C G van Berkel

Pierre and Marie Curie University - Paris 6, Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France

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Publications (37)418.35 Total impact

  • Muscle & Nerve 12/2013; · 2.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Mutant mouse models suggest that the chloride channel ClC-2 has functions in ion and water homoeostasis, but this has not been confirmed in human beings. We aimed to define novel disorders characterised by distinct patterns of MRI abnormalities in patients with leukoencephalopathies of unknown origin, and to identify the genes mutated in these disorders. We were specifically interested in leukoencephalopathies characterised by white matter oedema, suggesting a defect in ion and water homoeostasis. METHODS: In this observational analytical study, we recruited patients with leukoencephalopathies characterised by MRI signal abnormalities in the posterior limbs of the internal capsules, midbrain cerebral peduncles, and middle cerebellar peduncles from our databases of patients with leukoencephalopathies of unknown origin. We used exome sequencing to identify the gene involved. We screened the candidate gene in additional patients by Sanger sequencing and mRNA analysis, and investigated the functional effects of the mutations. We assessed the localisation of ClC-2 with immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy in post-mortem human brains of individuals without neurological disorders. FINDINGS: Seven patients met our inclusion criteria, three with adult-onset disease and four with childhood-onset disease. We identified homozygous or compound-heterozygous mutations in CLCN2 in three adult and three paediatric patients. We found evidence that the CLCN2 mutations result in loss of function of ClC-2. The remaining paediatric patient had an X-linked family history and a mutation in GJB1, encoding connexin 32. Clinical features were variable and included cerebellar ataxia, spasticity, chorioretinopathy with visual field defects, optic neuropathy, cognitive defects, and headaches. MRI showed restricted diffusion suggesting myelin vacuolation that was confined to the specified white matter structures in adult patients, and more diffusely involved the brain white matter in paediatric patients. We detected ClC-2 in all components of the panglial syncytium, enriched in astrocytic endfeet at the perivascular basal lamina, in the glia limitans, and in ependymal cells. INTERPRETATION: Our observations substantiate the concept that ClC-2 is involved in brain ion and water homoeostasis. Autosomal-recessive CLCN2 mutations cause a leukoencephalopathy that belongs to an emerging group of disorders affecting brain ion and water homoeostasis and characterised by intramyelinic oedema. FUNDING: European Leukodystrophies Association, INSERM and Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (ZonMw), E-Rare, Hersenstichting, Optimix Foundation for Scientific Research, Myelin Disorders Bioregistry Project, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and Genetic and Epigenetic Networks in Cognitive Dysfunction (GENCODYS) Project (funded by the European Union Framework Programme 7).
    The Lancet Neurology 05/2013; · 23.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To identify the mutated gene in a group of patients with an unclassified heritable white matter disorder sharing the same, distinct MRI pattern. METHODS: We used MRI pattern recognition analysis to select a group of patients with a similar, characteristic MRI pattern. We performed whole-exome sequencing to identify the mutated gene. We examined patients' fibroblasts for biochemical consequences of the mutant protein. RESULTS: We identified 6 patients from 5 unrelated families with a similar MRI pattern showing predominant abnormalities of the cerebellar cortex, deep cerebral white matter, and corpus callosum. The 4 tested patients had a respiratory chain complex I deficiency. Exome sequencing revealed mutations in NUBPL, encoding an iron-sulfur cluster assembly factor for complex I, in all patients. Upon identification of the mutated gene, we analyzed the MRI of a previously published case with NUBPL mutations and found exactly the same pattern. A strongly decreased amount of NUBPL protein and fully assembled complex I was found in patients' fibroblasts. Analysis of the effect of mutated NUBPL on the assembly of the peripheral arm of complex I indicated that NUBPL is involved in assembly of iron-sulfur clusters early in the complex I assembly pathway. CONCLUSION: Our data show that NUBPL mutations are associated with a unique, consistent, and recognizable MRI pattern, which facilitates fast diagnosis and obviates the need for other tests, including assessment of mitochondrial complex activities in muscle or fibroblasts.
    Neurology 04/2013; · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    Tijdschrift voor kindergeneeskunde 02/2013; 81(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Aim Leukoencephalopathy with brainstem and spinal cord involvement and lactate elevation (LBSL) is known as a relatively mild leukoencephalopathy. We investigated the occurrence of severe variants of LBSL with extensive brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities.Method MRIs of approximately 3,000 patients with an unknown leukoencephalopathy were retrospectively reviewed for extensive signal abnormalities of the cerebral and cerebellar white matter, posterior limb of the internal capsule, cerebellar peduncles, pyramids, and medial lemniscus. Clinical data were retrospectively collected.Results Eleven patients fulfilled the MRI criteria (six males); six had DARS2 mutations. Clinical and laboratory findings did not distinguish between patients with and without DARS2 mutations, but MRI did. Patients with DARS2 mutations more often had involvement of structures typically affected in LBSL, including decussatio of the medial lemniscus, anterior spinocerebellar tracts, and superior and inferior cerebellar peduncles. Also, involvement of the globus pallidus was associated with DARS2 mutations. Earliest disease onset was neonatal; earliest death at 20 months.Interpretation This study confirms the occurrence of early infantile, severe LBSL, extending the known phenotypic range of LBSL. Abnormality of specific brainstem tracts and cerebellar peduncles are MRI findings that point to the correct diagnosis.
    Neuropediatrics 10/2012; · 1.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the large group of genetically undetermined infantile-onset mitochondrial encephalopathies, multiple defects of mitochondrial DNA-related respiratory-chain complexes constitute a frequent biochemical signature. In order to identify responsible genes, we used exome-next-generation sequencing in a selected cohort of patients with this biochemical signature. In an isolated patient, we found two mutant alleles for EARS2, the gene encoding mitochondrial glutamyl-tRNA synthetase. The brain magnetic resonance imaging of this patient was hallmarked by extensive symmetrical cerebral white matter abnormalities sparing the periventricular rim and symmetrical signal abnormalities of the thalami, midbrain, pons, medulla oblongata and cerebellar white matter. Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy showed increased lactate. We matched this magnetic resonance imaging pattern with that of a cohort of 11 previously selected unrelated cases. We found mutations in the EARS2 gene in all. Subsequent detailed clinical and magnetic resonance imaging based phenotyping revealed two distinct groups: mild and severe. All 12 patients shared an infantile onset and rapidly progressive disease with severe magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities and increased lactate in body fluids and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Patients in the 'mild' group partially recovered and regained milestones in the following years with striking magnetic resonance imaging improvement and declining lactate levels, whereas those of the 'severe' group were characterized by clinical stagnation, brain atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging and persistent lactate increases. This new neurological disease, early-onset leukoencephalopathy with thalamus and brainstem involvement and high lactate, is hallmarked by unique magnetic resonance imaging features, defined by a peculiar biphasic clinical course and caused by mutations in a single gene, EARS2, expanding the list of medically relevant defects of mitochondrial DNA translation.
    Brain 04/2012; 135(Pt 5):1387-94. · 9.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: LBSL (leukoencephalopathy with brain stem and spinal cord involvement and lactate elevation) is an autosomal recessive white matter disorder with slowly progressive cerebellar ataxia, spasticity and dorsal column dysfunction. Magnetic resonance imaging shows characteristic abnormalities in the cerebral white matter and specific brain stem and spinal cord tracts. LBSL is caused by mutations in the gene DARS2, which encodes mtAspRS (mitochondrial aspartyl-tRNA synthetase). The selective involvement of specific white matter tracts in LBSL is striking since this protein is ubiquitously expressed. Almost all LBSL patients have one mutation in intron 2 of DARS2, affecting the splicing of the third exon. Using a splicing reporter construct, we find cell-type-specific differences in the sensitivity to these mutations: the mutations have a larger effect on exon 3 exclusion in neural cell lines, especially neuronal cell lines, than in non-neural cell lines. Furthermore, correct inclusion of exon 3 in the normal mtAspRS mRNA occurs less efficiently in neural cells than in other cell types, and this effect is again most pronounced in neuronal cells. The combined result of these two effects may explain the selective vulnerability of specific white matter tracts in LBSL patients.
