[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Presynaptic densities are specialized structures involved in synaptic vesicle tethering and neurotransmission; however, the mechanisms regulating their function remain understudied. In Drosophila, Bruchpilot is a major constituent of the presynaptic density that tethers vesicles. Here, we show that HDAC6 is necessary and sufficient for deacetylation of Bruchpilot. HDAC6 expression is also controlled by TDP-43, an RNA-binding protein deregulated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Animals expressing TDP-43 harboring pathogenic mutations show increased HDAC6 expression, decreased Bruchpilot acetylation, larger vesicle-tethering sites, and increased neurotransmission, defects similar to those seen upon expression of HDAC6 and opposite to hdac6 null mutants. Consequently, reduced levels of HDAC6 or increased levels of ELP3, a Bruchpilot acetyltransferase, rescue the presynaptic density defects in TDP-43-expressing flies as well as the decreased adult locomotion. Our work identifies HDAC6 as a Bruchpilot deacetylase and indicates that regulating acetylation of a presynaptic release-site protein is critical for maintaining normal neurotransmission.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene coding for Sequestosome 1 (SQSTM1) have been genetically associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Paget disease of bone. In the present study, we analyzed the SQSTM1 coding sequence for mutations in an extended cohort of 1,808 patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), ascertained within the European Early-Onset Dementia consortium. As control dataset, we sequenced 1,625 European control individuals and analyzed whole-exome sequence data of 2,274 German individuals (total n = 3,899). Association of rare SQSTM1 mutations was calculated in a meta-analysis of 4,332 FTLD and 10,240 control alleles. We identified 25 coding variants in FTLD patients of which 10 have not been described. Fifteen mutations were absent in the control individuals (carrier frequency <0.00026) whilst the others were rare in both patients and control individuals. When pooling all variants with a minor allele frequency <0.01, an overall frequency of 3.2 % was calculated in patients. Rare variant association analysis between patients and controls showed no difference over the whole protein, but suggested that rare mutations clustering in the UBA domain of SQSTM1 may influence disease susceptibility by doubling the risk for FTLD (RR = 2.18 [95 % CI 1.24-3.85]; corrected p value = 0.042). Detailed histopathology demonstrated that mutations in SQSTM1 associate with widespread neuronal and glial phospho-TDP-43 pathology. With this study, we provide further evidence for a putative role of rare mutations in SQSTM1 in the genetic etiology of FTLD and showed that, comparable to other FTLD/ALS genes, SQSTM1 mutations are associated with TDP-43 pathology.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) are clinically distinct fatal neurodegenerative disorders. Increasing molecular evidence indicates that both disorders are linked in a continuous spectrum (ALS-FTD spectrum). Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions consisting of the nuclear TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) are found in the large majority of patients in the ALS-FTD spectrum and dominant mutations in the TDP-43 gene cause ALS. A major unresolved question is whether TDP-43-mediated neuronal loss is caused by toxic gain of function of cytoplasmic aggregates, or by a loss of its normal function in the nucleus. Here we argue that based on recent genetic studies in worms, flies, fish, and rodents, loss of function of TDP-43, rather than toxic aggregates, is the key factor in TDP-43-related proteinopathies.
Trends in Molecular Medicine 12/2013; · 9.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a region upstream the BIN1 gene as the most important genetic susceptibility locus in Alzheimer's disease (AD) after APOE. We report that BIN1 transcript levels were increased in AD brains and identified a novel 3 bp insertion allele ∼28 kb upstream of BIN1, which increased (i) transcriptional activity in vitro, (ii) BIN1 expression levels in human brain and (iii) AD risk in three independent case-control cohorts (Meta-analysed Odds ratio of 1.20 (1.14-1.26) (P=3.8 × 10(-11))). Interestingly, decreased expression of the Drosophila BIN1 ortholog Amph suppressed Tau-mediated neurotoxicity in three different assays. Accordingly, Tau and BIN1 colocalized and interacted in human neuroblastoma cells and in mouse brain. Finally, the 3 bp insertion was associated with Tau but not Amyloid loads in AD brains. We propose that BIN1 mediates AD risk by modulating Tau pathology.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 12 February 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.1.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TDP-43 proteinopathy is strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and related neurodegenerative disorders. Whether TDP-43 neurotoxicity is caused by a novel toxic gain-of-function mechanism of the aggregates or by a loss of its normal function is unknown. We increased and decreased expression of TDP-43 (dTDP-43) in Drosophila. Although upregulation of dTDP-43 induced neuronal ubiquitin and dTDP-43-positive inclusions, both up- and downregulated dTDP-43 resulted in selective apoptosis of bursicon neurons and highly similar transcriptome alterations at the pupal-adult transition. Gene network analysis and genetic validation showed that both up- and downregulated dTDP-43 directly and dramatically increased the expression of the neuronal microtubule-associated protein Map205, resulting in cytoplasmic accumulations of the ecdysteroid receptor (EcR) and a failure to switch EcR-dependent gene programs from a pupal to adult pattern. We propose that dTDP-43 neurotoxicity is caused by a loss of its normal function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cytoplasmic accumulation and nuclear clearance of TDP-43 characterize familial and sporadic forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration, suggesting that either loss or gain of TDP-43 function, or both, cause disease formation. Here we have systematically compared loss- and gain of function of Drosophila TDP-43, TAR DNA Binding Protein Homolog (TBPH), in synaptic function and morphology, motor control, and age-related neuronal survival. Both loss and gain of TBPH severely affect development and result in premature lethality. TBPH dysfunction caused impaired synaptic transmission at the larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ) and in the adult. Tissue-specific knockdown together with electrophysiological recordings at the larval NMJ also revealed that alterations of TBPH function predominantly affect presynaptic efficacy, suggesting that impaired presynaptic transmission is one of the earliest events in TDP-43 related pathogenesis. Prolonged loss and gain of TBPH in adults resulted in synaptic defects and age-related, progressive degeneration of neurons involved in motor control. Toxic gain of TBPH did not downregulate or mislocalize its own expression, indicating that a dominant-negative effect leads to progressive neurodegeneration also seen with mutational inactivation of TBPH. Together these data suggest that dysfunction of Drosophila TDP-43 triggers a cascade of events leading to loss-of-function phenotypes whereby impaired synaptic transmission results in defective motor behavior and progressive deconstruction of neuronal connections, ultimately causing age-related neurodegeneration.
Human Molecular Genetics 01/2013; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe a patient who was clinically diagnosed with familial early-onset Alzheimer disease (AD) carrying both the E318G
substitution in presenilin 1 (PSEN1) and an insertion of 7 octapeptide coding repeats in the prion protein gene (PRNP). Neuropathological examination revealed elongated cerebellar prion protein deposits in the absence of AD pathology. Further
analysis of other family members showed that the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease phenotype in this family was caused solely by the
PRNP insertion. This observation is consistent with our previous finding that PSEN1 E318G is not causally related to AD.
Journal of Neurology 04/2012; 247(5):364-368. · 3.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aggregates of the microtubule-associated protein Tau are neuropathological hallmark lesions in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related primary tauopathies. In addition, Tau is genetically implicated in a number of human neurodegenerative disorders including frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). The exact mechanism by which Tau exerts its neurotoxicity is incompletely understood. Here, we give an overview of how studies using the genetic model organism Drosophila over the past decade have contributed to the molecular understanding of Tau neurotoxicity. We compare the different available readouts for Tau neurotoxicity in flies and review the molecular pathways in which Tau has been implicated. Finally, we emphasize that the integration of genome-wide approaches in human or mice with high-throughput genetic validation in Drosophila is a fruitful approach.
International journal of Alzheimer's disease. 01/2012; 2012:970980.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: m.14487T>C, a missense mutation (p.M63V) affecting the ND6 subunit of complex I of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, has been reported in isolated childhood cases with Leigh syndrome (LS) and progressive dystonia. Adult-onset phenotypes have not been reported.
To determine the clinical-neurological spectrum and associated mutation loads in an extended m.14487T>C family.
A genotype-phenotype correlation study of a Belgian five-generation family with 12 affected family members segregating m.14487T>C was carried out. Clinical and mutation load data were available for nine family members. Biochemical analysis of the respiratory chain was performed in three muscle biopsies.
Heteroplasmic m.14487T>C levels (36-52% in leucocytes, 97-99% in muscle) were found in patients with progressive myoclonic epilepsy (PME) and dystonia or progressive hypokinetic-rigid syndrome. Patients with infantile LS were homoplasmic (99-100% in leucocytes, 100% in muscle). We found lower mutation loads (between 8 and 35% in blood) in adult patients with clinical features including migraine with aura, Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, sensorineural hearing loss and diabetes mellitus type 2. Despite homoplasmic mutation loads, complex I catalytic activity was only moderately decreased in muscle tissue.
m.14487T>C resulted in a broad spectrum of phenotypes in our family. Depending on the mutation load, it caused severe encephalopathies ranging from infantile LS to adult-onset PME with dystonia. This is the first report of PME as an important neurological manifestation of an isolated mitochondrial complex I defect.
Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry 01/2010; 81(1):90-3. · 4.87 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report on the long-term follow-up of a patient with refractory non-convulsive SE who was successfully treated with VNS. A 7-year old girl with a medical history of thrombosis in the right internal cerebral vein and right thalamic bleeding 8 days after birth, developed epilepsy at the age of 13 months. At the age of 6 she presented with a refractory non-convulsive SE. A vagus nerve stimulator was placed after 11 days of thiopental-induced coma. Three days after VNS implantation, the thiopental-induced coma was successfully withdrawn and electroencephalography showed normalization one week after start of VNS. After a follow-up of 13 months she remains seizure-free and AEDs have been partially tapered. This case illustrates a potential acute abortive effect with sustained long-term seizure reduction of VNS in a 7-year old girl who presented with refractory non-convulsive SE.
European journal of paediatric neurology: EJPN: official journal of the European Paediatric Neurology Society 07/2008; 13(3):286-9. · 2.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The charged multivesicular body protein 2B gene (CHMP2B) was recently associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) linked to chromosome 3 in a Danish FTLD family (FTD-3). In this family, a mutation in the acceptor splice site of exon 6 produced two aberrant transcripts predicting two C-truncated CHMP2B proteins due to a read through of intron 5 (p.Met178ValfsX2) and a cryptic splicing event within exon 6 (p.Met178LeufsX30). Extensive mutation analysis of CHMP2B in Belgian patients (N = 146) identified one nonsense mutation in exon 5 (c.493C>T) in a familial FTLD patient, predicting a C-truncated protein p.Gln165X analogous to the Danish mutant proteins. Overexpression of Belgian p.Gln165X in human neuroblastoma SK-N-SH cells showed the formation of large, aberrant endosomal structures that were highly similar to those observed for Danish p.Met178ValfsX2. Together, these data suggest that C-truncating mutations in CHMP2B might underlie the pathogenic mechanism in FTLD by disturbing endosome function. We also describe a missense mutation in exon 5 of CHMP2B (p.Asn143Ser) in a familial patient with cortical basal degeneration. However, the pathogenic character of this mutation remains elusive.
Human Molecular Genetics 01/2008; 17(2):313-22. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nuclear TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43) is deposited in ubiquitin-positive inclusions in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), two clinicopathologically overlapping neurodegenerative diseases. In this study we excluded mutations and copy number variations in the gene encoding TDP-43 (TARDBP) from an extended series of 173 FTD and 237 ALS patients. Further, we did not identify association of common genetic variants in these patients. Our data implicate that TDP-43 has no primary genetic role in the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying central nervous system neurodegeneration in these diseases.
Neurobiology of aging 01/2008; 30(8):1329-31. · 5.94 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progranulin gene (PGRN) haploinsufficiency was recently associated with ubiquitin-positive frontotemporal lobar degeneration linked to chromosome 17q21 (FTLDU-17).
To assess whether PGRN genetic variability contributed to other common neurodegenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer disease (AD) or Parkinson disease (PD).
Mutation analysis of PGRN.
Memory Clinic of the Middelheim General Hospital. Patients We analyzed 666 Belgian patients with AD and 255 with PD.
Results of PGRN sequencing, PGRN transcript analysis, short tandem repeat genotyping, and neuropathologic analysis.
We identified 2 patients with AD and 1 patient with PD who carried the null mutation IVS0 + 5G>C, which we reported earlier in an extensively characterized Belgian founder family, DR8, segregating FTLDU. Postmortem pathologic diagnosis of the patient with PD revealed both FTLDU and Lewy body pathologic features. In addition, we identified in PGRN only 1 other null mutation, the nonsense mutation p.Arg535X, in 1 patient with probable AD. However, in vitro analysis predicted a PGRN C-truncated protein, although it remains to be elucidated if this shortened transcript leads to haploinsufficiency.
Our mutation data indicated that null mutations are rare in patients with AD (3/666 = 0.45%) and PD (1/255 = 0.39%). Also, AD and PD clinical diagnoses in patients who carry PGRN null mutations likely result from etiologic heterogeneity rather than PGRN haploinsufficiency.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Null mutations in the progranulin gene (GRN, PGRN) were recently identified as the causal mechanism underlying frontotemporal dementia (FTD) with ubiquitin-positive brain pathology linked to chromosome 17 (FTDU-17). In a Belgian and French FTD series comprising 332 patients, we reported 13 PGRN null mutations which were mainly nonsense and frameshift mutations resulting in premature stop codons. Here we report in the same patient series three missense mutations of which two (c.743C>T, p.Pro248Leu and c.1294C>T, p.Arg432Cys) were predicted in silico to severely affect protein folding and/or processing leading to PGRN protein haploinsufficiency. In addition, we observed three sequence variations in the 5' regulatory region that might potentially affect PGRN transcription activity. Our findings extend the mutation spectrum in PGRN leading to loss of functional PGRN as the basis for FTD.
Human Mutation 04/2007; 28(4):416. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) with ubiquitin-immunoreactive neuronal inclusions (both cytoplasmic and nuclear) of unknown nature has been linked to a chromosome 17q21 region (FTDU-17) containing MAPT (microtubule-associated protein tau). FTDU-17 patients have consistently been shown to lack a tau-immunoreactive pathology, a feature characteristic of FTD with parkinsonism linked to mutations in MAPT (FTDP-17). Furthermore, in FTDU-17 patients, mutations in MAPT and genomic rearrangements in the MAPT region have been excluded by both genomic sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization on mechanically stretched chromosomes. Here we demonstrate that FTDU-17 is caused by mutations in the gene coding for progranulin (PGRN), a growth factor involved in multiple physiological and pathological processes including tumorigenesis. Besides the production of truncated PGRN proteins due to premature stop codons, we identified a mutation within the splice donor site of intron 0 (IVS0 + 5G > C), indicating loss of the mutant transcript by nuclear degradation. The finding was made within an extensively documented Belgian FTDU-17 founder family. Transcript and protein analyses confirmed the absence of the mutant allele and a reduction in the expression of PGRN. We also identified a mutation (c.3G > A) in the Met1 translation initiation codon, indicating loss of PGRN due to lack of translation of the mutant allele. Our data provide evidence that PGRN haploinsufficiency leads to neurodegeneration because of reduced PGRN-mediated neuronal survival. Furthermore, in a Belgian series of familial FTD patients, PGRN mutations were 3.5 times more frequent than mutations in MAPT, underscoring a principal involvement of PGRN in FTD pathogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The varied ways in which mutations in presenilins (PSEN1 and PSEN2) affect amyloid b precursor protein (APP) processing in causing early-onset familial Alzheimer disease (FAD) are complex and not yet properly understood. Nonetheless, one useful diagnostic marker is an increased ratio of Ab42 to Ab40 (Ab42/Ab40) in patients' brain and biological fluids as well as in transgenic mice and cells. We studied Ab and APP processing for a set of nine clinical PSEN mutations on a novel and highly reproducible enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based in vitro method and also sought correlation with brain Ab analyzed by image densitometry and mass spectrometry. All mutations significantly increased Ab42/Ab40 in vitro by significantly decreasing Ab40 with accumulation of APP C-terminal fragments, a sign of decreased PSEN activity. A significant increase in absolute levels of Ab42 was observed for only half of the mutations tested. We also showed that age-of-onset of PSEN1-linked FAD correlated inversely with Ab42/Ab40 (r = -0.89; P = 0.001) and absolute levels of Ab42 (r = -0.83; P = 0.006), but directly with Ab40 levels (r = 0.69; P = 0.035). These changes also partly correlated with brain Ab42 and Ab40 levels. Together, our data suggested that Ab40 might be protective by perhaps sequestering the more toxic Ab42 and facilitating its clearance. Also, the in vitro method we describe here is a valid tool for assaying the pathogenic potential of clinical PSEN mutations in a molecular diagnostic setting.
Human Mutation 08/2006; 27(7):686-95. · 5.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Among patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), the respective frequencies of dominant 17q21-linked tau-negative FTLD (with unidentified molecular defect) and 17q21-linked tau-positive FTLD (due to MAPT mutations) remain unknown. Here, in a series of 98 genealogically unrelated Belgian FTLD patients, we identified an ancestral 8 cM MAPT containing haplotype in two patients belonging to multiplex families DR2 and DR8, without demonstrable MAPT mutations, in which FTLD was conclusively linked to 17q21 [maximum summed log of the odds (LOD) score of 5.28 at D17S931]. Interestingly, the same DR2-DR8 ancestral haplotype was observed in five additional familial FTLD patients, indicative of a founder effect. In the FTLD series, the DR2-DR8 ancestral haplotype explained 7% (7 out of 98) of FTLD and 17% (7 out of 42) of familial FTLD and was seven times more frequent than MAPT mutations (1 out of 98 or 1%). Clinically, DR2-DR8 haplotype carriers presented with FTLD often characterized by language impairment, and in one carrier the neuropathological diagnosis was FTLD with rare tau-negative ubiquitin-positive inclusions. Together, these results strongly suggest that the DR2-DR8 founder haplotype at 17q21 harbours a tau-negative FTLD causing mutation that is a much more frequent cause of FTLD in Belgium than MAPT mutations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The most common histologic feature in patients with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is intracellular brain inclusions of yet uncharacterized proteins that react with antiubiquitin (Ub) antibodies, but not with tau or synuclein (FTLD-U). We identified a four-generation Belgian FTLD family in which 8 patients had dominantly inherited FTLD. In one patient, we showed frontotemporal atrophy with filamentous Ub-positive intracellular inclusions in absence of tau pathology or any alterations in the levels of soluble tau. We characterized the cellular and subcellular localization and morphology of the inclusions. Ub-positive inclusions predominantly occurred within neurons (>97%), but were also observed within oligodendroglia (approximately 2%) and microglia (<1%), but not within astroglia. Regarding the subcellular localization, the intranuclear inclusions (INI) were up to approximately four-fold more frequent than the cytoplasmic inclusions, although the latter were more specific to neurons. The INIs frequently appeared spindle-shaped and 3-dimensional confocal reconstructions identified flattened, leaf-like structures. Ultrastructurally, straight 10- to 18-nm-diameter filaments constituted the spindle-shaped inclusions that occurred in close proximity to the nuclear membrane. Staining for HSP40, p62, and valosin/p97 was observed in only a minority of the inclusions. Whereas the precise nature of the protein remains elusive, characterization of such familial FTLD-U patients would be helpful in identifying a common denominator in the pathogenesis of familial and the more prevalent sporadic FTLD-U.
Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology 04/2006; 65(3):289-301. · 4.35 Impact Factor