Marina Mora

Fondazione I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta, Milano, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (55)262.64 Total impact

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    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; DOI:10.1007/s00415-015-7757-9 · 3.84 Impact Factor
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    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.
    04/2015; DOI:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.0178
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    ABSTRACT: We provide a nationwide population study of patients with congenital muscular dystrophy in Italy. Cases were ascertained from the databases in all the tertiary referral centers for pediatric neuromuscular disorders and from all the genetic diagnostic centers in which diagnostic tests for these forms are performed. The study includes 336 patients with a point prevalence of 0.563 per 100,000. Mutations were identified in 220 of the 336 (65.5%). The cohort was subdivided into diagnostic categories based on the most recent classifications on congenital muscular dystrophies. The most common forms were those with α-dystroglycan glycosylation deficiency (40.18%) followed by those with laminin α2 deficiency (24.11%) and collagen VI deficiency (20.24%). The forms of congenital muscular dystrophy related to mutations in SEPN1 and LMNA were less frequent (6.25% and 5.95%, respectively). Our study provides for the first time comprehensive epidemiologic information and point prevalence figures for each of the major diagnostic categories on a large cohort of congenital muscular dystrophies. The study also reflects the diagnostic progress in this field with an accurate classification of the cases according to the most recent gene discoveries. © 2015 American Academy of Neurology.
    Neurology 02/2015; DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000001303 · 8.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A previous study showed that, in carriers of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype ε3/ε3 or ε3/ε4, the presence of a very long (VL) polyT repeat allele in "translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 40" (TOMM40) was less frequent in patients with sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM) compared with controls and associated with a later age of sIBM symptom onset, suggesting a protective effect of this haplotype. To further investigate the influence of these genetic factors in sIBM, we analyzed a large sIBM cohort of 158 cases as part of an International sIBM Genetics Study. No significant association was found between APOE or TOMM40 genotypes and the risk of developing sIBM. We found that the presence of at least 1 VL polyT repeat allele in TOMM40 was significantly associated with about 4 years later onset of sIBM symptoms. The age of onset was delayed by 5 years when the patients were also carriers of the APOE genotype ε3/ε3. In addition, males were likely to have a later age of onset than females. Therefore, the TOMM40 VL polyT repeat, although not influencing disease susceptibility, has a disease-modifying effect on sIBM, which can be enhanced by the APOE genotype ε3/ε3. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Neurobiology of Aging 01/2015; 36(4). DOI:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.12.039 · 4.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the beta-myosin heavy chain gene (MYH7) cause different muscle disorders. The specific molecular pathobiological processes that cause these different phenotypes remains unexplained. We describe three members of a family with an autosomal dominant mutation in the distal rod of MYH7 [c.5401G>A (p.Glu1801Lys)] displaying a complex phenotype characterized by Laing Distal Myopathy like phenotype, left ventricular non compaction cardiomyopathy and Fiber Type Disproportion picture at muscle biopsy. We suggest that this overlapping presentation confirm the phenotypic variability of MYH7 myopathy and may be helpful to improve the genotype phenotype correlation. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 01/2015; 457(3). DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2014.12.098 · 2.28 Impact Factor
  • 01/2015; DOI:10.2147/BSAM.S83421
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    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; DOI:10.1038/ejhg.2014.272 · 4.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    Journal of Medical Genetics 10/2014; DOI:10.1136/jmedgenet-2014-102623 · 5.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Within the group of muscular dystrophies, dystroglycanopathies represent an important subgroup of recessively inherited disorders. Their severity varies from the relatively mild forms of adult-onset limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD), to the severe congenital muscular dystrophies (CMD) with cerebral and ocular involvement. We describe 2 consanguineous children of Pakistani origin, carrying a new homozygous missense mutation c.367G>A (p.Gly123Arg) in the ISPD gene. Mutations in this gene have been recently reported as a common cause of congenital and limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. Patient 1 is an 8-year-old female with an intermediate phenotype between CMD and early LGMD; patient 2 is a 20-month-old male and second cousin of patient 1, showing a CMD phenotype. Cognitive development, brain MRI, eye examination, electrocardiogram and echocardiogram were normal in both patients. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the co-occurrence of both a CMD/early LGMD intermediate phenotype and a CMD within the same family carrying a homozygous ISPD mutation. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Neuromuscular Disorders 09/2014; 25(1). DOI:10.1016/j.nmd.2014.08.007 · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    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; DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu296 · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    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 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    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.
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    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 · 2.45 Impact Factor
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    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.
    Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 08/2013; 8(1):129. DOI:10.1186/1750-1172-8-129 · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    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; DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.03.020 · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    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; DOI:10.1007/s00441-013-1601-2 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    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.
    Neuromuscular Disorders 02/2013; 23(3). DOI:10.1016/j.nmd.2012.12.009 · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Whole-exome sequencing (WES), which analyzes the coding sequence of most annotated genes in the human genome, is an ideal approach to studying fully penetrant autosomal-recessive diseases, and it has been very powerful in identifying disease-causing mutations even when enrollment of affected individuals is limited by reduced survival. In this study, we combined WES with homozygosity analysis of consanguineous pedigrees, which are informative even when a single affected individual is available, to identify genetic mutations responsible for Walker-Warburg syndrome (WWS), a genetically heterogeneous autosomal-recessive disorder that severely affects the development of the brain, eyes, and muscle. Mutations in seven genes are known to cause WWS and explain 50%-60% of cases, but multiple additional genes are expected to be mutated because unexplained cases show suggestive linkage to diverse loci. Using WES in consanguineous WWS-affected families, we found multiple deleterious mutations in GTDC2 (also known as AGO61). GTDC2's predicted role as an uncharacterized glycosyltransferase is consistent with the function of other genes that are known to be mutated in WWS and that are involved in the glycosylation of the transmembrane receptor dystroglycan. Therefore, to explore the role of GTDC2 loss of function during development, we used morpholino-mediated knockdown of its zebrafish ortholog, gtdc2. We found that gtdc2 knockdown in zebrafish replicates all WWS features (hydrocephalus, ocular defects, and muscular dystrophy), strongly suggesting that GTDC2 mutations cause WWS.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 09/2012; 91(3):541-7. DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.07.009 · 10.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Episodic ataxia type 1 (EA1) is an autosomal dominant neurological disorder characterized by myokymia and attacks of ataxic gait often precipitated by stress. Several genetic mutations have been identified in the Shaker-like K(+) channel Kv1.1 (KCNA1) of EA1 individuals, including V408A, which result in remarkable channel dysfunction. By inserting the heterozygous V408A, mutation in one Kv1.1 allele, a mouse model of EA1 has been generated (Kv1.1(V408A/+)). Here, we investigated the neuromuscular transmission of Kv1.1(V408A/+) ataxic mice and their susceptibility to physiologically relevant stressors. By using in vivo preparations of lateral gastrocnemius (LG) nerve-muscle from Kv1.1(+/+) and Kv1.1(V408A/+) mice, we show that the mutant animals exhibit spontaneous myokymic discharges consisting of repeated singlets, duplets or multiplets, despite motor nerve axotomy. Two-photon laser scanning microscopy from the motor nerve, ex vivo, revealed spontaneous Ca(2+) signals that occurred abnormally only in preparations dissected from Kv1.1(V408A/+) mice. Spontaneous bursting activity, as well as that evoked by sciatic nerve stimulation, was exacerbated by muscle fatigue, ischemia and low temperatures. These stressors also increased the amplitude of compound muscle action potential. Such abnormal neuromuscular transmission did not alter fiber type composition, neuromuscular junction and vascularization of LG muscle, analyzed by light and electron microscopy. Taken together these findings provide direct evidence that identifies the motor nerve as an important generator of myokymic activity, that dysfunction of Kv1.1 channels alters Ca(2+) homeostasis in motor axons, and also strongly suggest that muscle fatigue contributes more than PNS fatigue to exacerbate the myokymia/neuromyotonia phenotype. More broadly, this study points out that juxtaparanodal K(+) channels composed of Kv1.1 subunits exert an important role in dampening the excitability of motor nerve axons during fatigue or ischemic insult.
    Neurobiology of Disease 05/2012; 47(3):310-21. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2012.05.002 · 5.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The neurotrophin receptor p75NTR is a marker for human differentiation-prone muscle satellite cells and regulates myogenesis. Here, we wondered whether inflammation could modify p75NTR expression on muscle precursor cells in vitro and in vivo. In vitro experiments on human primary skeletal myoblasts demonstrated that exposure to IFN-γ or IL-1α decreased transcript and protein levels of p75NTR. Furthermore, histological investigations showed a reduction in the pool of p75NTR expressing satellite cells in inflammatory myopathy biopsies. These data suggest a link between muscle inflammation and reduction of p75NTR expression on precursor cells.
    Journal of neuroimmunology 12/2011; 243(1-2):100-2. DOI:10.1016/j.jneuroim.2011.12.001 · 2.79 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

814 Citations
262.64 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2000–2015
    • Fondazione I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta
      • Division of Neurology IV - Neuro-Immunology and Neuromuscular Diseases
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 1993–2015
    • Foundation of the Carlo Besta Neurological Institute
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2014
    • Istituto di Cura e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Basilicata
      Rionero in Vulture, Basilicate, Italy
  • 2011
    • Università degli Studi di Trieste
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2008
    • IRCCS Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Nazionale C. Mondino
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2005
    • Ospedale Maggiore Carlo Alberto Pizzardi di Bologna
      Bolonia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
    • University of Milan
      • Department of Neurological Sciences
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy