Michaela Auer-Grumbach

Medical University of Vienna, Wien, Vienna, Austria

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Publications (93)652.79 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Dynein, cytoplasmic 1, heavy chain 1 (DYNC1H1) encodes a necessary subunit of the cytoplasmic dynein complex, which traffics cargo along microtubules. Dominant DYNC1H1 mutations are implicated in neural diseases, including spinal muscular atrophy with lower extremity dominance (SMA-LED), intellectual disability with neuronal migration defects, malformations of cortical development, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, type 2O. We hypothesized that additional variants could be found in these and novel motoneuron and related diseases. Therefore, we analyzed our database of 1024 whole exome sequencing samples of motoneuron and related diseases for novel single nucleotide variations. We filtered these results for significant variants, which were further screened using segregation analysis in available family members. Analysis revealed six novel, rare, and highly conserved variants. Three of these are likely pathogenic and encompass a broad phenotypic spectrum with distinct disease clusters. Our findings suggest that DYNC1H1 variants can cause not only lower, but also upper motor neuron disease. It thus adds DYNC1H1 to the growing list of spastic paraplegia related genes in microtubule-dependent motor protein pathways.
    Journal of Neurology 06/2015; 262(9). DOI:10.1007/s00415-015-7727-2 · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pain perception has evolved as a warning mechanism to alert organisms to tissue damage and dangerous environments. In humans, however, undesirable, excessive or chronic pain is a common and major societal burden for which available medical treatments are currently suboptimal. New therapeutic options have recently been derived from studies of individuals with congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP). Here we identified 10 different homozygous mutations in PRDM12 (encoding PRDI-BF1 and RIZ homology domain-containing protein 12) in subjects with CIP from 11 families. Prdm proteins are a family of epigenetic regulators that control neural specification and neurogenesis. We determined that Prdm12 is expressed in nociceptors and their progenitors and participates in the development of sensory neurons in Xenopus embryos. Moreover, CIP-associated mutants abrogate the histone-modifying potential associated with wild-type Prdm12. Prdm12 emerges as a key factor in the orchestration of sensory neurogenesis and may hold promise as a target for new pain therapeutics.
    Nature Genetics 05/2015; 47(8). DOI:10.1038/ng.3308 · 29.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the gene encoding inverted formin FH2 and WH2 domain containing protein (INF2), a Cdc42 effector involved in the regulation of actin dynamics, cause focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and intermediate Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy combined with FSGS (FSGS-CMT). Here, we report on six patients from four families with sensorimotor polyneuropathy and FSGS. Nerve conduction velocities were moderately slowed and amplitudes of sensory and motor potentials were decreased. One patient had internal hydrocephalus and was intellectually disabled. Molecular genetic testing revealed two known and two novel missense mutations in the second and fourth exon of the INF2 gene. Investigations of one nerve biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of intermediate type CMT and revealed occasional abnormal in- and outfoldings of myelin sheaths and expansions of the endoplasmic reticulum in axons and Schwann cells. While earlier reports suggested that mutations causing FSGS-CMT are restricted to exons 2 and 3 of the INF2 gene, we found one CMT-FSGS causing mutation (p.Glu184Lys) in exon 4 extending the critical region of INF2 for rapid CMT-FSGS molecular genetic diagnosis. Study of a nerve biopsy showed abnormalities that might be related to the known role of the INF2 binding partner CDC42 in myelination. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Journal of the Peripheral Nervous System 02/2015; 20(1). DOI:10.1111/jns.12106 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives: To determine the nature and frequency of HSJ1 mutations in patients with hereditary motor and hereditary motor and sensory neuropathies. Methods: Patients were screened for mutations by genome-wide or targeted linkage and homozygosity studies, whole-exome sequencing, and Sanger sequencing. RNA and protein studies of skin fibroblasts were used for functional characterization. Results: We describe 2 additional mutations in the HSJ1 gene in a cohort of 90 patients with autosomal recessive distal hereditary motor neuropathy (dHMN) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2 (CMT2). One family with a dHMN phenotype showed the homozygous splice-site mutation c.229+1G>A, which leads to retention of intron 4 in the HSJ1 messenger RNA with a premature stop codon and loss of protein expression. Another family, presenting with a CMT2 phenotype, carried the homozygous missense mutation c.14A>G (p.Tyr5Cys). This mutation was classified as likely disease-related by several automatic algorithms for prediction of possible impact of an amino acid substitution on the structure and function of proteins. Both mutations cosegregated with autosomal recessive inheritance of the disease and were absent from the general population. Conclusions: Taken together, in our cohort of 90 probands, we confirm that HSJ1 mutations are a rare but detectable cause of autosomal recessive dHMN and CMT2. We provide clinical and functional information on an HSJ1 splice-site mutation and report the detailed phenotype of 2 patients with CMT2, broadening the phenotypic spectrum of HSJ1-related neuropathies.
    Neurology 10/2014; 83(19). DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000966 · 8.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To establish the phenotypic spectrum of KIF5A mutations and to investigate whether KIF5A mutations cause axonal neuropathy associated with hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) or typical Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2 (CMT2). Methods: KIF5A sequencing of the motor-domain coding exons was performed in 186 patients with the clinical diagnosis of HSP and in 215 patients with typical CMT2. Another 66 patients with HSP or CMT2 with pyramidal signs were sequenced for all exons of KIF5A by targeted resequencing. One additional patient was genetically diagnosed by whole-exome sequencing. Results: Five KIF5A mutations were identified in 6 unrelated patients: R204W and D232N were novel mutations; R204Q, R280C, and R280H have been previously reported. Three patients had CMT2 as the predominant and presenting phenotype; 2 of them also had pyramidal signs. The other 3 patients presented with HSP but also had significant axonal neuropathy or other additional features. Conclusion: This is currently the largest study investigating KIF5A mutations. By combining next-generation sequencing and conventional sequencing, we confirm that KIF5A mutations can cause variable phenotypes ranging from HSP to CMT2. The identification of mutations in CMT2 broadens the phenotypic spectrum and underlines the importance of KIF5A mutations, which involve degeneration of both the central and peripheral nervous systems and should be tested in HSP and CMT2.
    Neurology 07/2014; 83(7). DOI:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000691 · 8.29 Impact Factor
  • B. Gess · A. Schirmacher · M. Auer-Grumbach · J. Senderek · P. Young ·

    Clinical Neurophysiology 06/2014; 125:S305. DOI:10.1016/S1388-2457(14)51001-2 · 3.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease type 2B (CMT2B) is an inherited axonal peripheral neuropathy. It is characterised by prominent sensory loss, often complicated by severe ulcero-mutilations of toes or feet, and variable motor involvement. Missense mutations in RAB7A, the gene encoding the small GTPase Rab7, cause CMT2B and increase Rab7 activity. Rab7 is ubiquitously expressed and is involved in degradation through the lysosomal pathway. In the neurons, Rab7 plays a role in the long-range retrograde transport of signalling endosomes in the axons. Here we developed the first animal model of CMT2B, modelling one of the mutations (L129F) in Drosophila melanogaster. Behavioural assays show that this model recapitulates several hallmarks of the human disease. Upon expression of mutant Rab7 in the sensory neurons, larvae present with a reduction of temperature and pain perception. Furthermore, the larvae exhibit a crawling defect when the mutant protein is expressed in the motor neurons. Analysis of axonal transport of Rab7 positive vesicles in sensory neurons of Drosophila larvae and in neurites of mammalian neuroblastoma cells demonstrates that mutant vesicles pause less than their wild-type counterparts. This latter finding indicates that alterations in vesicle transport might contribute to the pathomechanism of CMT2B.
    Neurobiology of Disease 05/2014; 65. DOI:10.1016/j.nbd.2014.01.021 · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    Brain 04/2014; 137(Pt 7). DOI:10.1093/brain/awu091 · 9.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inherited peripheral neuropathies (IPN) are one of the most frequent inherited causes of neurological disability characterized by considerable phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. Based on clinical and electrophysiological properties, they can be subdivided into three main groups: HMSN, dHMN, and HSN. At present, more than 50 IPN genes have been identified. Still, many patients and families with IPN have not yet received a molecular genetic diagnosis because clinical genetic testing usually only covers a subset of IPN genes. Moreover, a considerable proportion of IPN genes has to be identified. Here we present results of WES in 27 IPN patients excluded for mutations in many known IPN genes. Eight of the patients received a definite diagnosis. While six of these patients carried bona fide pathogenic mutations in known IPN genes, two patients had mutations in genes known to be involved in other types of neuromuscular disorders. A further group of eight patients carried sequence variations in IPN genes that could not unequivocally be classified as pathogenic. In addition, combining data of WES and linkage analysis identified SH3BP4, ITPR3, and KLHL13 as novel IPN candidate genes. Moreover, there was evidence that particular mutations in PEX12, a gene known to cause Zellweger syndrome, could also lead to an IPN phenotype. We show that WES is a useful tool for diagnosing IPN and we suggest an expanded phenotypic spectrum of some genes involved in other neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders. Nevertheless, interpretation of variants in known and potential novel disease genes has remained challenging.
    Journal of Neurology 03/2014; 261(5). DOI:10.1007/s00415-014-7289-8 · 3.38 Impact Factor

  • Neuromuscular Disorders 10/2013; 23(9-10):798. DOI:10.1016/j.nmd.2013.06.560 · 2.64 Impact Factor
  • Michaela Auer-Grumbach ·
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathies (HSN/HSAN) are clinically and genetically heterogeneous disorders of the peripheral nervous system that predominantly affect the sensory and autonomic neurons. Hallmark features comprise not only prominent sensory signs and symptoms and ulcerative mutilations but also variable autonomic and motor disturbances. Autosomal dominant and autosomal recessive inheritance has been reported. Molecular genetics studies have identified disease-causing mutations in 11 genes. Some of the affected proteins have nerve-specific roles but underlying mechanisms have also been shown to involve sphingolipid metabolism, vesicular transport, structural integrity, and transcription regulation. Genetic and functional studies have substantially improved the understanding of the pathogenesis of the HSN/HSAN and will help to find preventive and causative therapies in the future.
    Handbook of Clinical Neurology 08/2013; 115:893-906. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-444-52902-2.00050-3
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    ABSTRACT: Dominant congenital spinal muscular atrophy (DCSMA) is a disorder of developing anterior horn cells and shows lower-limb predominance and clinical overlap with hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), a lower-limb-predominant disorder of corticospinal motor neurons. We have identified four mutations in bicaudal D homolog 2 (Drosophila) (BICD2) in six kindreds affected by DCSMA, DCSMA with upper motor neuron features, or HSP. BICD2 encodes BICD2, a key adaptor protein that interacts with the dynein-dynactin motor complex, which facilitates trafficking of cellular cargos that are critical to motor neuron development and maintenance. We demonstrate that mutations resulting in amino acid substitutions in two binding regions of BICD2 increase its binding affinity for the cytoplasmic dynein-dynactin complex, which might result in the perturbation of BICD2-dynein-dynactin-mediated trafficking, and impair neurite outgrowth. These findings provide insight into the mechanism underlying both the static and the slowly progressive clinical features and the motor neuron pathology that characterize BICD2-associated diseases, and underscore the importance of the dynein-dynactin transport pathway in the development and survival of both lower and upper motor neurons.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 05/2013; 92(6). DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.04.018 · 10.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the serine palmitoyltransferase subunit 1 (SPTLC1) gene are the most common cause of hereditary sensory neuropathy type 1 (HSN1). Here we report the clinical and molecular consequences of a particular mutation (p.S331Y) in SPTLC1affecting a patient with severe, diffuse muscle wasting and hypotonia, prominent distal sensory disturbances, jointhypermobility, bilateral cataracts and considerable growth retardation. Normal plasma sphingolipids were unchanged but 1-deoxy-sphingolipids were significantly elevated.In contrast to other HSN patients reported so far, our findings strongly indicate that mutations at amino acid position Ser331 of the SPTLC1 gene lead to a distinct syndrome.
    European journal of medical genetics 02/2013; 56(5). DOI:10.1016/j.ejmg.2013.02.002 · 1.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Mutations in inverted formin, FH2, and WH2 domain containing (INF2) are common causes of dominant focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. INF2 encodes a member of the diaphanous-related formin family, which regulates actin and microtubule cytoskeletons. Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy (CMT) is a group of inherited disorders affecting peripheral neurons. Many reports have shown that glomerulopathy can associate with CMT. However, it has been unclear whether these two processes in the same individual represent one disorder or if they are two separate diseases. Case diagnosis/treatment: Recently, INF2 mutations were identified in 12 of 16 patients with CMT-associated glomerulopathy, suggesting that these mutations are a common cause of the dual phenotype. In this study, we report two cases of CMT-associated glomerulopathy that both showed INF2 mutations. A novel INF2 mutation, p. L77P, was identified in a family in which the dual phenotype was inherited in a dominant fashion. The pathogenic effect of p. L77P was proposed using a structural homology model. In addition, we identified a patient with a sporadic CMT-associated glomerulopathy carrying a known INF2 mutation: p. L128P. Conclusions: Our study confirms the link between INF2 mutations and CMT-associated glomerulopathy and widens the spectrum of pathogenic mutations.
    Pediatric Nephrology 09/2012; 28(2). DOI:10.1007/s00467-012-2299-1 · 2.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Inherited peripheral neuropathies are frequent neuromuscular disorders known for their clinical and genetic heterogeneity. In 33 families, we identified 8 mutations in HINT1 (encoding histidine triad nucleotide-binding protein 1) by combining linkage analyses with next-generation sequencing and subsequent cohort screening of affected individuals. Our study provides evidence that loss of functional HINT1 protein results in a distinct phenotype of autosomal recessive axonal neuropathy with neuromyotonia.
    Nature Genetics 09/2012; 44(10):1080-3. DOI:10.1038/ng.2406 · 29.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ryanodine receptor 1 (RYR1) mutations are a common cause of congenital myopathies associated with both dominant and recessive inheritance. Histopathological findings frequently feature central cores or multi-minicores, more rarely, type 1 predominance/uniformity, fiber-type disproportion, increased internal nucleation, and fatty and connective tissue. We describe 71 families, 35 associated with dominant RYR1 mutations and 36 with recessive inheritance. Five of the dominant mutations and 35 of the 55 recessive mutations have not been previously reported. Dominant mutations, typically missense, were frequently located in recognized mutational hotspot regions, while recessive mutations were distributed throughout the entire coding sequence. Recessive mutations included nonsense and splice mutations expected to result in reduced RyR1 protein. There was wide clinical variability. As a group, dominant mutations were associated with milder phenotypes; patients with recessive inheritance had earlier onset, more weakness, and functional limitations. Extraocular and bulbar muscle involvement was almost exclusively observed in the recessive group. In conclusion, our study reports a large number of novel RYR1 mutations and indicates that recessive variants are at least as frequent as the dominant ones. Assigning pathogenicity to novel mutations is often difficult, and interpretation of genetic results in the context of clinical, histological, and muscle magnetic resonance imaging findings is essential.
    Human Mutation 08/2012; 33(6):981-8. DOI:10.1002/humu.22056 · 5.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The distal hereditary motor neuropathies (dHMNs) are a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative disorders affecting the lower motoneuron. In a family with both autosomal-dominant dHMN and dHMN type V (dHMN/dHMN-V) present in three generations, we excluded mutations in all genes known to be associated with a dHMN phenotype through Sanger sequencing and defined three potential loci through linkage analysis. Whole-exome sequencing of two affected individuals revealed a single candidate variant within the linking regions, i.e., a splice-site alteration in REEP1 (c.304-2A>G). A minigene assay confirmed complete loss of splice-acceptor functionality and skipping of the in-frame exon 5. The resulting mRNA is predicted to be expressed at normal levels and to encode an internally shortened protein (p.102_139del). Loss-of-function REEP1 mutations have previously been identified in dominant hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP), a disease associated with upper-motoneuron pathology. Consistent with our clinical-genetic data, we show that REEP1 is strongly expressed in the lower motoneurons as well. Upon exogeneous overexpression in cell lines we observe a subcellular localization defect for p.102_139del that differs from that observed for the known HSP-associated missense mutation c.59C>A (p.Ala20Glu). Moreover, we show that p.102_139del, but not p.Ala20Glu, recruits atlastin-1, i.e., one of the REEP1 binding partners, to the altered sites of localization. These data corroborate the loss-of-function nature of REEP1 mutations in HSP and suggest that a different mechanism applies in REEP1-associated dHMN.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 06/2012; 91(1):139-45. DOI:10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.05.007 · 10.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSP) are a heterogeneous group of neurological disorders. Insidiously progressive spastic weakness of the lower extremities is the common criterion in all forms described. Clinically, HSP is differentiated into pure (uncomplicated) and complex (complicated) forms. While pure HSP is predominantly characterized by signs and symptoms of pyramidal tract dysfunction, additional neurological and non-neurological symptoms occur in complicated forms. Autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, and X-linked modes of inheritance have been described and at least 48 subtypes, termed SPG1-48, have been genetically defined. Although in autosomal dominant HSP families 50-60% of etiologies can be established by genetic testing, genotype predictions based on the phenotype are limited. In order to realize high-throughput genotyping for dominant HSP, we designed a resequencing microarray for six autosomal dominant genes on the Affymetrix CustomSEQ array platform. For validation purposes, 10 previously Sanger sequenced patients with autosomal dominant HSP and 40 positive controls with known mutations in ATL1, SPAST, NIPA1, KIF5A, and BSCL2 (32 base exchanges, eight small indels) were resequenced on this array. DNA samples of 45 additional patients with AD spastic paraplegia were included in the study. With two different sequencing analysis software modules (GSEQ, SeqC), all missense/nonsense mutations in the positive controls were identified while indels had a detection rate of only 50%. In total, 244 common synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) annotated in dbSNP (build 132) corresponding to 22 distinct sequence variations were found in the 53 analyzed patients. Among the 22 different sequence variations (SPAST n = 15, ATL1 n = 3, KIF5A n = 2, HSPD1 n = 1, BSCL2 n = 1, NIPA1 n = 0), 12 were rare variants that have not been previously described and whose clinical significance is unknown. In SPAST-negative cases, a genetic diagnosis could be established in 11% by resequencing. Resequencing microarray technology can therefore efficiently be used to study genotypes and mutations in large patient cohorts.
    Neurogenetics 05/2012; 13(3):215-27. DOI:10.1007/s10048-012-0329-6 · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary spastic paraplegia (SPG) is a clinically and genetically heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative disorders that are clinically characterised by progressive spasticity and weakness of the lower-limbs (pure SPG) and, majoritorian, additional more extensive neurological or non-neurological manifestations (complex or complicated SPG). Pure SPG is characterised by progressive spasticity and weakness of the lower-limbs, and occasionally sensory disturbances or bladder dysfunction. Complex SPGs additionally include cognitive impairment, dementia, epilepsy, extrapyramidal disturbances, cerebellar involvement, retinopathy, optic atrophy, deafness, polyneuropathy, or skin lesions in the absence of coexisting disorders. Nineteen SPGs follow an autosomal-dominant (AD-SPG), 27 an autosomal-recessive (AR-SPG), 5 X-linked (XL-SPG), and one a maternal trait of inheritance. SPGs are due to mutations in genes encoding for proteins involved in the maintenance of corticospinal tract neurons. Among the AD-SPGs, 40-45% of patients carry mutations in the SPAST-gene (SPG4) and 10% in the ATL1-gene (SPG3), while the other 9 genes are more rarely involved (NIPA1 (SPG6), KIAA0196 (SPG8), KIF5A (SPG10), RNT2 (SPG12), SPGD1 (SPG13), BSCL2 (SPG17), REEP1 (SPG31), ZFYVE27 (SPG33, debated), and SLC33A1 (SPG42, debated)). Among the AR-SPGs, ~20% of the patients carry mutations in the KIAA1840 (SPG11) gene whereas the 15 other genes are rarely mutated and account for SPGs in single families yet (CYP7B1 (SPG5), SPG7 (SPG7), ZFYVE26 (SPG15), ERLIN2 (SPG18), SPG20 (SPG20), ACP33 (SPG21), KIF1A (SPG30), FA2H (SPG35), NTE (SPG39), GJA12/GJC2 (SPG44), KIAA0415 (SPG48) and 4 genes encoding for the AP4-complex (SPG47)). Among the XL-SPGs, 3 causative genes have been identified (L1CAM (SPG1), PLP1 (SPG2), and SLC16A2 (SPG22)). The diagnosis of SPGs is based on clinical, instrumental and genetic investigations. Treatment is exclusively symptomatic.
    Journal of the neurological sciences 05/2012; 318(1-2):1-18. DOI:10.1016/j.jns.2012.03.025 · 2.47 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
652.79 Total Impact Points


  • 2013-2015
    • Medical University of Vienna
      • Department of Orthopaedics
      Wien, Vienna, Austria
    • University of Zurich
      Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2004-2012
    • Medical University of Graz
      • • Center for Medical Research
      • • Institut für Humangenetik
      Gratz, Styria, Austria
  • 1996-2012
    • Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz
      • • Section for Neuropsychology
      • • Institute of Psychology
      Graz, Styria, Austria
  • 2006
    • Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie
      • Genetics and Molecular Techniques
      Gand, Flanders, Belgium
  • 2001
    • University of Antwerp
      • VIB Department of Molecular Genetics
      Antwerpen, Flanders, Belgium