Yasmin Namavar

Academisch Medisch Centrum Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands

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Publications (9)63.31 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Pontocerebellar hypoplasia (PCH) represents a group (PCH1-6) of neurodegenerative autosomal recessive disorders characterized by hypoplasia and/or atrophy of the cerebellum, hypoplasia of the ventral pons, progressive microcephaly and variable neocortical atrophy. The majority of PCH2 and PCH4 cases are caused by mutations in the TSEN54 gene; one of the four subunits comprising the tRNA-splicing endonuclease (TSEN) complex. We hypothesized that TSEN54 mutations act through a loss of function mechanism. At 8 weeks of gestation, human TSEN54 is expressed ubiquitously in the brain, yet strong expression is seen within the telencephalon and metencephalon. Comparable expression patterns for tsen54 are observed in zebrafish embryos. Morpholino (MO) knockdown of tsen54 in zebrafish embryos results in loss of structural definition in the brain. This phenotype was partially rescued by co-injecting the MO with human TSEN54 mRNA. A developmental patterning defect was not associated with tsen54 knockdown; however, an increase in cell death within the brain was observed, thus bearing resemblance to PCH pathophysiology. Additionally, N-methyl-N-nitrosourea mutant zebrafish homozygous for a tsen54 premature stop-codon mutation die within 9 days post-fertilization. To determine whether a common disease pathway exists between TSEN54 and other PCH-related genes, we also monitored the effects of mitochondrial arginyl-tRNA synthetase (rars2; PCH1 and PCH6) knockdown in zebrafish. Comparable brain phenotypes were observed following the inhibition of both genes. These data strongly support the hypothesis that TSEN54 mutations cause PCH through a loss of function mechanism. Also we suggest that a common disease pathway may exist between TSEN54- and RARS2-related PCH, which may involve a tRNA processing-related mechanism.
    Human Molecular Genetics 02/2011; 20(8):1574-84. · 7.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pontocerebellar hypoplasia (PCH) is a group of autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorders characterized by prenatal onset of stunted brain growth and progressive atrophy predominantly affecting cerebellum, pons and olivary nuclei, and to a lesser extent also the cerebral cortex. Six subtypes (PCH1-6) were described and genes for four types (PCH1, 2, 4 and 6) were identified. Mutations in the tRNA splicing endonuclease subunit (TSEN) genes 54, 2 and 34 are found in PCH2 and PCH4. One family with severe prenatal onset of PCH has been the only representative of PCH5 published so far, and the molecular genetic status of PCH5 has not been ascertained until now. We screened the previously reported PCH5 family for mutations in the TSEN54 gene. The PCH5 patient was found to be the result of compound heterozygosity for the common TSEN54 mutation (p.A307S) plus a novel splice site mutation. The mutations associated with PCH5 are similar to what has been reported in PCH4. Thus, PCH5, PCH4 and PCH2 represent a spectrum of clinical manifestations caused by different mutations in the TSEN genes. We, therefore, propose to classify PCH2, PCH4 and PCH5 as TSEN mutation spectrum disorders.
    European journal of human genetics: EJHG 02/2011; 19(6):724-6. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia (PCH) is group of very rare, inherited progressive neurodegenerative disorders with prenatal onset. Up to now seven different subtypes have been reported (PCH1-7). The incidence of each subtype is unknown. All subtypes share common characteristics, including hypoplasia/atrophy of cerebellum and pons, progressive microcephaly, and variable cerebral involvement. Patients have severe cognitive and motor handicaps and seizures are often reported. Treatment is only symptomatic and prognosis is poor, as most patients die during infancy or childhood. The genetic basis of different subtypes has been elucidated, which makes prenatal testing possible in families with mutations. Mutations in three tRNA splicing endonuclease subunit genes were found to be responsible for PCH2, PCH4 and PCH5. Mutations in the nuclear encoded mitochondrial arginyl- tRNA synthetase gene underlie PCH6. The tRNA splicing endonuclease, the mitochondrial arginyl- tRNA synthetase and the vaccinia related kinase1 are mutated in the minority of PCH1 cases. These genes are involved in essential processes in protein synthesis in general and tRNA processing in particular. In this review we describe the neuroradiological, neuropathological, clinical and genetic features of the different PCH subtypes and we report on in vitro and in vivo studies on the tRNA splicing endonuclease and mitochondrial arginyl-tRNA synthetase and discuss their relation to pontocerebellar hypoplasia.
    Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 01/2011; 6:50. · 4.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pontocerebellar hypoplasia is a group of autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorders with prenatal onset. The common characteristics are cerebellar hypoplasia with variable atrophy of the cerebellum and the ventral pons. Supratentorial involvement is reflected by variable neocortical atrophy, ventriculomegaly and microcephaly. Mutations in the transfer RNA splicing endonuclease subunit genes (TSEN54, TSEN2, TSEN34) were found to be associated with pontocerebellar hypoplasia types 2 and 4. Mutations in the mitochondrial transfer RNA arginyl synthetase gene (RARS2) were associated with pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 6. We studied a cohort of 169 patients from 141 families for mutations in these genes, of whom 106 patients tested positive for mutations in one of the TSEN genes or the RARS2 gene. In order to delineate the neuroradiological and clinical phenotype of patients with mutations in these genes, we compared this group with 63 patients suspected of pontocerebellar hypoplasia who were negative on mutation analysis. We found a strong correlation (P < 0.0005) between TSEN54 mutations and a dragonfly-like cerebellar pattern on magnetic resonance imaging, in which the cerebellar hemispheres are flat and severely reduced in size and the vermis is relatively spared. Mutations in TSEN54 are clinically associated with dyskinesia and/or dystonia and variable degrees of spasticity, in some cases with pure generalized spasticity. Nonsense or splice site mutations in TSEN54 are associated with a more severe phenotype of more perinatal symptoms, ventilator dependency and early death. In addition, we present ten new mutations in TSEN54, TSEN2 and RARS2. Furthermore, we show that pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 1 together with elevated cerebrospinal fluid lactate may be caused by RARS2 mutations.
    Brain 10/2010; 134(Pt 1):143-56. · 10.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The pontocerebellar hypoplasias (PCH) are a group of early-onset, autosomal recessive disorders resulting in abnormal growth and function of the brainstem and cerebellum. PCH type 2 (PCH2) is characterized by respiratory and feeding difficulties at birth, extrapyramidal dyskinesia, severe developmental impairment, progressive microcephaly and frequent death in childhood. Neuropathologic findings include diffuse cerebral gliosis with white matter changes, hypoplastic pons with depletion of neurons in the pontine nuclei, hypoplastic cerebellar hemispheres due to short cerebellar folia with poor branching, segmental loss of dentate, inferior olivary, and ventral pontine nuclei, and near absence of transverse pontine fibers with preservation of long fiber tracts and spinal anterior horn cells. On brain imaging, the cerebellar hemispheres appear very flat, and are more severely involved than the vermis. Most patients with PCH2 have mutations in TSEN54, with occasional mutations found in TSEN34 or TSEN2, genes that encode subunits of tRNA splicing endonuclease. Although this is a congenital disorder of pontocerebellar dysgenesis with fetal onset of neurodegeneration and symptoms at birth, prenatal imaging is unreliable in diagnosing this disorder in utero. We report on IVF dizygous twins with detailed prenatal imaging that failed to reveal any cerebellar abnormalities. Direct sequence analysis of TSEN54 showed homozygosity for c.919G>T, the common founder mutation in most PCH2 patients, and both parents were heterozygous for this mutation. We found no evidence of cerebellar dysgenesis on prenatal ultrasounds, but MRI tractography showed absence of pontine crossing fibers, a unique feature that might be useful for prenatal diagnosis of this condition.
    American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A 09/2010; 152A(9):2268-76. · 2.30 Impact Factor
  • European Journal of Paediatric Neurology - EUR J PAEDIATR NEUROL. 01/2009; 13.
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    ABSTRACT: Pontocerebellar hypoplasias (PCH) represent a group of neurodegenerative autosomal recessive disorders with prenatal onset, atrophy or hypoplasia of the cerebellum, hypoplasia of the ventral pons, microcephaly, variable neocortical atrophy and severe mental and motor impairments. In two subtypes, PCH2 and PCH4, we identified mutations in three of the four different subunits of the tRNA-splicing endonuclease complex. Our findings point to RNA processing as a new basic cellular impairment in neurological disorders.
    Nature Genetics 09/2008; 40(9):1113-8. · 35.21 Impact Factor
  • Yasmin Namavar, Peter G Barth, Frank Baas
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    ABSTRACT: Pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2 (PCH2) and type 4 (PCH4) share characteristic neuroradiologic findings associated with impaired motor and cognitive development. PCH2 is characterized by generalized clonus (“jitteriness”) with lack of voluntary motor development and later development of chorea and spasticity; impaired swallowing; impaired vision; and epilepsy. Individuals with PCH2 usually live into childhood. PCH4 is characterized by polyhydramnios, contractures, severe generalized clonus, and central respiratory failure usually resulting in death in the neonatal period. The diagnosis of pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2 (PCH2) and type 4 (PCH4) is based on neuroradiologic and neurologic findings. Molecular genetic testing of TSEN2, TSEN34, and TSEN54 is available clinically. Treatment of manifestations: PCH2: Treatment is symptomatic and includes nutritional support by gastrostomy, treatment of seizures, and use of physiotherapy. PCH4: Respiratory support is usually given for a limited time. Prevention of secondary complications: PCH2: Monitoring and hydration during prolonged periods of high fever to avoid malignant hyperthermia. Surveillance: PCH2: Monitoring to detect sleep apnea. Pontocerebellar hypoplasia type 2 and type 4 are inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. At conception, each sib of an affected individual has a 25% chance of being affected, a 50% chance of being an asymptomatic carrier, and a 25% chance of being unaffected and not a carrier. Carrier testing for at-risk relatives and prenatal testing of pregnancies at increased risk for TSEN2, TSEN34, and TSEN54 mutations is available.
    GeneReviews™, Edited by Roberta A Pagon, Thomas D Bird, Cynthia R Dolan, Karen Stephens, Margaret P Adam; University of Washington, Seattle.

Publication Stats

179 Citations
63.31 Total Impact Points


  • 2010–2011
    • Academisch Medisch Centrum Universiteit van Amsterdam
      • • Department of Genome Analysis
      • • Department of Neurogenetics
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
    • University of Amsterdam
      • Faculty of Medicine AMC
      Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2008
    • University of Cologne
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany