genotyping was performed using Infinium HumanHap550 SNP
genotyping chips as per the manufacturer’s protocol (Illumina,
http://www.illumina.com). This product assays 555,352 unique SNPs.
Data were collected using the Illumina BeadStation scanner and data
collection software. Genotypes were produced using the genotyping
module of BeadStudio (version 2.3.25; Illumina), and log R ratio and B
allele frequency were visualized using the genome viewer tool within
this package. In order to rule out the possibility that the observed
deletion within ITPR1 was a benign copy number variant we
examined log R ratio and B allele frequency metrics of Human-
Hap550 genotyping data at this locus from 577 individuals of
Northern European descent from North America and Europe,
produced by us as a part of an ongoing study.
In an attempt to narrow the unknown intervals flanking the
deletion observed in family AUS1, we designed primers for 30 PCR
amplifications that would generate overlapping fragments across the
two bordering regions (primer sequence and conditions available
upon request). There were ten primer pairs in the telomeric flanking
region and 20 pairs in the centromeric flanking region (Figure S3).
On average each product was ;750 bp in size, and amplifications
were performed using genomic DNA from each of the three affected
individuals (family members 6, 7, and 19). Dye-terminator sequencing
of each product was performed using the forward and reverse
primers designed for amplification; running and analysis of each
fragment was performed as described above. Amplification of a
fragment from a normal diploid genome was denoted by the presence
of a heterozygous polymorphism; amplification of a fragment from a
region of the genome harboring a heterozygous genomic deletion was
inferred when homozygosity for the major allele and the minor allele
were noted among the three affected family members (i.e., this is
inconsistent with Mendelian inheritance in related individuals known
to share a common haplotype).
Using the data from the experiments described above we were able
to limit the size of unknown regions flanking the deletion to ;4 kb on
the telomeric side and 7 kb on the centromeric side. All combinations
of forward primers from the newly defined region flanking the
deletion on the telomeric side with reverse primers from the newly
defined region flanking the deletion on the centromeric side were
used in PCR amplification reactions performed with DNA from the
three affected family members and single unaffected family members.
This experiment was performed in an attempt to amplify across the
deleted fragment and define the exact breakpoint. A single fragment
was obtained from the third forward primer from the telomeric side
(T3f 59-TGAATGCTCAATTTTCCAGC-39) with the 11th reverse
primer from the centromeric side (C11r 59-GGGAAAATGGATA-
GAGGGTG-39). The fragment, which is 953 bp in size, was sequenced
as described above and compared to the current build of the human
genome. A similar series of experiments was performed to identify
the deletion breakpoints in families H27 and H33; we were able to
amplify a 369-bp PCR product across the breakpoint found in
affected members of family H27 using primer pair H27-11F 59-
GACCTCAAGAAGGCATGAATAC-39 and H27-3R 59-ATGGTGGC-
CAGGTACACAAG-39 (Figure S4), but to date we have been unable to
identify the breakpoint in family H33.
Figure 4. Western Blot Analysis of ITPR1 Protein Levels in EBV
Immortalized Lymphoblasts from AUS1 Family Members
Western blot performed to examine ITPR1 levels in EBV immortalized
lymphocytes from AUS1 affected family members carrying the ITPR1
deletion and from an AUS1 family member of unknown disease status
who does not carry the deletion. Notably the samples from patients with
ITPR1 deletion show a dramatic decrease in ITPR1 levels. To demonstrate
equal loading, these samples were diluted one in five, and the Western
blot was repeated using an antibody against ACTB.
PLoS Genetics | www.plosgenetics.org June 2007 | Volume 3 | Issue 6 | e1081081
ITPR1 Deletion Causes Ataxia
Western blot analysis in SCA15 patients. EBV immortalized Download full-text
lymphoblasts from three affected family members who carry the
deletion and one family member without the mutation were used as a
readily accessible source of protein; all samples came from members
of family AUS1. Protein extraction was performed using lysis buffer
containing 13 TBS, 1% Triton X-100, and a cocktail of protease
inhibitors (Roche) with overnight lysis at ?80 8C. Homogenates were
diluted appropriately, mixed with 43 reducing sample buffer, and
loaded onto 4%–12% precast gradient gels (NuPAGE, Invitrogen) for
SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting. The antibodies to ITPR1 (1:1,000)
and ACTB (1:5,000) were used as recommended by manufacturers.
Figure S1. Schematic of Genotyping Results across Mouse Chromo-
some 6 in Affected Mice
Black squares are indicative of a C57BL/6J homozygous genotype;
light grey squares, a 129x1/SvJ homozygous genotype; grey squares, a
C57BL/6J 129x1/SvJ heterozygous genotype; white squares, undeter-
mined genotype. The black box bounds a region of homozygous
129x1/SvJ genotypes that segregate with disease; thus, the critical
region was determined to be between markers D6Mit37 and
Found at doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030108.sg001 (10 MB TIF).
Figure S2. Sequence of Exon 36 of Itpr1 from Four Mice
A wild-type homozygous C57BL/6J mouse (A), a wild-type homo-
zygous 129x1/SvJ mouse (B), an affected 129x1B6 mice homozygous
for the 18-bp deletion mutation (C), and an unaffected mouse
heterozygous for the 18-bp deletion mutation (D). The deleted
nucleotides are bounded by a green box.
Found at doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030108.sg002 (5.1 MB TIF).
Figure S3. Additional Families Harboring Deletion at the SCA15
(A) Family H33; (B) family H27. Upper panel shows log R ratio and B
allele frequency metrics generated from Infinium HumanHap550
arrays for an affected family member from each family. Log R ratio is
the ratio of normalized, observed R to expected R for each SNP (each
SNP is a blue dot) and thus serves as a surrogate of copy number at
each locus. B allele frequency is a measure of the number of times the
A or B alleles are detected at each locus (each SNP is denoted by a
blue dot). Thus, SNPs with a B allele frequency of one are apparent B/
B homozygotes, SNPs with a B allele frequency of 0.5 are apparent A/
B heterozygotes, and those with a B allele frequency of zero are
apparent A/A homozygotes. These plots show a contiguous region
;310 kb long (family H33) and ;350 kb long (family H27) with
decreased copy number and apparent homozygosity indicative of a
genomic deletion (shaded grey). The pedigrees below show the
available family members assayed for these deletions, all of whom
were affected and all of whom carried a deletion at this locus.
Found at doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030108.sg003 (6.8 MB TIF).
Figure S4. Deleted Regions Identified in Families AUS1 and H27
(Top) Family AUS1; sequence from the PCR product generated using
primers T3f and C11r from genomic DNA from an affected family
member. Red arrowhead denotes the deletion breakpoint; the
deletion is 201,510 bp in length.
(Bottom) Family H27; sequence flanking deleted region. Green font
indicates nucleotides telomeric to the deletion; blue font indicates
nucleotides centromeric to the deletion. The deletion is 344,408 bp in
length. Basepair positions are based on NCBI genome build 36
Found at doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030108.sg004 (876 KB MB TIF).
The OMIM (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db¼OMIM)
accession number for SUMF1 is 607939.
We thank the SCA15 family members for participating in this study.
Author contributions. EMCF, JTR, and ABS conceived and
designed the experiments. JvdL, JC, MAK, LAH, SS, MRC, HCF, XL,
DH, JSS, IR, and HC performed the experiments. JvdL, JC, MAK, SS,
MRC, KGH, HCF, JSS, JTR, and ABS analyzed the data. HH, NWW,
PG, JH, ES, RJMG, SMF, HC, and ABS contributed reagents/materials/
analysis tools. RJMG, EMCF, and ABS wrote the paper.
Funding. This research was funded in part by the intramural
programs of the National Institute on Aging and the National
Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), both of the
National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human
Services, United States of America. MAK was supported by a NINDS
Competitive Postdoctoral Fellowship. HH is supported by the
Medical Research Council, United Kingdom.
Competing interests. The authors have declared that no competing
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PLoS Genetics | www.plosgenetics.orgJune 2007 | Volume 3 | Issue 6 | e1081082
ITPR1 Deletion Causes Ataxia