    Biochemical Journal 02/2012; 441(3):955-62. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    Journal of child neurology 08/2011; 26(8):1057; author reply 1058. · 1.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autosomal recessive mutations in eukaryotic initiation factor 2B (eIF2B) cause leukoencephalopathy vanishing white matter with a wide clinical spectrum. eIF2B comprises five subunits (α-ε; genes EIF2B1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) and is the guanine nucleotide-exchange factor (GEF) for eIF2. It plays a key role in protein synthesis. Here, we have studied the functional effects of selected VWM mutations in EIF2B2-5 by co-expressing mutated and wildtype subunits in human cells. The observed functional effects are very diverse, including defects in eIF2B complex integrity; binding to the regulatory α-subunit; substrate binding; and GEF activity. Activity data for recombinant eIF2B complexes agree closely with those for patient-derived cells with the same mutations. Some mutations do not affect these parameters even though they cause severe disease. These findings are important for three reasons; they demonstrate that measuring eIF2B activity in patients' cells has limited value as a diagnostic test; they imply that severe disease can result from alterations in eIF2B function other than defects in complex integrity, substrate binding or GEF activity and, lastly, the diversity of functional effects of VWM mutations implies that seeking agents to manage or treat VWM should focus on downstream effectors of eIF2B, not restoring eIF2B activity. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Human Mutation 05/2011; · 5.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vanishing white matter (VWM) disease is a genetic leukoencephalopathy linked to mutations in the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2B. It is a disease of infants, children, and adults who experience a slowly progressive neurologic deterioration with episodes of rapid clinical worsening triggered by stress and eventually leading to death. Characteristic neuropathologic findings include cystic degeneration of the white matter with scarce reactive gliosis, dysmorphic astrocytes, and paucity of myelin despite an increase in oligodendrocytic density. To assess whether a defective maturation of macroglia may be responsible for the feeble gliosis and lack of myelin, weinvestigated the maturation status of astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in the brains of 8 VWM patients, 4 patients with other white matter disorders and 6 age-matched controls with a combination of immunocytochemistry, histochemistry, scratch-wound assays, Western blot, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction. We observed increased proliferation and a defect in the maturation of VWM astrocytes. They show an anomalous composition of their intermediate filament network with predominance of the δ-isoform of the glial fibrillary acidic protein and an increase in the heat shock protein αB-crystallin, supporting the possibility that a deficiency in astrocyte function may contribute to the loss of white matter in VWM. We also demonstrated a significant increase in numbers of premyelinating oligodendrocyte progenitors in VWM, which may explain the coexistence of oligodendrocytosis and myelin paucity in the patients' white matter.
    Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 01/2011; 70(1):69-82. · 4.35 Impact Factor
  • European Journal of Paediatric Neurology - EUR J PAEDIATR NEUROL. 01/2011; 15.
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    ABSTRACT: Vanishing white matter (VWM) is an autosomal recessive leukoencephalopathy characterized by slowly progressive ataxia and spasticity with additional stress-provoked episodes of rapid and major deterioration. The disease is caused by mutations in the genes encoding the subunits of eukaryotic initiation factor 2B, which is pivotal in translation of mRNAs into proteins. The disease onset, clinical severity, and disease course of VWM vary greatly. The influence of genotype and gender on the phenotype is unclear. From our database of 184 patients with VWM, we selected those with the following mutations in the gene EIF2B5: p.Arg113His in the homozygous state (n = 23), p.Arg113His in the compound-heterozygous state (n = 49), p.Thr91Ala in the homozygous state (n = 8), p.Arg113His/p.Arg339any (n = 9), and p.Thr91Ala/p.Arg339any (n = 7). We performed a cross-sectional observational study. Evaluated clinical characteristics were gender, age at onset, age at loss of walking without support, and age at death. Means, male/female ratios, and Kaplan-Meier curves were compared. Patients homozygous for p.Arg113His had a milder disease than patients compound heterozygous for p.Arg113His and patients homozygous for p.Thr91Ala. Patients with p.Arg113His/p.Arg339any had a milder phenotype than patients with p.Thr91Ala/p.Arg339any. Overall, females tended to have a milder disease than males. The clinical phenotype in VWM is influenced by the combination of both mutations. Females tend to do better than males.
    Neurology 10/2010; 75(17):1555-9. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene MLC1 are found in approximately 80% of the patients with the inherited childhood white matter disorder megalencephalic leukoencephalopathy with subcortical cysts (MLC). Genetic linkage studies have not led to the identification of another disease gene. We questioned whether mutations in CLCN2, coding for the chloride channel protein 2 (ClC-2), are involved in MLC. Mice lacking this protein develop white matter abnormalities, which are characterized by vacuole formation in the myelin sheaths, strikingly similar to the intramyelinic vacuoles in MLC. Sequence analysis of CLCN2 at genomic DNA and cDNA levels in 18 MLC patients without MLC1 mutations revealed some nucleotide changes, but they were predicted to be nonpathogenic. Further, in electrophysiological experiments, one of the observed amino acid changes was shown to have no effect on the ClC-2-mediated currents. In conclusion, we found no evidence suggesting that the CLCN2 gene is involved in MLC.
    Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers 02/2010; 14(2):255-7. · 1.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leukoencephalopathy with brain stem and spinal cord involvement and lactate elevation (LBSL) has recently been defined based on a highly characteristic constellation of abnormalities observed by magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy. LBSL is an autosomal recessive disease, most often manifesting in early childhood. Affected individuals develop slowly progressive cerebellar ataxia, spasticity and dorsal column dysfunction, sometimes with a mild cognitive deficit or decline. We performed linkage mapping with microsatellite markers in LBSL families and found a candidate region on chromosome 1, which we narrowed by means of shared haplotypes. Sequencing of genes in this candidate region uncovered mutations in DARS2, which encodes mitochondrial aspartyl-tRNA synthetase, in affected individuals from all 30 families. Enzyme activities of mutant proteins were decreased. We were surprised to find that activities of mitochondrial complexes from fibroblasts and lymphoblasts derived from affected individuals were normal, as determined by different assays.
    Nature Genetics 05/2007; 39(4):534-9. · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leukoencephalopathy with vanishing white matter (VWM) is an inherited childhood white matter disorder, caused by mutations in the genes encoding eukaryotic initiation factor 2B (eIF2B). The present study showed that, while the eIF2B activity was reduced in VWM lymphoblasts, the expression levels of the eIF2B subunits were similar to control lymphoblast lines. The mutations in eIF2B did not affect the interaction with eIF2. Strikingly, no apparent differences for the regulation of protein synthesis, measured by [35S]-methionine incorporation, were found between control and VWM lymphoblasts. Western blotting showed that, in some VWM cells, exposure to heat shock caused a decrease in the expression of specific eIF2B subunits. Most importantly, the increase in phosphorylation of eIF2alpha in response to heat shock was lower in VWM lymphoblasts than in control cells. These findings could form part of the explanation for the episodes of rapid and severe deterioration in VWM patients that are precipitated by febrile infections.
    Neurobiology of Disease 04/2006; 21(3):496-504. · 5.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vanishing white matter is a leukoencephalopathy that usually affects young children. Five genes were found recently for this disease, allowing a DNA-based diagnosis. The authors describe six patients homozygous for the Arg113His mutation in eIF2Bepsilon. Only one had a childhood onset; four had a later onset and a protracted disease course; one adult still has no symptoms. Our data suggest that the Arg113His mutation is particularly mild and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of adult diffuse leukoencephalopathies, independent of whether there are associated clinical signs, an episodic course, or MRI shows white matter rarefaction/cystic degeneration.
    Neurology 06/2004; 62(9):1598-600. · 8.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leukoencephalopathy with vanishing white matter, also called "childhood ataxia with central nervous system hypomyelination," is the first human disease related to mutations in any of the five genes encoding subunits of eukaryotic initiation factor eIF2B or any translation factor at all. eIF2B is essential in all cells of the body for protein synthesis and the regulation of this protein synthesis under different stress conditions. It is surprising that mutations in the eIF2B genes have been reported to lead to abnormalities of the white matter of the brain only, although it has been shown recently that ovarian failure may accompany the leukoencephalopathy. Another surprising observation is that the onset of the disease varies from early childhood to adulthood, with the exception of Cree leukoencephalopathy, a disease related to a particular mutation in one of the eIF2B genes, which invariably has its onset within the first year of life. We analyzed the eIF2B genes of nine patients with an antenatal- or early-infantile-onset encephalopathy and an early demise and found mutations in eight of the patients. In addition to signs of a serious encephalopathy, we found oligohydramnios, intrauterine growth retardation, cataracts, pancreatitis, hepatosplenomegaly, hypoplasia of the kidneys, and ovarian dysgenesis. Until now, no evidence had been found for a genotype-phenotype correlation, but the consistently severe phenotype in affected siblings among our patients and in Cree encephalopathy patients suggests an influence of the genotype on the phenotype.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 12/2003; 73(5):1199-207. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leukoencephalopathy with vanishing white matter (VWM) is an inherited brain disease that occurs mainly in children. The course is chronic-progressive with additional episodes of rapid deterioration following febrile infection or minor head trauma. We have identified mutations in EIF2B5 and EIF2B2, encoding the epsilon- and beta-subunits of the translation initiation factor eIF2B and located on chromosomes 3q27 and 14q24, respectively, as causing VWM. We found 16 different mutations in EIF2B5 in 29 patients from 23 families. We also found two distantly related individuals who were homozygous with respect to a missense mutation in EIF2B2, affecting a conserved amino acid. Three other patients also had mutations in EIF2B2. As eIF2B has an essential role in the regulation of translation under different conditions, including stress, this may explain the rapid deterioration of people with VWM under stress. Mutant translation initiation factors have not previously been implicated in disease.
    Nature Genetics 01/2002; 29(4):383-8. · 35.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is an autosomal recessive chromosomal instability syndrome with at least seven different complementation groups. Four FA genes (FANCA, FANCC, FANCF, and FANCG) have been identified, and two other FA genes (FANCD and FANCE) have been mapped. Here we report the identification, by complementation cloning, of the gene mutated in FA complementation group E (FANCE). FANCE has 10 exons and encodes a novel 536–amino acid protein with two potential nuclear localization signals.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 12/2000; · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fanconi anemia (FA) is an autosomal recessive disorder with diverse clinical symptoms and extensive genetic heterogeneity. Of eight FA genes that have been implicated on the basis of complementation studies, four have been identified and two have been mapped to different loci; the status of the genes supposed to be defective in groups B and H is uncertain. Here we present evidence indicating that the patient who has been the sole representative of the eighth complementation group (FA-H) in fact belongs to group FA-A. Previous exclusion from group A was apparently based on phenotypic reversion to wild-type rather than on genuine complementation in fusion hybrids. To avoid the pitfall of reversion, future assignment of patients with FA to new complementation groups should conform with more-stringent criteria. A new group should be based on at least two patients with FA whose cell lines are excluded from all known groups and that fail to complement each other in fusion hybrids, or, if only one such cell line were available, on a new complementing gene that carries pathogenic mutations in this cell line. On the basis of these criteria, the current number of complementation groups in FA is seven.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 10/2000; 67(3):759-62. · 11.20 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
418.35 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013
    • Pierre and Marie Curie University - Paris 6
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2010–2013
    • VU University Medical Center
      • Department of Pediatrics
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 1999–2007
    • VU University Amsterdam
      • Department of Clinical Genetics
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 1989–1998
    • University of Amsterdam
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 1997
    • University of Toronto
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada