POMT2 mutations cause alpha-dystroglycan hypoglycosylation and Walker-Warburg syndrome.

Department of Human Genetics, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Journal of Medical Genetics (Impact Factor: 5.7). 01/2006; 42(12):907-12. DOI: 10.1136/jmg.2005.031963
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Walker-Warburg syndrome (WWS) is an autosomal recessive condition characterised by congenital muscular dystrophy, structural brain defects, and eye malformations. Typical brain abnormalities are hydrocephalus, lissencephaly, agenesis of the corpus callosum, fusion of the hemispheres, cerebellar hypoplasia, and neuronal overmigration, which causes a cobblestone cortex. Ocular abnormalities include cataract, microphthalmia, buphthalmos, and Peters anomaly. WWS patients show defective O-glycosylation of alpha-dystroglycan (alpha-DG), which plays a key role in bridging the cytoskeleton of muscle and CNS cells with extracellular matrix proteins, important for muscle integrity and neuronal migration. In 20% of the WWS patients, hypoglycosylation results from mutations in either the protein O-mannosyltransferase 1 (POMT1), fukutin, or fukutin related protein (FKRP) genes. The other genes for this highly heterogeneous disorder remain to be identified.
To look for mutations in POMT2 as a cause of WWS, as both POMT1 and POMT2 are required to achieve protein O-mannosyltransferase activity.
A candidate gene approach combined with homozygosity mapping.
Homozygosity was found for the POMT2 locus at 14q24.3 in four of 11 consanguineous WWS families. Homozygous POMT2 mutations were present in two of these families as well as in one patient from another cohort of six WWS families. Immunohistochemistry in muscle showed severely reduced levels of glycosylated alpha-DG, which is consistent with the postulated role for POMT2 in the O-mannosylation pathway.
A fourth causative gene for WWS was uncovered. These genes account for approximately one third of the WWS cases. Several more genes are anticipated, which are likely to play a role in glycosylation of alpha-DG.

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    ABSTRACT: Several types of muscular dystrophy are caused by defective linkage between α-dystroglycan (α-DG) and laminin. Among these, dystroglycanopathy, including Fukuyama-type congenital muscular dystrophy (FCMD), results from abnormal glycosylation of α-DG. Recent studies have shown that like-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (LARGE) strongly enhances the laminin binding activity of α-DG. Therefore, restoration of the α-DG-laminin linkage by LARGE is considered one of the most promising possible therapies for muscular dystrophy. In this study, we generated transgenic mice that overexpress LARGE (LARGE Tg) and crossed them with dy(2 J) mice and fukutin conditional knockout mice, a model for laminin α2-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy (MDC1A) and FCMD, respectively. Remarkably, in both strains, the transgenic overexpression of LARGE resulted in an aggravation of muscular dystrophy. Using morphometric analyses, we found that the deterioration of muscle pathology was caused by suppression of muscle regeneration. Overexpression of LARGE in C2C12 cells further demonstrated defects in myotube formation. Interestingly, a decreased expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) was identified in both LARGE Tg mice and LARGE-overexpressing C2C12 myotubes. Supplementing the C2C12 cells with IGF-1 restored the defective myotube formation. Taken together, our findings indicate that the overexpression of LARGE aggravates muscular dystrophy by suppressing the muscle regeneration and this adverse effect is mediated via reduced expression of IGF-1.
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the LARGE gene have been identified in congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) patients with brain abnormalities. Both LARGE and its paralog, LARGE2 (also referred to as GYLTL1B) are bifunctional glycosyltransferases with xylosyltransferase (Xyl-T) and glucuronyltransferase (GlcA-T) activities, and are capable of forming polymers consisting of [-3Xyl-α1,3GlcAβ1-] repeats. LARGE-dependent modification of α-dystroglycan (α-DG) with these polysaccharides is essential for the ability of α-DG to act as a receptor for ligands in the extracellular matrix. Here we report on the endogenous enzymatic activities of LARGE and LARGE2 in mice and humans, using a newly developed assay for GlcA-T activity. We show that normal mouse and human cultured cells have endogenous LARGE GlcA-T, and that this activity is absent in cells from the Largemyd (Large-deficient) mouse model of muscular dystrophy, as well as in cells from CMD patients with mutations in the LARGE gene. We also demonstrate that GlcA-T activity is significant in the brain, heart, and skeletal muscle of wild-type and Large2-/- mice, but negligible in the corresponding tissues of the Largemyd mice. Notably, GlcA-T activity is substantial, though reduced, in the kidneys of both the Largemyd and Large2-/- mice, consistent with the observation of α-DG/laminin binding in these contexts. This study is the first to test LARGE activity in samples as small as cryosections and, moreover, provides the first direct evidence that not only LARGE, but also LARGE2, is vital to effective functional modification of α-DG in vivo.
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