[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION:
Protein aggregation is a common cause of neuropathology. The protein aggregation myopathy Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy 1D (LGMD1D) is caused by mutations of amino acids Phe89 or Phe93 of DNAJB6, a co-chaperone of the HSP70 anti-aggregation protein. Another DNAJB6 mutation, Pro96Arg, was found to cause a distal-onset myopathy in one family.
We detail the mutational, neuropathological, neurophysiological, neurological and radiological features of five new DNAJB6-myopathy families. One has the known Phe93Leu mutation and classic late-onset slowly progressive LGMD1D. Two have different mutations of Phe91 causing a variant childhood-onset severe limb-girdle myopathy. One has a Phe100Val mutation and distal-onset myopathy, unique early bulbar involvement, and a gender-modified wide age-of-onset range. The last has childhood-onset severe distal-onset myopathy and the first non-missense DNAJB6 mutation, c.346 + 5G > A, causing a splicing defect that entirely eliminates DNAJB6's G/F domain (ΔG/F), the domain that harbours all other mutations. Clinical and imaging examinations reveal that muscles considered uninvolved in DNAJB6-myopathy, e.g. lateral gastrocnemii, are affected in our patients with new mutations. Mutational modelling based on the known structure of the bacterial DNAJ2 protein indicates that all past and present mutated residues cluster within 15 Å in the G/F domain and all disturb the interface of this domain with the protein's J domain that confers the interaction with HSP70.
Our patients expand the phenotypic spectrum of DNAJB6-myopathy and allow tentative genotype-phenotype specifications. Combining with previous studies, the clinical severity spectrum is as follows: ΔG/F and Phe91 mutations, most severe; Phe100, Pro96, Phe89 mutations, intermediate; and Phe93, least severe. As it stands presently, proximal G/F domain mutations (Phe89, Phe91, Phe93) cause proximal limb-girdle myopathy, while distal G/F mutations (Pro96, Phe100) cause distal-onset myopathy. While all mutations affect the G/F-J interaction, each likely does so in different unknown extents or ways. One mutation, ΔG/F, causes its associated severe distal-onset myopathy phenotype in a clear way, through generation of a G/F domain-lacking DNAJB6 protein.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein aggregate myopathies are increasingly recognised conditions characterised by a surplus of endogenous proteins. The molecular and mutational background for many protein aggregate myopathies has been clarified with the discovery of several underlying mutations. Familial idiopathic hyperCKaemia is a benign genetically heterogeneous condition with autosomal dominant features in a high proportion of cases.
In 10 patients from three Italian families with autosomal dominant benign vacuolar myopathy and hyperCKaemia, we performed linkage analysis and exome sequencing as well as morphological and biochemical investigations.
We show, by Sanger and exome sequencing, that the protein aggregate myopathy with benign evolution and muscle inclusions composed of excess CASQ1, affecting three Italian families, is due to the D244G heterozygous missense mutation in the CASQ1 gene. Investigation of microsatellite markers revealed a common haplotype in the three families indicating consanguinity and a founder effect. Results from immunocytochemistry, electron microscopy, biochemistry and transfected cell line investigations contribute to our understanding of pathogenetic mechanisms underlining this defect. The mutation is common to other Italian patients and is likely to share a founder effect with them. HyperCKaemia in the CASQ1-related myopathy is common and sometimes the sole overt manifestation. It is likely that CASQ1 mutations may remain undiagnosed if a muscle biopsy is not performed, and the condition could be more common than supposed.
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Journal of Medical Genetics 07/2015; 52(9). DOI:10.1136/jmedgenet-2014-102882 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Centronuclear myopathies (CNMs) are a group of clinically and genetically heterogeneous muscle disorders. To date, mutation in 7 different genes has been reported to cause CNMs but 30 % of cases still remain genetically undefined. Genetic investigations are often expensive and time consuming. Clinical and morphological clues are needed to facilitate genetic tests and to choose the best approach for genetic screening. We aimed to describe genotype-phenotype correlation in an Italian cohort of patients affected by CNMs, to define the relative frequencies of its defined genetic forms and to draw a diagnostic algorithm to address genetic investigations. We recruited patients with CNMs from all the Italian tertiary neuromuscular centers following clinical and histological criteria. All selected patients were screened for the four 'canonical' genes related to CNMs: MTM1, DNM2, RYR1 and BIN1. Pathogenetic mutations were found in 38 of the 54 screened patients (70 %), mostly in patients with congenital onset (25 of 30 patients, 83 %): 15 in MTM1, 6 in DNM2, 3 in RYR1 and one in TTN. Among the 13 patients with a childhood-adolescence onset, mutations were found in 6 patients (46 %), all in DNM2. In the group of the 11 patients with adult onset, mutations were identified in 7 patients (63 %), again in DNM2, confirming that variants in this gene are relatively more common in late-onset phenotypes. The present study provides the relative molecular frequency of centronuclear myopathy and of its genetically defined forms in Italy and also proposes a diagnostic algorithm to be used in clinical practice to address genetic investigations.
Journal of Neurology 05/2015; 262(7). DOI:10.1007/s00415-015-7757-9 · 3.38 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The important depletion of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the general depression of mitochondrial respiratory chain complex levels (including complex II) have been confirmed, implying an increasing paucity of mitochondria in the muscle from patients with types I, II, and III spinal muscular atrophy (SMA-I, -II, and -III, respectively).
To investigate mitochondrial dysfunction in a large series of muscle biopsy samples from patients with SMA.
We studied quadriceps muscle samples from 24 patients with genetically documented SMA and paraspinal muscle samples from 3 patients with SMA-II undergoing surgery for scoliosis correction. Postmortem muscle samples were obtained from 1 additional patient. Age-matched controls consisted of muscle biopsy specimens from healthy children aged 1 to 3 years who had undergone analysis for suspected myopathy. Analyses were performed at the Neuromuscular Unit, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Foundation Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico-Milano, from April 2011 through January 2015.
We used histochemical, biochemical, and molecular techniques to examine the muscle samples.
Respiratory chain activity and mitochondrial content.
Results of histochemical analysis revealed that cytochrome-c oxidase (COX) deficiency was more evident in muscle samples from patients with SMA-I and SMA-II. Residual activities for complexes I, II, and IV in muscles from patients with SMA-I were 41%, 27%, and 30%, respectively, compared with control samples (P < .005). Muscle mtDNA content and cytrate synthase activity were also reduced in all 3 SMA types (P < .05). We linked these alterations to downregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor coactivator 1α, the transcriptional activators nuclear respiratory factor 1 and nuclear respiratory factor 2, mitochondrial transcription factor A, and their downstream targets, implying depression of the entire mitochondrial biogenesis. Results of Western blot analysis confirmed the reduced levels of the respiratory chain subunits that included mitochondrially encoded COX1 (47.5%; P = .004), COX2 (32.4%; P < .001), COX4 (26.6%; P < .001), and succinate dehydrogenase complex subunit A (65.8%; P = .03) as well as the structural outer membrane mitochondrial porin (33.1%; P < .001). Conversely, the levels of expression of 3 myogenic regulatory factors-muscle-specific myogenic factor 5, myoblast determination 1, and myogenin-were higher in muscles from patients with SMA compared with muscles from age-matched controls (P < .05).
Our results strongly support the conclusion that an altered regulation of myogenesis and a downregulated mitochondrial biogenesis contribute to pathologic change in the muscle of patients with SMA. Therapeutic strategies should aim at counteracting these changes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The EuroBioBank (EBB) network (www.eurobiobank.org) is the first operating network of biobanks in Europe to provide human DNA, cell and tissue samples as a service to the scientific community conducting research on rare diseases (RDs). The EBB was established in 2001 to facilitate access to RD biospecimens and associated data; it obtained funding from the European Commission in 2002 (5th framework programme) and started operation in 2003. The set-up phase, during the EC funding period 2003-2006, established the basis for running the network; the following consolidation phase has seen the growth of the network through the joining of new partners, better network cohesion, improved coordination of activities, and the development of a quality-control system. During this phase the network participated in the EC-funded TREAT-NMD programme and was involved in planning of the European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure. Recently, EBB became a partner of RD-Connect, an FP7 EU programme aimed at linking RD biobanks, registries, and bioinformatics data. Within RD-Connect, EBB contributes expertise, promotes high professional standards, and best practices in RD biobanking, is implementing integration with RD patient registries and 'omics' data, thus challenging the fragmentation of international cooperation on the field.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 24 December 2014; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2014.272.
European journal of human genetics: EJHG 12/2014; 23(9). DOI:10.1038/ejhg.2014.272 · 4.35 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background Tubular aggregate myopathies (TAMs) are muscle disorders characterised by abnormal accumulations of densely packed single-walled or double-walled membrane tubules in muscle fibres. Recently, STIM1, encoding a major calcium sensor of the endoplasmic reticulum, was identified as a TAM gene.
Methods The present study aims to define the clinical, histological and ultrastructural phenotype of tubular aggregate myopathy and to assess the STIM1 mutation spectrum.
Results We describe six new TAM families harbouring one known and four novel STIM1 mutations. All identified mutations are heterozygous missense mutations affecting highly conserved amino acids in the calcium-binding EF-hand domains, demonstrating the presence of a mutation hot spot for TAM. We show that the mutations induce constitutive STIM1 clustering, strongly suggesting that calcium sensing and consequently calcium homoeostasis is impaired. Histological and ultrastructural analyses define a common picture with tubular aggregates labelled with Gomori trichrome and Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) tetrazolium reductase, substantiating their endoplasmic reticulum origin. The aggregates were observed in both fibre types and were often accompanied by nuclear internalisation and fibre size variability. The phenotypical spectrum ranged from childhood onset progressive muscle weakness and elevated creatine kinase levels to adult-onset myalgia without muscle weakness and normal CK levels.
Conclusions The present study expands the phenotypical spectrum of STIM1-related tubular aggregate myopathy. STIM1 should therefore be considered for patients with tubular aggregate myopathies involving either muscle weakness or myalgia as the first and predominant clinical sign.
Journal of Medical Genetics 10/2014; 51(12). DOI:10.1136/jmedgenet-2014-102623 · 6.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dystroglycan is a transmembrane glycoprotein whose interactions with the extracellular matrix (ECM) are necessary for normal muscle and brain development, and disruptions of its function lead to dystroglycanopathies, a group of congenital muscular dystrophies showing extreme genetic and clinical heterogeneity. Specific glycans bound to the extracellular portion dystroglycan, α-dystroglycan, mediate ECM interactions and most known dystroglycanopathy genes encode glycosyltransferases involved in glycan synthesis. POMK, which was found mutated in one severe dystroglycanopathy case, is instead involved in a glycan phosphorylation reaction critical for ECM binding, but little is known about the clinical presentation of POMK mutations or of the function of this protein in the muscle. Here we describe two families carrying different truncating alleles, both removing the kinase domain in POMK, with different clinical manifestations ranging from Walker Warburg Syndrome, the most severe form of dystroglycanopathy, to limb-girdle muscular dystrophy with cognitive defects. We explored POMK expression in fetal and adult human muscle and identified widespread expression primarily during fetal development in myocytes and interstitial cells suggesting a role for this protein during early muscle differentiation. Analysis loss of function in the zebrafish embryo and larva showed that pomk function is necessary for normal muscle development, leading to locomotor dysfuction in the embryo and signs of muscular dystrophy in the larva. In summary, we defined diverse clinical presentations following POMK mutations and showed that this gene is necessary for early muscle development.
Human Molecular Genetics 06/2014; 23(21). DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu296 · 6.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Sgcb-null mouse, with knocked-down β-sarcoglycan, develops severe muscular dystrophy as in type 2E human limb girdle muscular dystrophy. The mdx mouse, lacking dystrophin, is the most used model for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Unlike DMD, the mdx mouse has mild clinical features and shows little fibrosis in limb muscles. To characterize ECM protein deposition and the progression of muscle fibrosis, we evaluated protein and transcript levels of collagens I, III and VI, decorin, and TGF-β1, in quadriceps and diaphragm, at 2, 4, 8, 12, 26, and 52 weeks in Sgcb-null mice, and protein levels at 12, 26, and 52 weeks in mdx mice. In Sgcb-null mice, severe morphological disruption was present from 4 weeks in both quadriceps and diaphragm, and included conspicuous deposition of extracellular matrix components. Histopathological features of Sgcb-null mouse muscles were similar to those of age-matched mdx muscles at all ages examined, but, in the Sgcb-null mouse, the extent of connective tissue deposition was generally greater than mdx. Furthermore, in the Sgcb-null mouse, the amount of all three collagen isoforms increased steadily, while, in the mdx, they remained stable. We also found that, at 12 weeks, macrophages were significantly more numerous in mildly inflamed areas of Sgcb-null quadriceps compared to mdx quadriceps (but not in highly inflamed regions), while, in the diaphragm, macrophages did not differ significantly between the two models, in either region. Osteopontin mRNA was also significantly greater at 12 weeks in laser-dissected highly inflamed areas of the Sgcb-null quadriceps compared to the mdx quadriceps. TGF-β1 was present in areas of degeneration-regeneration, but levels were highly variable and in general did not differ significantly between the two models and controls. The roles of the various subtypes of macrophages in muscle repair and fibrosis in the two models require further study. The Sgcb-null mouse, which develops early fibrosis in limb muscles, appears more promising than the mdx mouse for probing pathogenetic mechanisms of muscle fibrosis and for developing anti-fibrotic treatments. Highlights • The Sgcb-null mouse develops severe muscular dystrophy, the mdx mouse does not.• Fibrosis developed earlier in Sgcb-null quadriceps and diaphragm than mdx.• Macrophages were commoner in mildly inflamed parts of Sgcb-null quadriceps than mdx.• The Sgcb-null model appears more useful than mdx for studying fibrotic mechanisms.• The Sgcb-null model also appears more useful for developing anti-fibrotic treatments.
Cell and Tissue Research 04/2014; 356(2). DOI:10.1007/s00441-014-1854-4 · 3.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adult-onset form of Pompe disease had a wide clinical spectrum, ranging from asymptomatic patients with increased CK to muscle cramps and pain syndrome or rigid-spine syndrome. In addition clinical severity and disease progression are greatly variable. We report on a family with 3 siblings characterized by an unusual adult-onset Pompe disease including dysphagia and weakness of tongue, axial and limb-girdle muscles, in association with atypical globular inclusions in muscle fibres. Our study confirms the great clinical and histological variability of adult-onset Pompe disease and further supports the need of careful evaluation of bulbar function in patients affected by this pathology.
Acta myologica: myopathies and cardiomyopathies: official journal of the Mediterranean Society of Myology / edited by the Gaetano Conte Academy for the study of striated muscle diseases 10/2013; 32(2):85-90.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the PTRF gene, coding for cavin-1, cause congenital generalized lipodystrophy type 4 (CGL4) associated with myopathy. In CGL4, symptoms are variable comprising, in addition to myopathy, smooth and skeletal muscle hypertrophy, cardiac arrhythmias, and skeletal abnormalities. Secondary features are atlantoaxial instability, acanthosis nigricans, hepatomegaly, umbilical prominence and metabolic abnormalities related to insulin resistance, such as diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia and hepatic steatosis.
We describe a 3 year-old child of Moroccan origin with mild muscle phenotype, mainly characterized by mounding, muscle pain, hyperCKemia and mild caveolin 3 reduction on muscle biopsy. No CAV3 gene mutation was detected; instead we found a novel mutation, a homozygous single base pair deletion, in the PTRF gene. Only after detection of this mutation a mild generalized loss of subcutaneous fat, at first underestimated, was noticed and the diagnosis of lipodystrophy inferred.
The PTRF gene should be investigated in patients with hyperCKemia, mild myopathy associated with spontaneous or percussion-induced muscle contractions like rippling or mounding, and no CAV3 mutation. The analysis should be performed even if cardiac or metabolic alterations are absent, particularly in young patients in whom lipodystrophy may be difficult to ascertain.
BMC Medical Genetics 09/2013; 14(1):89. DOI:10.1186/1471-2350-14-89 · 2.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several examples have always illustrated how access to large numbers of biospecimens and associated data plays a pivotal role in the identification of disease genes and the development of pharmaceuticals. Hence, allowing researchers to access to significant numbers of quality samples and data, genetic biobanks are a powerful tool in basic, translational and clinical research into rare diseases. Recently demand for well-annotated and properly-preserved specimens is growing at a high rate, and is expected to grow for years to come. The best effective solution to this issue is to enhance the potentialities of well-managed biobanks by building a network.
Here we report a 5-year experience of the Telethon Network of Genetic Biobanks (TNGB), a non-profit association of Italian repositories created in 2008 to form a virtually unique catalogue of biospecimens and associated data, which presently lists more than 750 rare genetic defects. The process of TNGB harmonisation has been mainly achieved through the adoption of a unique, centrally coordinated, IT infrastructure, which has enabled (i) standardisation of all the TNGB procedures and activities; (ii) creation of an updated TNGB online catalogue, based on minimal data set and controlled terminologies; (iii) sample access policy managed via a shared request control panel at web portal. TNGB has been engaged in disseminating information on its services into both scientific/biomedical - national and international - contexts, as well as associations of patients and families. Indeed, during the last 5-years national and international scientists extensively used the TNGB with different purposes resulting in more than 250 scientific publications. In addition, since its inception the TNGB is an associated member of the Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure and recently joined the EuroBioBank network. Moreover, the involvement of patients and families, leading to the formalization of various agreements between TNGB and Patients’ Associations, has demonstrated how promoting Biobank services can be instrumental in gaining a critical mass of samples essential for research, as well as, raising awareness, trust and interest of the general public in Biobanks. This article focuses on some fundamental aspects of networking and demonstrates how the translational research benefits from a sustained infrastructure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Yunis-Varón syndrome (YVS) is an autosomal-recessive disorder with cleidocranial dysplasia, digital anomalies, and severe neurological involvement. Enlarged vacuoles are found in neurons, muscle, and cartilage. By whole-exome sequencing, we identified frameshift and missense mutations of FIG4 in affected individuals from three unrelated families. FIG4 encodes a phosphoinositide phosphatase required for regulation of PI(3,5)P2 levels, and thus endosomal trafficking and autophagy. In a functional assay, both missense substitutions failed to correct the vacuolar phenotype of Fig4-null mouse fibroblasts. Homozygous Fig4-null mice exhibit features of YVS, including neurodegeneration and enlarged vacuoles in neurons. We demonstrate that Fig4-null mice also have small skeletons with reduced trabecular bone volume and cortical thickness and that cultured osteoblasts accumulate large vacuoles. Our findings demonstrate that homozygosity or compound heterozygosity for null mutations of FIG4 is responsible for YVS, the most severe known human phenotype caused by defective phosphoinositide metabolism. In contrast, in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 4J (also caused by FIG4 mutations), one of the FIG4 alleles is hypomorphic and disease is limited to the peripheral nervous system. This genotype-phenotype correlation demonstrates that absence of FIG4 activity leads to central nervous system dysfunction and extensive skeletal anomalies. Our results describe a role for PI(3,5)P2 signaling in skeletal development and maintenance.
The American Journal of Human Genetics 04/2013; 92(5). DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.03.020 · 10.93 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Severe muscle fibrosis is the endpoint of many chronic myopathies. Identification of factors that regulate fibrosis is important for understanding its pathogenesis and for developing anti-fibrotic treatments that prevent muscle destruction. We have developed an in vitro model for screening potential anti-fibrotic agents. The model consists of three-dimensional clusters (nodules) of fibroblasts derived from Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) muscle. The primary fibroblasts spontaneously and quickly form nodules resembling fibrotic foci (cells plus extracellular matrix) when grown on a solid substrate. We tested the anti-fibrotic action of suramin, decorin, and spironolactone (all with established anti-fibrotic activity) on the model. All three agents significantly reduced nodule number, and spironolactone and suramin significantly reduced nodule diameter. Nodule secretion of soluble collagen was also significantly reduced by decorin and spironolactone treatment, whereas suramin had no significant effect. Collagen I and fibronectin protein expression was significantly reduced in the culture medium of control and DMD fibroblasts by spironolactone treatment, but not by decorin and suramin treatment. Finally, in DMD fibroblast monolayers, collagen deposition was significantly reduced by all three agents. Spironolactone significantly reduced collagen I and fibronectin transcript levels, whereas decorin reduced only fibronectin. Our in vitro model of fibrogenesis has thus revealed differing anti-fibrotic effects in the three anti-fibrotic agents tested. It therefore appears as a useful and sensitive system for the testing of anti-fibrotic drugs and could be adapted for the high-throughput screening of new anti-fibrotic molecules.
Cell and Tissue Research 04/2013; 352(3). DOI:10.1007/s00441-013-1601-2 · 3.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in dynamin 2 (DNM2) gene cause autosomal dominant centronuclear myopathy and occur in around 50% of patients with centronuclear myopathy. We report clinical, morphological, muscle imaging and genetic data of 10 unrelated Italian patients with centronuclear myopathy related to DNM2 mutations. Our results confirm the clinical heterogeneity of this disease, underlining some peculiar clinical features, such as severe pulmonary impairment and jaw contracture that should be considered in the clinical follow-up of these patients. Muscle MRI showed a distinct pattern of involvement, with predominant involvement of soleus and tibialis anterior in the lower leg muscles, followed by hamstring muscles and adductor magnus at thigh level and gluteus maximus. The detection of three novel DNM2 mutations and the first case of somatic mosaicism further expand the genetic spectrum of the disease.